Don’t let plan­ning your wed­ding stop you from hav­ing a healthy lifestyle – here’s how to stay well in the run-up to the day

You and Your Wedding - - Contents -

Ef­fec­tive and prac­ti­cal ways to be at your best

It can be tricky enough to stay in a healthy rou­tine at the best of times – and if you add plan­ning a wed­ding to the mix, it can start to feel al­most im­pos­si­ble. After all, it’s not easy to keep your stress lev­els down when you’re deal­ing with guest-list dra­mas, or to carry on with WKDW ÀWQHVV FODVV WKDW PDNHV \RX IHHO JUHDW when ev­ery evening is taken up with venue re­search. And that’s be­fore we take into ac­count the ex­tra al­co­hol you may be con­sum­ing – it’s a su­per-so­cial time – or any pres­sure creep­ing in around los­ing weight for the big day. But no­body wants to turn up to their wed­ding feel­ing tired, hun­gry and PLVHUDEOH 7KDW·V ZK\ ZH·YH LGHQWLÀHG WKH main ar­eas of plan­ning that can sab­o­tage your healthy regime, and asked lead­ing ex­perts how you can over­come them. Sadly, we can’t do the ta­ble plan for you, or get rid of that an­noy­ing guest who keeps de­mand­ing a plus-one – but we can help you feel your KHDOWK\ FRQÀGHQW EULGDO EHVW ZKDWHYHU the run-up to your wed­ding throws at you!


Whether you’re plan­ning a large-scale celebration or an in­ti­mate party, plan­ning a wed­ding can be stress­ful. And stress can have a se­ri­ous ef­fect on your well­be­ing.

“It’s your hor­mones play­ing havoc – too PXFK DGUHQDOLQ ZKLFK LV DERXW ÀJKW RU ÁLJKW μ H[SODLQV GRFWRU DQG SHUVRQDO WUDLQHU Dr Hazel Wal­lace, author of The Food Medic for Life: Easy recipes to help you live well ev­ery day (Yel­low Kite, £20). “Chronic stress can lead to high lev­els of cor­ti­sol. You might overeat

or stop eat­ing – and it can even make you get more cold sores!”

It isn’t go­ing to be pos­si­ble to erad­i­cate all sources of stress, so you need to take time to re­ally look after your­self. “Have prac­tices in your rou­tine that make you feel safe and re­laxed, whether that’s some­thing like long walks or med­i­ta­tion – take time out to be calm,” says Dr Wal­lace. “Pri­ori­tise feed­ing your­self well as a form of self-care. Have reg­u­lar meal­times, as well as bal­anced snacks with good qual­ity car­bo­hy­drates to keep your en­ergy lev­els up.”


'LIÀFXOW\ IDOOLQJ RU VWD\LQJ DVOHHS LV D NH\ symp­tom of stress, and lack of sleep has been linked to all sorts of con­di­tions, such as a weak­ened im­mune sys­tem and high­blood pres­sure. There are lots of sleepin­duc­ing ideas out there, from pil­low sprays to eye masks – but, coun­ter­in­tu­itive as it may seem, get­ting more ac­tive may ac­tu­ally be the an­swer.

“Yoga and Pi­lates are both per­fect for some­one strug­gling to sleep, as they’re gen­tle and restora­tive enough not to over­stress the body,” says Hollie Grant, an award­win­ning trainer whose Pi­lates PT stu­dio has a res­i­dency at The Man­darin Ori­en­tal Hyde Park. “Try to bal­ance life out with low-in­ten­sity, mind­ful classes to pre­vent burnout. Just don’t ex­er­cise too close to bed­time, as this can make it harder to drift off due to raised tem­per­a­ture and en­ergy lev­els.”


It’s not just about your phys­i­cal well­be­ing. A wed­ding stress point that can re­ally up­set your emo­tional health is feel­ing un­der pres­sure to lose weight.

“Brides worry about not look­ing the best ver­sion of them­selves in their pho­tos,” says 0LFKHOOH (OPDQ ERG\ FRQÀGHQFH FRDFK

and author of Am I Ugly? (An­ima, £9.57). “But we all need to re­alise that thin­ner does not mean bet­ter, more beau­ti­ful or more love­able. You shouldn’t need to change dress sizes to feel more valu­able.”

Some­times, brides-to-be can start to feel un­der pres­sure to lose weight be­cause their friends and fam­ily as­sume that’s what they’re go­ing to do. “Try to ig­nore diet chat,” says Hollie. “I lost track of the times I was asked which diet I was go­ing to use in the run-up to my wed­ding, de­spite the fact I’m for­ever bang­ing the drum for body ac­cep­tance. If some­one be­gins to talk to y you about this, say you don’t want to en­gage in that type of con­ver­sa­tion.”


One par­tic­u­larly dan­ger­ous re­sult of the pres­sure of wed­ding weight-loss is crash-di­et­ing. This of­ten hap­pens when a bride-to be has or­dered her dress in a size or more smaller than she ac­tu­ally is ² VKH WXUQV XS IRU KHU ÀWWLQJ

and dis­cov­ers that her JRUJHRXV JRZQ GRHVQ·W ÀW

Cue a fran­tic at­tempt to slim into it within a few weeks, us­ing an ex­treme diet and ex­er­cise regime.

“In the short term, peo­ple see re­sults when they’re cut­ting lots of calo­ries, but it gives you the wrong mind­set when it comes to your re­la­tion­ship with your body and food,” says Dr Wal­lace.

If your body isn’t get­ting enough fuel, \ \RX FDQ ÀQG WKDW \RX·UH ODFNLQJ HQHUJ\ ²

not what you need when you have a mil­lion wed­ding to-dos to take care of. You risk mak­ing the run-up to your big day thor­oughly mis­er­able, par­tic­u­larly if you start avoid­ing events that in­volve food and drink – and the long-term ef­fects can be se­ri­ous.

“If ex­treme di­et­ing goes on long term, you FDQ VWDUW WR VHH QXWULWLRQDO GHÀFLHQFLHV μ VD\V

Dr Wal­lace. “If it goes on long enough, your me­tab­o­lism will start to com­pen­sate. You’ll be in a vi­cious cy­cle – you stop los­ing weight, so you cut out more calo­ries, but your body catches up.” We know it can be hard if you’re feel­ing un­der pres­sure to be a cer­tain size or weight, but please don’t pun­ish \RXUVHOI WR ÀW LQWR D GUHVV

“Eat well and ex­er­cise,” adds Dr Wal­lace. “But do that re­gard­less of the wed­ding – and re­mem­ber, you can be healthy and beau­ti­ful while not be­ing two dress sizes smaller.”


In ad­di­tion to the day it­self, there can of­ten be a lot of so­cial­is­ing around your wed­ding. There’s celebration drinks with friends, the stag and hen dos, re­hearsal din­ner, ‘just-be­cause’ drinks with your brides­maids…

It can all add up, and the ef­fects of too much al­co­hol on health, even in the short term, are well doc­u­mented – from de­hy­drat­ing your skin and leav­ing you prone to spots, to in­creas­ing feel­ings of anx­i­ety. Dr Wal­lace sug­gests taking a bal­anced at­ti­tude. “Know your lim­its and pace your­self,” she says. “Swap ev­ery sec­ond al­co­holic drink for a glass of wa­ter or choose al­co­hol-free cock­tails.”


Do you love that rush you get from your reg­u­lar gym VHVVLRQ \RXU UXQ RU \RXU IDYRXULWH ÀWQHVV

class? The mood-boost­ing ef­fects of ex­er­cise are well known, so if you have to cur­tail RU FXW RXW \RXU ÀWQHVV WLPH EHFDXVH \RX·UH

too busy with plan­ning and wed­min tasks, it can have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on how you feel. The an­swer to the prob­lem is to get more cre­ative with your rou­tine.

“It’s all about short­en­ing your work­outs by adding move­ment else­where,” says Hollie. “I know that sounds ob­vi­ous, but walk­ing or cy­cling in­stead of us­ing the car will mean less time spent in the gym. You could also choose work­outs that are based on HIIT (high-in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing), as they are much shorter.”

“Thin­ner does not mean bet­ter. You shouldn’t need to change your dress size to feel more valu­able”

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