They say that starting is the hardest part of any regime, but I beg to differ, especially for the bride-to-be. Beginning your wedding health and fitness journey towards walking up the aisle is motivational, encouraging and gives you the drive you need to achieve the body goals that you've been musing.

As women, our body compositions vary dramatically. This one the most important thing to remember when starting out. We are all unique individuals and we will all adapt differently to exercise programmes and diets. What works for you may not necessarily work for someone else. Do not compare yourself to others; the whole journey is about trial and error, and as you go you will find what works best for you and will be able to use this newly acquired information to its full potential. So let’s get cracking!

It’s all about goal setting

Setting goals is really about what you want to achieve. A definite goal will give you direction, something to actively work towards achieving. We have our short, medium and long-term goals. The one thing to keep in mind when setting goals is that, with a little willpower, you will be able to adhere to them and that they are S.M.A.R.T, that is: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timed. Get yourself a small notebook and write out each of your aims, setting yourself a realistic deadline by which to achieve them. Use this notebook as a diary and jot down thoughts, reminders, recipes, progress; anything that will influence your determination.

Support system

Achieving your goals will be all the easier if you have a good support system in place. Let people know that you are beginning your fitness journey and ask them for help. Say something as simple as, “I’m starting this journey, it’s going to be challenging but awesome, and I would appreciate it if you had my back on this”. You will influence the people around you and you may find that adjusting to a healthier lifestyle may encourage your friends and family to get on board.


The type quantity of the food we eat plays a vital role in our lives and what you consume will affect our skin, hair, body composition and mental health. As a starting point on your fitness journey, you will need to do some research on your own diet and the foods you eat. Keep a food diary for a week and write down everything that passes your lips and at what time you eat. Also, document how you feel after each meal or snack. Review your diary at the end of the week and see what changes you could make. Let’s say you realise that you have been overindulging on carbohydrates such as white bread or pasta, just swap these for whole grains or complex carbs such as green leafy vegetables and sweet potato.
Portion Control and Food Types

Carbohydrates – Opt for a fist size portion of starchy carbohydrates. Recommended sources include sweet potato, butternut squash, porridge, etc. Keep brown rice and pasta to a minimum, and remember that vegetables are also a carb so be sure to supplement with them.

Protein – A palm size portion of this at each meal would be ideal. Chicken, beef, fish, etc.

Vegetables – The more colourful, the better. Add a handful of these to your main meal and lunch.

Fruit – Stick to your five-a-day and be aware of portion sizes. One portion is roughly 80g and is equivalent to a slice of or half a large fruit, e.g., a slice of melon or half a grapefruit, one medium sized fruit, e.g., an apple, or 2 small sized fruit e.g. a plum or mandarin.

Leafy greens – Get a big handful of these bad boys in whenever you can - rocket, spinach, kale are all ideal choices. If you're a bit of a picky eater or don’t like any of these, slowly introduce them into your everyday meals. A simple way to do this is to add them to a smoothie, curry or stew.

Healthy fats – Use coconut oil or real butter in a thumb size portion for cooking. As a snack, nuts will also provide you with healthy fats, a portion size should be no more than ten nuts, choose almonds, walnuts or pistachios and make sure they are unsalted varieties. Seeds such as chia, flax and sunflower are beneficial and can be added to your smoothies and curries. Oily fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel are brilliant sources of Omega 3; however, if like myself, and you don't particularly like seafood I would recommend taking a daily Omega 3 supplement.

Health & Fitness

With all your basic nutritional needs covered you will need to move on to training and exercise. It is of vital importance that you get active. Not only a stress reliever, it is an excellent way to break away from the monotony of the working day. Depending on your needs, it may give you vital alone time or be an opportunity to meet up with friends and become a social situation. Perhaps you and your partner and/or bridesmaids could take up an exercise or dance class together. Or if you are all more committed, a group gym membership will allow you to improve your health and fitness levels together. Whether you want to improve energy levels or to feel simply great in your dress, I say, get out there and enjoy the results you are going to reap from being active.

My biggest piece of advice for anyone that is trying to lose weight, tone up or simply just get healthier would be to ditch the scales. Ladies, when weighing yourself it’s better to keep it to a minimum. So many everyday occurrences, such as menstrual cycle, water intake and stress, can affect your weight. For example, if you weigh yourself at the beginning of the week you might be 9'10. You then hit the gym, eat right and weigh yourself at the start of the following week and you are suddenly 9'14. You are up by 4lbs! What? How? You will ask yourself. You will fail to realise that you're so stressed with work and wedding planning that this has impacted your progress. If you’re a member of a gym, they should provide you with the appropriate measurement procedures and if they haven’t already just ask. Not a member of a gym, no problem, whip out the old measuring tape. A far more realistic depiction of progress is to measure yourself. Take measurements of your chest, waist, upper arm, hips and bum. Use whatever units you prefer: inches or centimetres and measure weekly, keeping a record of your progress.

Armed with all this info, you should be able to start your journey today. No doubt, as you go through your health and fitness journey, you will have ups and downs. Do not let a bad day stop your progress, get straight back on the horse and keep going. Remember, you don't have to do this alone in this. Look for support and if you need some extra motivation consider a personal trainer. The rewards you are going to get from this will be worth the pain and suffering. You will achieve your dreams, all it takes is a little bit of an elbow grease and some self-belief. You got this!!

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- Danielle Farrell