You just got engaged - congratulations! You're now starting the countdown to your big day and ticking off tasks left and right. Chances are, the majority of these to do's are strictly event-related, such as nailing down the guest list, finding your venue, or booking your caterer. Focusing on yourself during this hectic time may not seem like a priority, but small lifestyle changes now can guarantee that you look and feel your best come your walk down the aisle.
1. Diet and Exercise
Even if you have a year to go, the closer you get to your wedding, the busier you will be and the less time and energy you will have to dedicate to a brand new, last minute, and probably intense fitness regime or strict diet. Start now by upping your veggie intake, cutting out some processed foods and refined sugar, and cooking more at home. Take packets of almonds, nori, or a piece of fruit with you to work to curb your usual 3pm rush to the vending machine.
There are programs you can subscribe to, such as Bride Body, or you can sign up for any number of classes, ranging from yoga and spinning to kickboxing. Dedicate a bit of time in the morning to squats, push-ups, dips, and sit-ups to start toning your butt, arms, shoulders, back, and abs. The trick is consistency over a long period of time; even if you drop weight fast by using a crash diet, you can't starve your way to a toned, healthy body. Don't chain yourself to the elliptical either, cardio alone will not get you the Michelle Obama arms you crave for that strapless mermaid you have your eye on.
If you want your skin to glow, you can't rely on a facial two weeks out. You need to get that glow from within, and that starts with proper hydration. Make it easy on yourself by getting a large bottle you can sip from all day (here's my favorite). If you need a little flavor, instead of turning to sugary syrups or sports drinks - fill your bottle or a large mason jar with your favorite fruits and herbs to give your water a kick. My favorite combinations are cucumber/mint, strawberry/basil, and lemon/chamomile.
Reducing your coffee intake, and cutting out soda all together will make a huge difference as well. Substitute green and herbal teas whenever possible. And though you have a lot to celebrate, enjoy alcohol in moderation - it will wreak havoc on your skin.
3. Skin Care
If you have a habit of sleeping in your makeup, using harsh cleansers, or nixing the moisturizers, it's time to adjust your routine. Regardless of the products you use, effectiveness comes from consistency. Take a few minutes every night to really cleanse, tone, and hydrate your skin, and treat yourself to a mask once a week. Switching to natural, organic makeup and skin care can improve both the look and feel of your skin by reducing the number of synthetic chemicals your skin is coming into contact with and absorbing. Facial brushes, or high quality exfoliating masks can work wonders, just keep it to 2-3 times per week - over-exfoliation can lead to breakouts, irritation, and redness, which could take weeks to recover from.
4. Take your vitamins
If you've started eating a large variety of veggies, you're on the right track, but to take things up a notch, look into supplements such as fish/flax oil, folic acid, B12, and Biotin. These will help support healthy hair and nails, as well as keep your energy up. Try to eat foods high in omega fatty acids (such as salmon) and dark leafy greens (looking at you, kale!)
5. Get some sleep!
When you don't recharge, your body and mind suffer. Exercise, eating well, and cutting down on caffeine and alcohol will all lead to better quality sleep. Try aromatherapy or melatonin capsules if you need a little help, and don't stay up too late searching through wedding photographer portfolios.
Starting a healthy lifestyle and being good to yourself means your body will be good to you - especially when your in-laws are in town, a bridesmaid drops out, your florist double books, and your stress levels are through the roof. Don't wait until the month before your wedding to focus on your bridal beauty, make the effort now to have a healthy body and glowing skin for your wedding, honeymoon, and marriage!
Krystal Quinn Gibbon is a Canadian bride-to-be/MOH living in Los Angeles with her fiancé, Josh, and their chihuahua-mutt Asparagus. They both believe a wedding should be more about creating a fun and memorable experience for their loved ones than sticking to traditions, and hope their trials and errors can provide insight for others (or at the very least, entertainment). They keep a photo diary of all their adventures together at: coulddo.tumblr.com.