I don’t want to be another health expert who stands here and says: “living at your ideal weight is easy”. Because for many women the ability to create a body and life that they love seems needlessly complicated, and even unattainable.
I get it.
For many years I struggled with low self-esteem, eating disorders, and depression. No matter how disciplined I became, no matter what I ate or how frequently I exercised, I was never able to feel happy in myself.
My ideal weight was always out of reach…even when I was at it.
Looking back I realize that it wasn’t about how I looked — if anything, in the past I was actually fitter/leaner/more “healthy” than I am now. The real problem was that I was prioritizing the wrong things.
It wasn’t until I spent more time focusing on how I wanted to feel, and less time focusing on how I wanted to look that I reached a weight that made me feel good in my body AND my life.
I work with brides every day who face this same struggle. In our first session together they tell me that they’re making the juices, they’re skipping the gluten, they’re doing the spin class. They want to look a certain way on their big day and they are driving themselves crazy.
Because it’s not working. And the fear of not feeling their absolute best on their wedding day continues to grow.
Incase it’s not enough to put ourselves under this pressure, society likes to add a helping hand. Terms like shedding for the wedding and bridal diet show up daily on social media, blogs and magazines.
As do the “amazing” transformation and fitspiration stories. Seeing thousands of women achieve extreme* weight loss and fitness results skews our perception of how we actually WANT to look and feel as individual, unique women.
(*And extreme they are, which is not necessarily a good thing.)
Of course you want to look and feel your best on your big day, you absolutely should. But the key is knowing what YOUR best really is, and what you actually need to do to get there.
I call the Mind Body Bride ladies “bombshell brides” because every woman has her own definition of what it is to be a “bombshell”.
I can tell you on good authority that feeling terrific in your body doesn’t magically happen once you reach a certain pant size. So let’s stop chasing an arbitrary goal that’s measures in pounds and inches, and get back in touch with what you really want to achieve…
As you continue to work towards YOUR ideal wedding body, here are three important things to remember:
Listen to what your body wants, rather than telling your body what it needs.
You may think that the latest workout trend or juice cleanse is the secret bullet to getting your “dream” bridal body, but that might not be the case.
For the longest time I ate a diet that included 80% raw food. After each meal I found myself curled up into a ball with sharp belly pains — yet I continued to fly the raw food flag for months. (All the trendsetters were eating raw and they looked SO healthy and slim.)
Eventually I wised up, listened to my body and started cooking my veggies, which stopped the constant bloated belly and allowed me to feel energized, not crippled, after each meal.
The takeaway: Chances are your body is smarter than your brain. Listen to its needs with an open mind and open heart.
Exercising in a state of stress adds stress to your stress.
Exercise jolts your body out of its calm, happy and relaxed state, which triggers the stress hormone cortisol to be released from your adrenal glands.
This can be a good thing. Exercise boosts endorphins, increases blood flow and can actually help you become better at dealing with stress — the more physically fit you are the higher your physical “stress threshold” becomes.
However, if you’re already living in a regular state of stress (work, relationships, finances, traffic jams, wedding planning…they all impact our nervous system), and your body constantly receives a cortisol rush, exercise is just adding fuel to the fire.
The takeaway: Don’t give up that morning workout just yet, but before you automatically choose a high intensity bootcamp consider the state of your emotions. Perhaps a nice walk around the block is all you need.
Everyone is different and you’re beautifully unique.
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to fitness and nutrition, and what works for one person may not work for another. Regularly educating yourself about healthy living and personal development is wonderful, but take each piece of advice with a grain of salt. (Mine included!)
The takeaway: Experiment with what you’re trying, and have an open mind to finding success outside the boundaries of traditional weight loss advice. I lost 30 pounds and found my ideal weight after I pulled back on exercise and started eating carbs again…who would have thought?!
At the end of the day you need to trust in your ability to make the best decision for your body, heart and soul (not your ego).
Here’s a question that you can ponder, as you get closer to that moment when you say “I Do”.
- How do you want to look on your wedding day?
- How do you want to feel on your wedding day?
- Is what your doing right now helping you reach both those goals?
- If not, what do you need to change, in your mindset and your lifestyle habits, to create a body AND a life that you love — and that you can keep for the happily ever after?