ICYMI, I got engaged at the end of July. Not long after I committed to marrying Jon (😍), I made a commitment to myself too.
Practicing self-care and self-respect will be my *only* wedding prep.
For me, that means no crazy restrictive diets. No cleanses. No bridal boot camps. No scale obsession. No nasty self-talk. But I am being intentional about my mental and physical health, especially as we get closer and closer to the big day.
Here’s how I’m getting my bridal body… And brain.
Focusing the basics of good nutrition
No crash diets, resets, or juice cleanses for me pre-wedding. As we’ll discuss in a later post, dieting sucks for your metabolism. I’m not interested in quick weight loss to only bounce back plus some before the honeymoon is over.
No, I want to look back at my wedding photos and recognize myself as someone who went into her marriage accepting, loving, respecting, and taking care of herself. They’re not meant to serve as “after” photos.
For me, practicing the basics of good nutrition includes:
- Making time to meal prep weekly or outsourcing some or all of the meal prep process on busy weeks
- Getting my veggies in, even while traveling. Every day won’t be perfect and that’s ok, but I jusn’t don’t feel great when I’m not eating enough plants.
- Continue to mostly cook at home. For me, this process is really about how I feel mentally and physically– especially since I don’t use a scale or take progress pics or anything like that. I know I feel my best when I’m cooking food I make.
Making time for movement that serves you
My approach to transformation has evolved just as much as my approach to food over the years. Before, I wasn’t able to decouple exercise and diets. I was either on a diet and exercising, or I was saying “screw it” with food and letting my gym membership go unused.
Now my exercise routine is consistent and it doesn’t take self-control, willpower, or even a whole lot of mental effort. It’s just about making space in my calendar so other stuff doesn’t get in the way. And I’m willing to make the space because I know the work is worth the reward. Exercise connects me to my body. It makes me feel mentally and physically strong. It helps me process my thoughts and relieve stress. It’s time where I can’t work and, as a business owner, I need that!
Prioritizing good sleep
Sleep has been a challenge for me since I was a kid and, when I’m not diligent, my sleep hygiene, quantity, and quality can go down the tubes pretty quickly. I’ve noticed that when I’m stressed (and as a business-owner-future-bride, I trend toward stress more often these days than I’d like to admit), I tend to fall back on old vices– working late, scrolling through Instagram in bed, or propping my iPad on my pillow to numb out on Netflix. And without fail, this causes my sleep to suffer.
Guess who can’t really afford to get poor sleep? A business-owner-future-bride-who-also-has-an-autoimmune-disease! In these moments, I coach myself like I coach our clients: While your vices will tempt you when you’re stressed or challenged, that is when you need to practice self-care the most.
So for me, sleep hygiene as self-care looks like:
- Limiting my caffeine intake overall, as caffeine can exacerbate anxiety, especially in high doses.
- Stopping work before it gets dark, or wearing blue light blocking glasses if I need to be on my computer after the sun goes down.
- Unplugging from work completely by the time I am in my bedroom preparing for sleep.
- If I’m feeling extra anxious, I might add in something like magnesium, Sleep Support, or CBD.
- Taking a few minutes to reflect in my Daily Stoic Journal
- Read an absorbing fiction book
- Doze off! (*insert prayer hands emoji*)
Maybe you’ve picked up on a common theme: STRESS.
Stress is a normal part of life and, in some ways, it’s served me quite well. It puts a bit of pep in my step and pushes me to go out and do hard things. But at extreme levels, stress can be emotionally crippling and have some serious long-term health consequences.
So as easy as it would be to accept that “stressed” is my new baseline, I’m listening to what my brain and body are telling me and taking heed.
- Outsourcing + leveraging resources: Thank goodness for Instacart and THANK GOODNESS for my amazing team. Thanks to their support, I’m not a one woman show.
- Planning ahead: This is my secret weapon for stress. It allows me to delegate working (and worry) to specific times, so I’m not trying to operate with a cloud of overwhelm hanging over me. Using a Full Focus Planner has truly changed the game for me on this one. I can’t recommend it enough.
- Journaling: My morning routine includes about 10 minutes spent with my planner where I just let my brain roam free. While most of my entries are pretty unremarkable, I find that this is a really great preventative exercise to avoid meltdowns.
- Therapy: I recently started going to a therapist who specializes in entrepreneurs, among other things. WOW does therapy make a difference when you find your right match. I’ve been going to her a few times a month and I feel like I breathe better when I leave her office.
And that’s it! My guide to getting your best bridal body. And, let’s be honest, this is just practical advice for anyone who’s wanting to focus on health without making her life revolve around it.