You are Beautiful
Wanting to look your best on your wedding day is something everyone desires. We want our soon-to-be husband or wife to be blown away by the vision-in-white walking down the aisle to them and our pictures to look magazine-ready- but the way some brides achieve this goal breaks my heart a little.
During my time working in bridal, I encountered numerous brides saying things like “oh, it will fit, I just won’t eat much the month before the wedding,” or “We can size down, I’m planning to lose X amount of weight in the next 3 months.” While wanting to look in shape is totally appropriate, crash dieting, starving yourself, and obsessing over wedding weight loss are really scary. This is why I reached out to my sweet friend, Mary Claire, and asked her to lend us her expertise on this subject.
Mary Claire earned a Bachelor’s of Science (BS) degree in Dietetics from the University of Georgia in 2015. Following her undergraduate degree, she completed her dietetic internship (1,200 supervised practice hours) combined Master’s Degree program at The University of Alabama at Birmingham where she earned a Master’s Degree (MS) in Nutrition Science. After passing the Registered Dietitian (RD) exam in September 2016, Mary Claire now works in an acute care hospital in Atlanta, GA as well as work with clients individually through private practice.
Basically she’s brilliant. And she’s currently planning a wedding herself, so she is the perfect person to teach us how to ditch the “shedding for the wedding” mindset and focus on healthy beauty that shines from the inside out! It is our hope that you will treat your body with love and care while wedding planning and you won’t feel the need to put yourself at risk with unhealthy habits – because guess what? Your fiance loves you just as you are! 🙂 So without further ado, let’s hear it for Mary Claire!
5 Ways to shift your mindset from “Shedding for the Wedding” to Healthy, Glowing Bride!
by: Mary Claire Shurina MS, RD, LD
Chances are if you’re reading this you are either engaged and planning a wedding or know someone who is, thus major congratulations are in order! What an exciting time for you and your fiancé as well as family and friends. I myself am planning a wedding this year and it is definitely a big undertaking. Whether you elope, plan an extravagant ballroom wedding, or simply get married in your parents backyard, this time is so sacred and special. I hope you are feeling so much love during this season of life!
As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I counsel clients who wish to lose weight, form healthier habits, and desire to make substantial changes for the long-term. Wedding season can be an intimidating time for brides, as there is so much pressure to “look thin and toned” for the big day. I haven’t been engaged for very long and already people have approached me asking if I plan to diet to prepare for my wedding day. This can be so frustrating! A time meant to be celebrated and feel loved can easily turn into a self-conscious and negative experience. I am here to tell you that you are beautiful and loved just the way you are & that you in fact CAN get married in the body you currently have.
However, with this time of life being notorious for stress, there is always room for making small changes to feel our absolute best. I have devised a list of some of my favorite ways to re-center and re-focus so I feel grounded and most like myself. These are practices that I currently incorporate daily so wedding planning and the time leading up to wedding day is smooth and enjoyable!
1. Always Nourish, Never Restrict
Forming a healthy relationship with food is KEY. When we focus on categorizing foods as “good” or “bad”, we end up putting pressure on all things surrounding food and eating. On the other hand, when we view food as the fuel to help us feel energized, we can spend more time on other things rather than stressing over food! This concept, known as ‘Intuitive Eating’, has recently gained popularity. Intuitive eating encourages us to rely on internal cues of hunger and fullness rather than external ones. Studies have shown an inverse relationship between intuitive eating and body weight status (1) as well as additional positive physical, physiological, and behavioral outcomes (2). Some of these outcomes include increased body satisfaction, more healthful nutrition choices, and weight maintenance.
My recommendation is to keep it as simple as possible. Focus on lots of fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein, whole grains, and healthy fats with each meal. This balance of nutrients does wonders for our digestion and satiety. However! If you have an evening out with friends and eat pizza or a hamburger, do not fret! Enjoy those times socializing, it’s all a part of feeling our best, and a way to hone in on the practice of intuitive eating. Nourishing our body can also mean nourishing our minds and souls, too.
2. Self Care is the Best Care
How can we expect to expend energy planning, coordinating, and preparing for our wedding day if we are not properly taking care of ourselves?! Practicing self care looks different for everyone, yet it’s so essential to helping us feel our best. I’ll provide some examples of my favorites below.
- Schedule time for yourself to do something YOU enjoy
- Drink a cup of hot tea (I have been loving this lavender chamomile herbal tea lately)
- Move your body – walk with a friend, hit up a workout class, or get out in nature
- Meditate – This looks different for everyone. Yoga, deep breathing, writing in a journal, praying, whatever is your jam!
- Read a book (I am currently reading The Meaning of Marriage and it is incredible!)
- Call a girlfriend to catch up
- Quality time with your fiancé – A lot of time is spent going over wedding details and planning during this season. Make sure you take the time to nurture your relationship separately from wedding talk!
3. Welcome All of the Emotions
When we think of common emotions a bride might feel during the wedding planning and engagement season, words such as excitement, blissful, and happy might come to mind. Although this time is extremely exciting and new with lots of celebrations, it can be common for other not so welcoming emotions to arise. Personally, I have found myself sad during different times thinking about a lot of my family members that have passed away and will be unable to be present on my big day. It has also been challenging transitioning from relying on my parents to my partner for big decisions, advice, and go-to needs. Additionally, I’ve found myself anxious during certain moments. I want to ensure my loved ones feel included during the planning process, however respectfully asking for space to make decisions with my partner can be difficult to navigate. All of these feelings are completely NORMAL! Let them in and take a deep breath knowing you are doing the best you can.
Lots of hours planning, dreaming, and sending emails to vendors have me reaching for coffee a lot more than I am used to. Although coffee is delicious and I drink a cup most days, I have to remind myself to choose water more often. Water is essential for our well being, as our body’s are comprised upwards of 60% water. Water is vital to the life of every single cell in our body. It helps regulate our body temperature, aids in digestion and the removal of waste, lubricates joints, and helps allow our cells to grow and survive (3). This is especially important leading up to wedding day – think optimal digestion, glowing/hydrated skin, less bloating, etc. – All things that are essential for physically feeling our best on our big day! I like to recommend keeping a reusable water bottle close by in your car, at your office desk, on your nightstand, or in your purse for convenience. So, how much water do we need? I suggest at least 2 liters per day (64 ounces) for women and 3 liters (96 ounces) for men. Of course this amount can vary based on exercise, pregnancy, or environment (4). Happy hydrating!
5. Surround Yourself with the Best of the Best
Take a step back and think about who you’re regularly spending time with. Who’s your go-to crew of people you share wedding planning and ideas with? If anyone in your circle regularly participates in negative body talk, makes you feel discouraged, or simply is not supportive or uplifting of your plans or ideas, it might be beneficial to politely distance yourself. Think of those who provide stability, support, and a positive attitude. I find that my mood is so influenced by who I am around. This season of life does not need added stress from those who bring you down!
Well, there you have it! I hope you find value in the above practices and can incorporate them in some way daily. I’d love to hear how you’ve been tackling all things surrounding wedding planning and what has helped you feel your best during this phase of life. Let’s connect! Follow me on instagram @redefiningrealfood or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheers to feeling your best,
Xx Mary Claire
1. Camilleri, GM. (2016, March 17). Intuitive Eating Is Inversely Associated With Body Weight Status. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26991542
2. Compton, E. (2018, March 2). Intuitive Eating: The Non-Diet is the Best Diet. Retrieved from: https://sph.umich.edu/pursuit/2018posts/intuitive-eating.html
3. US Department of the Interior. USGS. The Water in You. (2018, July 23). Retrieved from: https://water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html
4. Mayo Clinic. (2017, September 6). Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day? Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
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