Our Styled Spotlight series is one of our favorites, and today might be one of our most fun posts! We usually introduce you to our couples during their wedding posts, but one of our past brides, Julie, runs her own business, Best Whole Self, where she works with clients as a Certified Health Coach and Nutrition Consultant.
Julie has Crohn’s Disease – a facet of her life she talks about openly in order to inspire others – and her diagnosis caused her to want to drastically change her own ways of life in order to improve her health and overall lifestyle. After experiencing her own transformation (and improved Crohn’s health!), she realized she had the ability and complete desire to help others to do the same. So, she quit her job in finance in order to devote her time to her growing business and clients completely.
Julie is passionate about both health and wellness, and she doesn’t believe in diets. Instead, Julie believes in complete lifestyle changes that will last long after you start to experience the first positive affects. She works with clients, including brides and grooms, to kick start new habits, whether that’s weight loss, healthier eating, improving your own self-care, or more, through group coaching programs or mentorship sessions on your own (or with your partner). She shares delicious recipes, workout tips, and more on Instagram and through her website, so make sure to follow her and sign up for her newsletter – both are valuable!
Carly with our Styled Bride team had the great honor of working with Julie and her husband, Jeff, as their month of coordinator for their April wedding, and can say Julie’s passion for health and wellness is contagious as is her joyful and energetic spirit. We all hope you will feel inspired after learning more about Julie, and make sure to read until the end – Julie’s favorites include a number of great suggestions for unique and fun places to experience new things in Philadelphia.
Let’s get to know you! Tell us a little bit about your background.
I am a Certified Health Coach & Nutrition Consultant, and have my own health coaching business Best Whole Self, LLC. After working for 10 years as a financial advisor for a large bank, I decided to pursue my passion in health and wellness to become a Health Coach. Given my background in the corporate world, I am able to not only coach clients on what to eat, but how to do it gracefully and effectively given their busy schedules and work obligations.
Also, as a Crohn’s patient who has been in remission since 2016 due to proper medication and a complete lifestyle change, I focus on working with clients to build healthy habits that are long-lasting rather than just selecting a diet that is only a temporary fix. It is important for me to create both emotional and physical health for my clients, which is what leads to a successful lifestyle change that leads to significant results.
What inspires you most about health and wellness?
Given my own health journey, I truly know the value of taking care of your body and providing yourself the self care that it needs. Had I not made a change to my lifestyle, I know I would have continued on the vicious cycle of being stressed and sick constantly, which would have hindered not only my health but my relationships, career, and quality of life.
The happiness I see in my clients when they become the best versions of themselves continue to drive me to share my work with more individuals so that they, too, can create a better life for themselves and everyone around them. Life is too short to not be healthy and happy so I feel blessed to be able to do that for clients and make it my full time career.
What is your favorite way to work with couples?
I love working with couples!! Getting both on a healthy routine is so vital for each of them to become successful in reaching their health goals. We usually do a joint session which is done via FaceTime and 30 minutes are spent talking together, and then each partner gets 15 minutes of alone time with me to dive into their own challenges. By having weekly sessions, we are able to address the challenges they faced that week, acknowledge what has been going well for them, and continue to build on new healthy habits so that by the time our program is finished, they are living a healthier lifestyle without giving it a second thought. I love seeing the transformation in both of the individuals, as well as seeing the encouragement they give each other along the way.
What’s one thing brides (and grooms!) can do to keep their health and diet in check?
It is so important not to take extremes with dieting or working out leading up to the wedding. Often times, brides and grooms go on juice cleanses or really restrict their diet while doing more workouts per week than they are used to just so they look their best at the wedding, but that is not a smart or safe strategy for a few reasons.
First, most importantly, you can wear down your immune system due to not getting the proper nutrients and risk getting sick for your wedding or honeymoon. Secondly, losing an unreasonable amount of weight in a short amount of time not only is dangerous to your overall health, but the second you resume to your normal diet post-wedding, the pounds will creep right back on.
The best thing to do is begin cleaning up your diet 2-3 months before the wedding by focusing on eating whole foods—fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, whole grains—and reducing or eliminating any processed food and dairy from your diet, especially the week of the wedding as these foods can cause bloating. And, maintain a healthy workout schedule (3-5 times per week) that allows you to look and feel like your most confident self.
What are your top three favorite recipes for couples to enjoy pre (and post!) wedding that are healthy and nutritious?
My favorite recipes for couples are meals that involve little prep and clean up time, but that are healthy and satisfying. Three of my all-time favorites that I often make for myself and my husband are:
- Mediterranean Zoodle Salad
- Semi-Homemade Chicken & Vegetable Soup
- Stir Fry
The recipes for these can be found in my eCookbook Best Whole Five, along with many other easy & delicious recipes that are all 2-4 servings which is perfect for you and your spouse!
1. Wedding element that always catches your eye?
I have a weakness for bridal gowns. Like most girls, I have dreamed about my wedding gown since I was little, and I always admire how the bride chooses the most gorgeous dress and is radiant, despite the many styles to choose from. I feel like the gown also sets the tone for the wedding and is a representation of the style and theme of the night.
2. Latest workout trend you’ve tried and loved in Philadelphia?
I am obsessed with Freehouse Fitness Studio!! They opened two years ago offering classes that include jumping on mini trampolines, or rebounders, as well as using bungees attached to the walls and reformers to get an overall sculpt and cardio workout all in one place. The beauty of these classes is that you are using a lot of your own resistance to build lean muscle, and the constant rotation of new props in the classes allows you to work new muscles every time. The teachers are FAB and classes are 50 minutes rather than an hour, so they are the perfect quick and efficient workout for the busy gal!
3. Moment at your wedding?
EVERY moment was my favorite moment!! But the best and most special part of the day was the alone time I got to spend with my husband, Jeff. We had a separate room with all of our appetizers from the cocktail hour, so we got to eat before heading out to be with the crowd. We missed about 10 minutes of the cocktail hour, but it was great to be able to sit and eat together before joining our guests. It was nice to have our first meal as husband and wife away from the public eye for a few minutes!
And I absolutely have to mention another favorite part—dancing the entire night! Eddie Bruce Orchestra was our band, and we danced to every song. It was the most fun night of our lives.
4. Hidden gem in Philadelphia?
One of the best hidden gems in the city is Helium Comedy Club. What a lot of people don’t know is that you can sign up to receive texts when a big headliner is coming to the club—sometimes it is a surprise and other times you know who the comedian will be—and the ticket prices are the same amount as a regular show. We have seen Pete Davidson and Jim Gaffigan for about the same price as a movie theater ticket—and laughed so much more!
5. Wedding planning tip you wish more couples took to heart?
Couples should definitely stay true to themselves when it comes to their wedding planning. It is easy to get wrapped up in the extra bells in whistles, or do things because family members want it a certain way, but at the end of the day it is all about you and your spouse and the life you are going to begin together. Just stay true to yourself and plan the wedding that has meaning to you and is a representation of both of you as a couple.
Also, as hard and as overwhelming as it may be, don’t sweat the small stuff! It will all come together by the big day and will honestly be the best day of your life. And if everything doesn’t go 100% as planned, just go with the flow and enjoy every minute.