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For years, I’ve been a calorie counter and a frequent flyer on my local gym’s stair stepper, obsessive about my weight and appearance — definitely not my finest quality. But “shredding for the wedding” is not for everyone. Here are my "be healthy" tips leading up to the wedding day.

1. Eat well

Let’s be real, wedding planning is madness. You're trying to balance all areas of your life while putting together the biggest party of your life and making healthy home-cooked meals is not always possible. Drive-thrus and takeout become the norm. Meetings with caterers and bakeries add calories to your day. Food intake is all over the place.

Take time to be good to your body. Try to schedule time in your week to cook for yourself or do meal prep. If you do carry out or drive thru, choose a healthier option on the menu. Pair a piece of fruit with your morning coffee or add a protein shot to your morning smoothie. Drink as much water as you can. Take a multivitamin to make up for some of the nutrients you aren’t able to tackle in the day. Fuel your body.

2. Sleep

Allow your body time to rest. Bags and dark circles are Enemy No. 1. An extra hour of sleep may be a better idea than a gal pal brunch or another wedding consultation. Stress can be at an all-time high, and your body needs time to rejuvenate.

3. Wash your face

Take care of your skin. Don’t go to bed with makeup on. (I need to take my own advice!) Moisturize to keep skin glowing.

4. Make an effort to move

I love a Zumba class. I tolerate the elliptical and stair stepper. I despise weightlifting.

However, I do and have done them all. Right now, my gym time is scarce. I live an active lifestyle, and being at the gym seven days a week is not as important to me as it once was. But being healthy is a focus. My fiancé Alex loves my heart and my body, and I work hard to maintain what I have.

Some people struggle more with weight than others, so focus on being healthy, not being thin. Move it at the gym, in your living room or take a stroll around the block over your lunch hour.

5. Have some me time (treat yo' self!)

Don’t over-schedule. Treat yourself to a manicure, pedicure or massage. Give yourself a mental break. For me, sometimes just a phone call with my mom brings me a little clarity and peace.

6. Buy a dress that you feel fabulous in RIGHT NOW

I hear so many girls say, “this would look amazing if I lost 10-20 pounds.” If you want to lose 20 pounds, good for you! But buy a dress that if you had to wear it the next day, you would feel beautiful and confident, just as you are.

You can always tone your body, but don’t count on losing weight. I can say from firsthand experience that maintaining weight during wedding planning is difficult, much less losing it. I’ve spent way too many days eating too few calories in order to keep my weight steady. This is such a special time, and you will want to indulge.

Think of this as wedding wellness. Take care of yourself. Fuel your body and your heart. Get moving and grooving when you can. Remember that you are enough and that you are loved.

After all, he/she put a ring on it. And if all else fails, put on "Bridget Jones’s Diary" and watch that famous swoon-worthy Mark Darcy scene on repeat: “I like you, just as you are.”

— The Midwest Magnolia

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