Ask Our #RealBride Dietician: Ten Tips To Get Healthy for the Big Day
Meet our blogger bride Nichola! Nichola is a Specialist Registered Dietitian as well as an award-winning health blogger. She is regularly featured on home and lifestyle networks discussing the latest goings on in the world of nutrition, and posts regularly on social media in-between. Nichola’s motto is “It’s not about diets, it’s about a way of life.” She strongly believes in the 80/20 rule where ALL foods can be enjoyed as a part of a healthy and balanced diet.
Nichola recently wore Melinda by Sottero and Midgley for her wedding at Saltmarshe Hall, a beautiful venue in East Yorkshire. She’s here today to share her top 10 healthy tips on how to prepare for the big day!
Melinda is since discontinued, please see Sonja and Avery for romantic alternatives!
Hello, and thank you so much for reading my guest blog post!
Firstly, I’d like to say a huge congratulations if you’re recently engaged or are getting married soon; it really is such an exciting time. I’ll begin by sharing a little about my story before we head into my healthy tips; Oliver (my then boyfriend of 8 years!) proposed in Central Park on my 30th birthday in May 2016, and we set a date to be married on the 16th of September 2017 at a small church near Saltmarshe Hall. After we chose the venue, one of the first things that I couldn’t wait to do was go dress shopping! I set two days aside and on day 2, I found my beautiful Sottero & Midgley dress. I fell in love with the Melinda design straight away and chose the light gold color together with matching veil. I couldn’t wait to wear it, and picking it up the morning before our wedding really was so exciting!
On the subject of dresses, many of my followers on social media as well as clients ask me questions about how best to ‘prep’ for their wedding day, and what to eat and drink the day before and on the day itself. As a dietitian and huge foodie, I’ve compiled my top tips on buying your wedding dress as well as how to feel and look amazing on your special day. I really hope they help!
Tip 1) Dress to complement your body shape and figure
My first tip isn’t about what to eat, it’s about dressing to your own body shape. My advice (and what I did!) is to try on lots of different styles of dresses and get an honest opinion on what looks good from your friends and/or family. Do you have an amazing waist, boobs or bum?! If so, make the most of it and make sure that your dress is flattering. It’s amazing how much of a difference dressing to your figure can make to not only how you look but your confidence too; I tried on lots of dresses, which due to my short height (I’m 5’3”!), just didn’t look right on me!
Tip 2) Be realistic about how much your weight will change (if at all)
Now don’t get me wrong, I do NOT want you to become weight-obsessed. However it’s a good idea, especially when you’re being sized up for your dress, to have in mind if you plan on losing, gaining or staying the same weight. The owner of the dress shop that I went to explained that it’s a lot easier to take in a wedding dress (by 1 to 2 sizes) than it is to make it bigger. It can be common for brides to (often unintentionally) lose a little weight in the weeks running up to the day due to stress, so knowing where you tend to lose weight from first can be useful be pass on. For me, I tend to store and lose weight on my hips and thighs, which for the Melinda dress didn’t matter as it wasn’t tight on these areas. When choosing the size of your wedding dress to buy, remember that you want to feel comfortable on your wedding day—you’ll be wearing your dress for over 12 hours and will be walking, eating, drinking and dancing in it too!
Tip 3) Make sure you’re feeling happy, confident and energized
How long have you got before you get married? Whether it’s a few days, weeks or months, make sure that you are sleeping well (averaging 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night), eating well (eating a mainly ‘whole foods’ or Mediterranean style diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, fish, wholegrains, healthy fats such as olive oil/nuts/avocados and fluids) and taking time to relax in the run up to the big day.
Achieving a positive work/life balance is so important when it comes to reducing stress levels, which is key for making helpful food choices. We know that stress combined with a lack of sleep leads people to consuming more in the way of high fat, high sugar convenience foods, so give yourself a helping hand by taking time out of your busy schedule to relax or even get an early night. Sleep is the time when both your mind and body recovers and rejuvenates, so please don’t neglect it.
Tip 4) Start making lifestyle changes now
Remember, you’re NOT on or going on a diet, you’re simply eating in accordance to your health goals. Never say you’re going ‘on a diet’ as inevitably you will come ‘off that diet’; instead think of the time before your wedding as a journey towards a healthier lifestyle and a better way of eating. Start small and success will come; just remember that consistency and determination are key.
Something that I always encourage when it comes to making lifestyle changes is to change your eating environments. By this I mean buy in the foods that you wish to eat (remember the 80/20 rule here!) and keep higher calorie foods such as cookies and biscuits out of sight (making them less tempting to eat). Foods such as biscuits, chocolate and crisps do not need to be excluded from your diet, however. They are perfectly fine in moderation—think damage limitation, not deprivation!
Tip 5) Track your food intake
If you’re at a loose end as to where to start with your health or fitness journey, then I would highly recommend keeping a food diary, even if it’s only for a week. I would also recommend you do this if you are trying to lose weight too. Keeping a food diary gives you a starting point—you find out exactly what you are eating when, and more importantly, why you are eating it. From there it’s then much easier to start coming up with a plan to change—for example, planning on cooking in bulk on nights when you are home earlier for the nights when you are home later!
Another tip is to focus on what you should be eating MORE of, rather than less of. Aim to include a rainbow of different fruits and vegetables a day (more the better!), wholegrains as opposed to refined carbohydrates, fish twice a week (one of which is oily such as salmon) and healthy fats such as olive oil; remember to use the refined (yellow) oil for cooking and the extra virgin (green) oil for salad dressings.
Tip 6) Stay active
Many brides want to “tone up” one or more areas of their body, which means building a small amount of muscle and losing a small amount of fat. Exercise not only reduces stress and makes you feel good but it can help to burn fat and build muscle. Most dresses show off a bride’s arms, so it may be worth looking into some exercises that focus on this. I love this bridal routine from the Tone It Up girls, but there are many more on YouTube to choose from.
The key to any exercise is to pick an activity that you enjoy, as that way you will be more likely to keep it up. Whether it’s the gym, a bootcamp or simply walking with a podcast, the options are endless and as long as you’re not sat down then great! Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity 5 times a week, in addition to 2 strength-based (resistance) sessions as well.
Tip 7) The week of your wedding
The week before your wedding may be busy (contacting and double checking suppliers, sorting out gifts and items to take) so make sure to pencil in your “me time/self-care” appointments in advance such as nails, hair, tan and waxing! I personally stopped my workouts a week before my wedding to reduce the chances of breaking out and also to reduce any unnecessary physical stress on my body. I kept up with my walks on a lunch time but skipped my morning workout ritual in favor of getting some more much needed shut-eye.
Tip 8) The day before your wedding
I personally was more stressed the day before my wedding than on the day itself. On the big day it felt like I was on cloud nine and nothing seemed to phase me! My top tip the day before would be to stick to 3 regular meals and include foods that you are used to eating and don’t cause bloating. Chew your food well and make sure to stay hydrated. These tips will help you to feel more comfortable before you climb into bed before midnight. I also kept my alcohol intake low the night before; sticking to just a glass or two to make sure that I felt my best the next day.
Tip 9) The day of your wedding
On the morning of my wedding my sister, bridesmaids and I chose to have breakfast in the room that we were getting ready in. We pre-ordered breakfast and my top tip is to choose something that is light yet filling. I chose scrambled eggs on toast with tomatoes and mushrooms and had some fruit and a little sandwich before we left for church; combing protein and fiber to help keep me full yet not feeling “stuffed.” I also kept drinking water and enjoyed a couple of glasses of fizzy while we were getting ready.
Tip 10) Have fun!
My final tip is to remember to enjoy yourself in the runup to your wedding. When it’s over you’ll wish that you could go back and do it all again (I know I do!). Remember why you’re getting married and have fun with it—if things don’t quite go to plan don’t worry, your guests will never know!
I really hope you enjoyed this blog post and have a wonderful wedding day!
Head over to Nic’s Nutrition for more fab tips for a healthy lifestyle!