If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you are in the middle of planning a wedding. I understand that you want it to be a special day, with everything perfect, showcasing you and your beloved. Attention must be given to the smallest of details so that it will be a day to remember. That’s a lot of pressure to put on one day, and a lot of pressure to put on yourself to produce all that magic.
With all the pressure and stress of planning the perfect wedding, it can be difficult to keep yourself a high priority on the To Do list, even as you have your own health/weight goals with which to contend. Every woman wants to look and feel her best on her big day, and look amazing in the dress – after all, you only get to wear it but once!
All of this pressure can majorly stress a girl out! But the thing is, all the stress is totally sabotaging your health and/or weight goals.
Stress is a toxin. Toxins in general, but stress particularly, stop your metabolism from functioning properly. When you are chronically stressed, there is a constant release of cortisol, a hormone that tells your body that you are in danger, and sends blood flow away from your digestive system to your extremities (so you can run away from the perceived danger). When you are stressed, you do not digest food well, which is not helpful if you are trying to lose or maintain your weight. Stress also interrupts your sleeping patterns, making it difficult for your body to stay in tune with its natural rhythms, and you to make it through each day without mainlining caffeine.
If you want to look and feel your best come your wedding day, the single best thing you can do for yourself is to relax. Relaxation is your body’s preferred state, and making it a practice will let your body function as it is designed. In the face of all that you have to get done to plan your big day, that may seem like a ridiculous proposition, but relaxing and relieving tension doesn’t have to be just another thing on your To Do list that just adds to your stress! There are 3 simple ways to make stress relief part of your regular routine.
Incorporate a daily stress relieving practice. If you don’t already have a regular practice, make one. Schedule the time on your calendar if you need to. Yoga, meditation, sex, putting on music and dancing in your living room, rehashing your day with your honey over a relaxing glass of wine, going for a walk (not a walk to get somewhere, just a walk for a walk’s sake) are all good options that don’t have to take a lot of time from your otherwise busy schedule.
Throughout each day, check in with your body. If you feel the telltale signs of stress (heart pounding, sweaty palms, stomach dropped out or nauseous, twisting and turning tummy), then take a moment to hit the pause button. Stop whatever you’re doing, and sit with your eyes closed. You can do this at your desk, on the subway, in a waiting room, or even on the toilet. Take a deep breath in to the count of 5, hold it for a count of 5, then exhale for a count of 7. This will initiate your body’s relaxation response. To make it even more effective, say the word relax to yourself as you inhale and exhale. Do this for a cycle of 10 breaths, or about 2 minutes. Then open your eyes and move on with your day. Whatever you are doing, you will be making better, more informed decisions because you turned off all the crazy mind chatter so you can listen to what your gut tells you. Take these deep breaths when things are starting to feel overwhelming and you want to turn to that cookie for comfort, or when you need to make a decision about flowers or invitations.
Be present in each moment. Research has shown that people are happier when they are focused on the task on which they are working, rather than thinking about something else. The best way I know for bringing yourself back to the present moment is by practicing gratitude on a daily basis. Gratitude is about being appreciative for all the things that you have right now, not what you want/wish for in the future or regretting what did or did not happen in the past. Whenever you find yourself annoyed in line at the bank, bored in a meeting, or stressed because the subway is taking so long, take a moment to think about the things for which you are grateful, and recognize that in this moment, you have everything you need.
Feed yourself well. When you’re stressed out and feel like you don’t have enough time for everything, it can be tempting or easy to turn to junk food, fast food, or comfort food. Don’t. Your body is an essential part of this planning process (without it, you can’t get anything done!), so take the time to feed it well. Fake and processed foods are stressors that also mess with your metabolism. Sugar, refined carbs, chemical additives, colorings, and preservatives, processed vegetable oils (soybean, corn, canola, and safflower), and hydrogenated fats all wreak havoc on your system. They throw you out of balance, don’t allow you to process food well, and confuse your body’s natural regulation processes. Do your best to not fuel your days with caffeine. It can give you an energetic boost, but then it also has the effect of taxing your adrenal glands (which produce and release cortisol) and makes you feel even more tired the next day, so you feel depleted and exhausted all the time. Try to keep it to a cup or so a day.
When given all that it needs (whole foods in their natural state – clean protein, healthy, fats, antioxidant rich fruits and veggies, legumes, nuts, and whole grains as your body can handle them) and none of the stuff that throws it out of whack, your body is a marvelous system that functions well and feels good. If you check in with your body and notice that it doesn’t feel as good as it could, that is a good sign that something is out of balance and should be addressed to meet your health goals for the wedding.
There are all kinds of different stressors in the world, but as you’re planning your wedding, you are exposed to quite a few of them. Stress is defined as a real or perceived threat to your body or ego. While the causes of stress can be very real, your perception of the danger is the most important thing. Noticing when you are stressed, practicing regular relaxation techniques, being present and grateful, and eliminating a major cause of stress to the body can help you reframe the challenges and face them calmly. From a relaxed state, you can make each decision as it comes, and cross each thing off your To Do list one at a time, so that you can enjoy the process. and look and feel beautiful on your big day.
Alison Ogden, aka The Healthy Vixen, is a health coach helping women to look and feel sexy, beautiful, and confident, inside and out, without calorie counting or starving themselves . Alison empowers her clients to take control of the way they feel by helping them build sensual awareness. As a result, they feel sexy in the skin they’re in and live pleasurably and passionately.