I frequently get asked what can be done to cut off a few pounds, make teeth whiter or reduce darkness under the eyes when it comes to photos for the wedding day. Everyone hopes I have a magic photoshop tool, and the truth is, yes, for the most part I can "fix" all those things in post processing. However, I find people feel better when they know they didn't need to be photoshopped because they looked and felt great right out of camera.
That said, as someone who is NOT a doctor, but IS fairly health conscious and has years of experience making people feel better about themselves, I have a few go to tips I like to offer my couples and families who are about to grace my lens.
Drink ALL the Water. I know, I know. If you're an avid hot beverage drinker like myself or just really enjoy a good fizziness in your cup, water can be a little difficult to stomach. BUT I am telling you, this is THE NUMBER ONE thing you can do to start feeling better and looking the way you want to. So throw some citrus or cucumber in it if you have to and just do it. The amount per day is different for everyone, you can measure the ounces if you like but I just try to drink at least one glass every hour. This one is so important I'm giving it sub points.
- Water is the fastest way to get rid of dark circles under your eyes. (Without all the smoke and mirrors of make up and photoshop)
- This much water through the day makes you feel fuller so you don't eat as much. If weight loss is on your agenda for the big day, this will be super helpful. (Anytime I start craving a snack I first drink a FULL glass of water. If I'm still hungry, I'll eat the snack, but most of the time I was just thirsty)
- Water flushes toxins from your body making your skin clearer and acne-free on your big day.
- One of the first signs of dehydration is fatigue. Drink more water and you'll be more alert through the day. This is especially important if you plan to drink a lot of alcohol in celebration the week leading up to and during the wedding day. Alcohol dehydrates you almost instantly causing blurriness and headaches etc... water before, during, and after alcohol helps immensely with hangover.
- Water flushes out "debris" from your meals throughout the day, making your teeth whiter and reducing bad breath, making you extremely kissable for that first official smooch.
There are apps you can get on your phone to remind you to drink once every hour if you find that helpful, I used Waterlogged until it became a habit and now I don't need it.
Citrus for Clear Skin. Tons of studies show that Vitamin C is essential for collagen in your body, this makes the skin more "elastic-y" and younger looking. (Skin bounces back when stretched to smile... your body naturally has plenty when your young but it depletes as your get older making the skin not bounce back...causing wrinkles) It's also highly recommended when you're sick and need an immune system boost. So either take a supplement or add an orange or two (not juice) to your breakfast.
Coconut Oil for Skin, Hair and Teeth. Similarly coconut oil has tons of antioxidants that help heal the skin. It's great for sun burn, dry skin rashes from winter weather and even inflammation from foods that cause it. (Gluten causes my skin to flare, coconut oil calms it down)
I also put it directly on the tips of my hair at night to heal any damage on the ends. (I've been bleaching and dying my hair for 8 years and it is still super healthy) I only do it at night because it does make your hair oily.
Coconut oil is great for your teeth, I find THIS VIDEO on Oil Pulling to be better at explaining it than I can.
Yoga. I'll be honest, I used to laugh at yoga. It didn't seem like a "real" exercise and was only for people who "couldn't handle" sports or weight lifting. I was terribly terribly wrong. Not only can yoga be extremely difficult, but it makes you feel amazing after. The intentional breathing calms the heart, the focus on stretching clears the mind, the poses flex and stretch muscles making you stronger and more flexible. It's a great way to get you moving in the morning or unwind at the end of a stressful day. This can be especially helpful in the month leading up to the wedding.
You knew it would be here... Diet and Exercise. Yep. I'm not about to tell you what is best for you, I'm not your doctor or coach, but if your health allows, you should try different types of exercise to see what fits your schedule, your abilities and your enjoyment. You might enjoy lifting weights in a gym or running, but a lot of people don't. If you don't, then seek out something fun just to be moving. Bike riding, ultimate frisbee, hiking, even choosing to walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator everyday will make a difference. If you want specific coaching on what would be best for your lifestyle, I'd love to refer you to my favorite coaches at Iron Tribe. They'll be happy to whip you into shape before you have to fit into the dress.
As for diet, I personally choose Paleo about 75% of the time but I know that's not for everyone. Just focus on eating whole (real) foods and limiting junk that was made by a machine or processed to the point of no return. Look at the label, if you can't pronounce it, don't eat it. Just get 75% of your foods from the produce and/or refrigerated sections. I'm telling you, you will be astounded by your new energy levels, your clearer skin, your drop in weight and bloating, and how much fuller you feel - decreasing the need to snack.
Pre-marital Counseling. I cannot stress this one enough. One of the healthiest things you can do for your marriage is seek a pre-marriage counselor who can meet with both of you a couple times to help you work through some pre-existing expectations of what marriage will be. This can be your officiant but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes close friends who have a healthy marriage can be great, just take them out to dinner and ask all the questions. Great things to think through include children (what if you can't have them?), finances (will you have a budget?), holidays (which family will you visit each holiday), gifts (how much money do you spend on each other, family and friends), date nights, pets, religion, you name it, there are so many things to think through and considering them before you ever walk down the aisle will make a huge impact on how you deal with them when they actually arise later.
Don't Forget Your Smile! At the end of the day the little details of how you look are not that important. Marylin Monroe used to say "A smile is the best make up a girl can wear." I couldn't agree more. Capturing your joy and excitement on this day is the most important thing to me, but if helping you look your best gives you more joy, I'm happy to do so. You are there to celebrate your love and mark the beginning of your most epic adventure yet. Soak it all in, enjoy the process and smile! Let me worry about the rest.