With pre-marriage preparations — it is easy to overstrain the body, overuse stimulants such as coffee and tea, miss breakfast, get inadequate sleep and go through emotional pressures. All this takes a toll on the body and mind.

Instead, take charge and plan these few months ahead so that you look your best on your wedding day. The human body is an absolutely amazing machine. If you put in effort in the right direction you can truly start looking and feeling fantastic.

Taking charge

Make the beginning now by exercising regularly, finding ways to relax and looking after your skin.

Head to toe, body and mind — here are four ways to help you take charge!

1. Fitting in exercise

Exercise will rev up your mood, improve blood circulation and keep you in shape.

The key to staying consistent with exercise is to select an exercise programme that is enjoyable — one that fits in with your personality, lifestyle and fitness goals.

First, establish your goals. What is it that you would like to gain from your exercise routine? Whether your aim is to tone up or lose a few excess pounds — you'll figure that exercise is not just for the body — it does wonders for the mind!

Forms of exercise

Cardiovascular exercise: Cardiovascular exercise burns calories, promotes blood circulation and strengthens the heart.

Good choices include walking, swimming and cycling.

Strength training: Weight-bearing exercise plays an important role in maintaining bone density and keeping the body strong and well-toned. An effective routine would include exercises that target the major muscle groups of the upper, mid and lower body.

Good choices include weight bearing exercises like push-ups, sit-ups or working out on machines or exercising using dumbbells or resistance bands.

Flexibility training: Flexibility exercises help maintain good posture, keep the body supple and free from muscular stress.

Good choices include yoga, pilates, stretching exercises and tai chi.

2. Find ways to relax

When you are de-stressed and happy it shows … decide to do something that relaxes you and leaves you feeling refreshed.

* Get yourself a relaxing body or foot massage.

* Breathing exercises and pranayama improve lung capacity and calm the body and mind.

* An apple a day, a brisk walk a day, and a good laugh a day… don't forget to create a positive outlook to life.

3. Eat wholesome food

Eat nutritious foods. Choose wholesome foods instead of packaged, refined foods. Be creative in your choices so that the food you eat is tasty as well as healthy.

A healthy well-balanced diet should include carbohydrates, proteins, fats and plenty of water. Carbohydrates (grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes) must form 55-60 per cent of your diet; proteins (milk, eggs, fish, sprouts) 15 per cent; and fats (oils, butter) 25 per cent. Carbohydrates provide energy, proteins help in repairing tissues; and fat is essential in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Avoid fad diets

Prolonged, unbalanced diets that include only one or two foods, or that eliminate the entire food groups can lead to severe nutritional deficiencies. What mainly lost is water and important muscle tissue, and unfortunately, health and energy is also lost as the metabolism slows down.

4. Take care of your skin

Regular exercise, relaxation techniques, adequate water and a positive state of mind are important ingredients to keep the skin looking beautiful and glowing.

Hydration is essential

Water keeps the skin looking fresh and alive. It is one of the most essential nutrients of the human body. The adult body is 60 to 75 per cent water. Drink at least eight to ten glasses of water a day. Also, eat high-water content foods that will keep you well-hydrated. Examples are watermelon, oranges, pineapples, tomatoes, and cucumber.

Beware of pollution, sun burns and other irritants.

Stay away from smog, dust and harsh sunlight.

Know your skin type

Consult an expert. Based on your skin type you will be recommended products which are right for your skin.

Cleanse, tone and moisturise your skin regularly.

This is a daily three-step process in looking after your skin.

Consider applying face-packs or taking facials.

Make every effort to follow the advice of an expert and take time-out to pamper your skin.

The writer is a certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist.