As you may know I am getting married at the end of this year (December 1 to be exact) and I think it's fair to say that no matter how healthy a bride is when she get's engaged, she will always want to look her absolute best on the big day, including myself.
So I want to share with you what my wedding prep journey looks like and today I am sharing what Phase I is all about which started 5 months out from the big day.
I'm sure most brides to be have similar goals for the big day but my main goals are;
- glowing and smooth complexion
- flat stomach
- Toned arms, butt and back (all over toning also welcome :))
- bright shiny eyes and white teeth
Weight loss is not a priority goal for me but I predict that I might lose anywhere between 2-4kg simply from the prep I will be doing. I will be keeping an eye on this as I don't want to lose too much weight and not look like myself on the day, it is more about being toned and glowing for me. So what does phase I involve you might ask?
1. Skincare routine.
This is my main priority at the moment as I can suffer from regular dermatitis and the odd breakout (the latter has calmed down a lot now I have been off the pill for a few years however) but in general my skin is very sensitive.
Externally I am doing what a lot of brides commit to leading up to their wedding which involves expensive skin treatments and mine includes alternating Dermapen sessions and lactobotanical peels plus a vitamin A serum. But what some brides might not realise is that external nourishment is not enough and that you need to feed your skin from within to make the cost of those other treatments worth it.
So internally my skincare routine begins with my diet (outlined below) plus some additional items. The first is a zinc supplement which is essential for your immune system, fighting inflammation and cell rejuvenation. Second is a collagen supplement for which I use a gelatine powder. This is fantastic for renewing your skin cells and is also very healing for the gut which in turn also improves skin health. Collagen is best utilised when Vitamin C is present so I am also making sure I have a meal with raw greens, red pepper, citrus or pomegranate close to have the gelatine powder. Third, is an omega 3 oil which I use EPA/DHA capsules for. These healthy fats are needed for the membranes of our cells which helps to hydrate and plump up our skin as well as reduce inflammation. Lastly, a probiotic. This is essential, in conjunction with a wholefood diet, for maintaining a healthy gut (note if your gut and liver aren't excreting toxins efficiently the other pathway for elimination is your skin!).
I've also swapped my toothpaste to a charcoal toothpaste and although I do use a teeth whitening gel from my dentist, I actually do feel like my teeth feel whiter after I brush them!
2. Diet. Naturally my diet is very nutrient rich as I eat mostly plants complimented by protein, quality fats and complex carbohydrates. So when it comes to making tweaks according to my goals I know that I need to really focus on my gut and liver health. This involves eating a huge amount of vegetables to get in as many anti-oxidants, fibre and polyphenols as possible.
I've always had at least half a plate of veggies at lunch and dinner and I am making sure I do this at least 3 mornings a week for breakfast now also. I'm including fermented foods each day (kefir, kim chi, tempeh, saurkraut, kombucha) and also prebiotics to keep the good bacteria happy (leeks, onions, garlic, asparagus, miso, oats, flaxseeds). Cruciferous veggies and bitter greens are making very regular appearances due to their liver support benefits and I'm trying to use bone broth in my cooking with any opportunity I get (or I might just have a mug in the afternoon) for it's mineral content, gut healing properties and the gelatin it provides.
In phase I there are no foods I am cutting out which is normal for my diet except I am reducing the amount of alcohol I drink (trying to stick to 1 night per week unless there is a special occasion - I usually only drink red wine or vodka soda anyway already) and just tighten the reigns a bit on eating out and what I choose when I do go out. Phase II will see some stricter guidelines come into play.
3. Exercise routine.
I have always been someone that exercises a lot so the difference now is structuring this exercise according to my goals. Lucky me, my fiance is a personal trainer so he has given me the guidelines of heavy strength training combined with HIIT sessions and running. I also love pilates and yoga so I have worked them into the routine as well. Phase I is about being consistent for me as so far this year my routine hasn't been this way. The next phases will see me ramp up the intensity and volume of training.
So at the moment my week is
Monday: AM 30 minute at home HIIT session followed by 20 minutes of sprints.
Tuesday: AM barre pilates.
Wednesday: AM 30-40 minute run (change it up each week between interval, fartlek and slow pace).
Thursday: AM weights session called Body Definition at my gym (Linked - Training & Nutrition). Friday: AM 30-40 minute HIIT session either at home or at the gym.
Saturday: AM 1:1 personal training session focusing on boxing and glutes.
Sunday: AM yoga or a rest day.
I take a magnesium supplement in the evenings as well as doing an epsom salt bath 1-2 times per week to aid recovery. I also spend time on a massage ball each week and get monthly massages so that I can maintain this level of exercise injury and fatigue free.
4. Stress management.
This should have almost been number one on this list as really, it is the most important. I know that the first half of this year I have been frantically busy and hence too stressed (too much work can be a good problem to have but not at the expense of your health). I know that stress is reducing the blood flow of oxygen and nutrients to my vital organs (gastrointestinal tract and liver) that I need to be working efficiently to reach my goals. Not to mention the reduced delivery of oxygen and nutrient to my skin means less skin repair and cell rejuvenation.
So I am slowing down this next 6 months and managing my workload better. I've hired more staff to take on some of the workload and am about to hire someone to help plan/coordinate the wedding so I don't get overwhelmed on that side of things. I am doing acupuncture once a month, having a massage once per month and having a weekly relaxation bath as well as meditation 2-3 times per week. This will be an ongoing work in progress but for now it is a good start to keeping bridezilla at bay :)
Stay tuned for Phase II in a few weeks!
*Please note that this article is not to prescribe any skincare, diet or exercise recommendations for others. I know my body very well and know what it responds to best and what it can handle and that can be different for everyone!