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We had the most wonderful wedding day. Thank you friends, family and readers for celebrating with us. As I wait for pictures to trickle in, I would like to share with you what I did to look and feel my best on my big day.

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  • I watched the salt shaker. As an endurance athlete who regularly engages in sweat sessions 6x per week, and someone who has no history of hypertension, avoids processed foods and dining out, I am not shy with the salt shaker when cooking at home. However, in the 1-2 weeks leading up to the wedding I cut the salt in my recipes by half, didn’t salt my food at the table and avoided using hot sauces. Excess salt results in water retention, which may leave you feeling puffy and bloated. And I had no room for that in my dress. I missed the hot sauce a little bit on these Slow Cooker Tex Mex Chicken Lettuce Wraps, but didn’t miss the added salt at the end. At the same time I cut back on salt, I focused on eating foods with potassium (leafy greens and avocado) and drank a lot of water to balance my sodium intake, keep my system flushed and my skin hydrated.

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  • I ate high protein breakfasts. Over the past year or so I have learned that eating a breakfast that is high in protein helps me control my cravings throughout the day and well into the evening. This is because a breakfast that is high in protein with some carbohydrates helps balance your blood sugar after an overnight fast. This particular morning I had shredded onion, zucchini, carrots, two large eggs, fresh oregano and Alibaba salsa hummus, served with two slices of kalamata olive and rosemary almond flour bread from Elana’s cookbook. This helped keep me out of the kitchen looking for a sweet treat before bed time.

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  • I watched my portion sizes. Portion control is my number one trick to maintaining a healthy weight while still being able to eat what you want. I rarely feel deprived or feel like my friends are eating things I cant. Instead I enjoy the foods I crave and eating out with friends in moderation. It is easy to get a distorted view of portion sizes when dining out a lot, which is yet another reason why we eat most of our meals at home. Another trick to watching portion sizes is to eat out of smaller bowls and off of smaller plates. Your will find both your mind and appetite are satisfied with less.

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  • I ate a lot of giant salads. Salad is not only good for your waistline, but it is good for your complexion. Vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and water that keep your skin clear and glowing. Adding protein and healthy fat to salads helps give them the staying power of a typical meal.

This salad featured romaine lettuce, grilled chicken, grilled corn, avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, cucumber and a light dressing.

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This one was an Asian Chicken Salad served with edamame and two leftover quinoa meatballs.

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  • I limited my alcohol intake. Similar to salt, alcohol can cause excess water retention. We typically share a bottle of red wine mid week and on the weekend, but in the weeks leading up to the wedding I stuck to consuming alcohol at only one or two occasions. While I believe there are some health benefits to drinking alcohol in moderation (especially red wine), it can contribute to excess calories that are easy to leave unaccounted for.
  • I got a facial. I treated myself to a lovely 90 minute facial from Brittany at Studio B Spa a week before the wedding. Brittany knew just what I needed to keep my skin glowing and clear for my big day. She also massaged my scalp, chest and arms to leave me feeling extra special. Be sure to check out Brittany’s blog for beauty and skin care tips.
  • I did my best to relax. Luckily, my school schedule allows me to have Thursday’s off, which is especially nice when I need a break from the long commute. The Thursday before the wedding I enjoyed a slow morning finalizing wedding details while I ate one of my favorite breakfasts: buckwheat porridge with cherries, fresh ginger, chia seeds and sunflower seed butter.

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After tackling all the final details, I picked up my dress, got a massage (thanks Mom!), went to yoga, sat out in the sun and took an afternoon nap. This helped me fully absorb the emotions and experience leading up to the big day.

  • I did some major HIIT. Not only does High Intensity Interval Training have aerobic benefits but it also contributes to fat and elevated caloric burn well beyond your workout. With She Rocks Fitness and The Fitnessista’s help, I rocked strength training routines with HIIT between circuits 2-3 days per week for 4-8 weeks before the wedding. And while sometimes I feel unmotivated or silly doing burpees in the middle of the gym, I pushed through, and I have to admit that I definitely noticed results. I saw more definition in my arms and core.

I can honestly say I have never felt so strong, confident and beautiful in my life. And to feel that way on my wedding day is something I will always remember.

What have you done for yourself lately to feel strong, confident and beautiful?