339- Smashing Wedding Planning Stress

by Aleisha

For me, sometimes I’m not even conscious of being stressed until my body starts to send warning signs like grinding my teeth at night, struggling to catch my breath and having a huge desire to drive to the country and find a field to scream into.
Regardless of whether you’re trying lose weight, gain weight or simply not lose your mind, stress plays a massive role in how you look and feel.
In this week’s episode of the Bridechilla Podcast and in her fabulous blog below, Gemma Clark, a clinical nutritionist long-time listener (and current Chilla planning her own wedding) shares how to recognise the symptoms of stress and how to deal with it! A must listen!

Listen to Bridechilla Episode 339

How to approach ‘wedding weight’: a nutritionist’s perspective on stress, hormones and self care

Planning a wedding is stressful enough, let alone the PRESSURE to look a certain way (because OMG you're going to have your photo taken so make sure you look completely different to how you've looked for your entire life so far). Look, I get it. We all want to feel like we look bangin' on our wedding day and chances are you've had unsolicited weight and aesthetic advice from your mother, your sister-in-law, the girl who makes your coffee and that Facebook friend you literally haven't spoken to since high school. You may have even dived into the depths of Google hoping to find the answer.

Regardless of whether you’re trying lose weight, gain weight or simply not lose your mind, stress plays a massive role in how you look and feel.

Hold up, though. WTF even is stress?

  • Stress can be emotional, which is how we would normally describe or refer to stress (ie “Ahhhhh my save the dates haven’t arrived and I wanted to send them out yesterday my life is overrrrrrrrrrr” stress).
  • Stress can also be physical, like during intense exercise, funky restrictive diets, extreme temperatures and whatnot (ie “Fudge I’m so bloody hot and have been running around like a mad woman FEED ME I’M ABOUT TO DIE” stress).
  • And our bodies are stressed when they’re dealing with situations like disease (dis-ease…aka OUR BODIES AREN’T AT EASE. Mind. Blown.) or poor health, or trying to digest things we that don’t agree with us (ie “Eating that entire pizza and garlic bread is making my abdomen feel like it’s about to rebel and make me shit myself” stress).

 Photo by Dardan

How does your body handle Stress?

No matter the source of stress, our bodies deal with and respond to it in the same way. It goes back to our ancestors when they weren’t just stressed about 100 unread emails or what colours to choose for bridesmaids. For them, stress normally indicated they were in a life or death situation or immediate danger, like being chased by a tiger. And when you’re being chased by a tiger, your body just wants to survive, so all the things that aren’t vital to immediate survival start to switch off, like digestion, fat burning, our ability to reproduce and stay calm (because you can’t calm when there’s a f’ing tiger on your tail).

Instead, our bodies releases adrenaline and a hormone called cortisol to pull sugar into our blood stream to give us energy and power to run from the tiger (slash emails slash bridesmaids). Then another hormone, insulin, comes to the party to drag sugar back OUT of our blood in order to stabilise our blood sugar. Cortisol fights back, and we end up having lots of peaks and crashes of our blood sugar, which messes with a bunch of other hormones and generally stuffs up our metabolism.

A little stress is beneficial, but when we’re chronically stressed (constantly in a stressed state for a long time, or layering lots of different stressors on top of each other), there’s no relief for the body and it gets to the point where your adrenal glands tap out and we end up completely exhausted and/or having an emotional break down.

Photo by Fabian Møller

Stress- Weight Loss & Weight Gain

When it comes to weight loss or gain, stress can (and usually will) send us in either direction, but most importantly, stress will never make us function or feel our best. Stress, and cortisol, can make you reach for sugar because of the way your blood sugar dips, or it can turn off your appetite (because running from tiger = digestion not required). Either way, your energy is not going to be fab and you’ll potentially be frustrated with your weight loss or gain.

Now, that doesn’t mean you should turn to a crash diet. Noooo no no no. Crash diets put EVEN MORE STRESS on the body. Plus, when you restrict your body of food, your body gets used to being slack because you’re not giving it the energy it needs to be bloody awesome. Crash diets give you the bare minimum - they keep your organs going, but they won’t make you feel energised, happy, strong or like the glowing chilla you should be feeling like.

Now, look. For some people with particular conditions, it may be beneficial to eat more of some things and less of others (and if you’ve always struggled with weight loss or weight gain, chances are there’s a physiological reason why), but I urge you to PUT DOWN THE GOOGLE SEARCH AND STEP AWAY. You are so much better off going straight to a professional and saving yourself the turmoil of trying to figure it out yourself.

So what CAN you do if the pressures of wedding weight are giving you the shits?

Photo by Johnson Wang

It all starts in the way you think about and treat yourself

What you eat literally feeds your life! It’s all about choosing foods that will give you the life you want to live. It’s about choosing nutritious whole foods most of the time, but enjoying some less nutritious foods some of the time. Remove the guilt around food – you’re not a shit person for eating chocolate! And respect your body, physically and emotionally. If you wouldn’t tell your best friend she’s a fat pig for eating chips, don’t say it to yourself.

If it sounds really tricky, it is. But it’s not impossible.

Try changing your goals away from weight, and focus on other things like your energy levels, skin clarity or athletic performance. You shouldn’t be controlled by a number!

If you’re feeling really freaking stressed, it’s time to employ some self care. Stop doing things that make you feel crap about yourself and start replacing them with things that lift you up instead. The fuck it bucket is not just for wedding planning. Have a life fuck it bucket and get rid of anyone or anything that isn’t making you feel good.

And, if all else fails, it’s okay to have a cry and it’s okay to reach out for some help from someone like me or another health or healing professional you feel comfortable with. You deserve to feel fucking amazing, chilla!

Meet Gemma Clark – Clinical Nutritionist

339- Smashing Wedding Planning Stress

Gemma is a clinical nutritionist who loves helping people of all ages and genders feel kickass about themselves. If you're not sure what a clinical nutritionist does, check out this page. Gemma practices in the flesh in Perth, Western Australia, and online with people all over the world. 

Head to this to Gemma's special Bridechilla link to find handy resources you can download for free that might help you manage some stress. There's also a guide for health grocery shopping that you can score for 50% off, too, with the codeword 'bridechilla'. If you'd like to work with Gemma, she's offering Bridechillas their first consultation at 50% off (SAY WHAAAAT?!). That's a AU$75 saving! 

With thanks to Our Bridechilla Partners

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Show image by  Brooke Cagle

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