The Healthy Bride: Tips for Managing Bridal Stress
Planning a wedding is a second job that requires pinning, planning and perspiring and for some this induces a weight loss plateau. Managing bridal stress is just as important as watching what you eat and exercising. During times of particularly high stress, you may feel ravenously hungry or eat in an attempt to fulfill emotional needs when you are not hungry. Here are a few tips to keep your cortisol and corticotropin-releasing hormones in check!
Don’t Count, Don’t Starve: Restricting calories or worse, starving yourself sends your body into “fight or flight” and releases the stress hormone known as cortisol. Once our body is done using glucose (blood sugar) for fuel, it begins to burn away our lean muscle. This unfortunately lowers your body’s overall need for calories and when normal grazing behaviors return you gain weight. Resetting your bodies set weight to need more calories (increased metabolism) can take weeks but counting, starving and restricting can lower your need (metabolism) in a few short days. Limit your fasting to scheduled intermittent fasting only.
Sleep to Thrive: Benefits of sleep include regulation of hormones, curbing appetite and lowering inflammation. Sleep helps you manage stress and decreases depression; a good set of zzzz’s will spur creativity, improve memory and increase you overall outlook on life. For the best sleep, wear a sleep mask or invest in blackout curtains, kill the backlight of an iphone or computer two hours before bed and aim for 7 to 8 hours. If you are stuck on your computer late at night invest in amber “blue light” blocking lenses. Blocking blue light will allow your body to produce the melatonin needed for restful cleansing sleep that whittles your middle. The best hormone balancing sleep happens with the natural circadian rhythm of the sun.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture has been used for more than 2,500 years in traditional Chinese medicine and it is now used by millions of Americans each year, to treat chronic pain, stress and support fertility. Many health problems are linked to chronic stress, such as depression, insomnia, weight gain and anxiety. In a recent study, stressed animals that received acupuncture had a reduction of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which suggests the ancient healing modality helps to normalize stress hormone levels. If the idea of adding another appointment to your schedule makes you more stressed out consider purchasing an acupressure mat to lay on 20 minutes a day. This is a very affordable way to decompress and the perfect meditation mat.
Meditation: It’s no longer just for the yogis, meditation has been proven to increase grey matter in the brain, corticol thickness and brain volume in the areas of emotion regulation, positive emotion and self-control. It lowers high blood pressure and blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks. It increases serotonin production that improves mood and behavior and improves the immune system. Most importantly for weight management, mediation releases accumulated stress in the system. Starts with a guided meditation app or youtube video, from there consider a mediation studio or specialized meditation for need like auto circadian meditation for sleep.
Yoga: HIIT (high intensity interval training) can be a great way to shed pounds and get tight before the big day, unfortunately, that type of intense training also increases cortisol levels. Yoga on the other hand, has been shown to reduce training induced stress and weight. It increases flexibility, muscle strength and muscle tone all while improving respiration, energy and vitality.