Your wedding day is one of the most important and special days of your life. It’s a day where you want to look and feel your best, and that includes feeling confident, energised and zen. The easiest way to do this, is to adopt good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle in the months prior. We spoke with female health nutritionist, Dr Michelle Hone, PhD, to ask her some very important questions on how you can prepare for your big day.
1. What are some stress busting foods for people to be aware of before their wedding day?
When we’re stressed, it can be easy for your nutrition to slip and you rely on sugary laden snacks or takeaways. By opting for complex carbohydrates such as sweet potato, wholemeal pasta and rice, and oats, the energy is released more slowly which can help stabilize blood, help balance your energy throughout the day and even lowers our stress-hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline. I would also recommend lots of antioxidants in the form of fruits and vegetables. These combat the free radicals produced when we are stressed and are so important for recovery. Chamomile tea is also a nice addition to your diet to help have a calming effect on the body.
2. Nutritionally speaking, how can one be prepared for (arguably) the biggest day of their lives?
Vitamin C would be a key component to your diet as it gets used up a lot when you’re stressed, and it also plays a huge role in collagen production for great skin, hair and nails. Foods high in Vitamin C are peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli and citrus fruits like kiwis, lemon and oranges. Staying well hydrated in the run up too will help your brain focus, your body function normally (no irritable bowel movements) and also really helps with that skin glow. Everyone will have different fluid requirements, so the best way to know you are optimally hydrated is that you will have five light lemonade coloured pees per day!
3. How can people maintain a healthy lifestyle while planning all the little details?
A lot will come down to planning and organising your meals. If you stick to three main meals and have healthy snacks to hand such as a protein bar, some nuts and fruit, or even a boiled egg, this will help you stick to a healthy diet so you’re not reaching for another coffee or chocolate every time you have an energy dip – This can wreak havoc on our blood sugar and hormones, which doesn’t help when wedding planning! As for other lifestyle factors such as sleep and exercise, do your best to stick to your usual routine and time to bed, and don’t push yourself too far at the gym, it will only make your body more stressed and fatigued without the proper rest and relaxation.
4. Is there anything you'd advise a couple to implement as a hack for mental health?
Find what I call your ‘self-care jam’. This will look different for everyone, but some ideas are yoga, a nature walk, meditation, journaling, listening to music, dancing and don’t forget breathing! Breathing slowly and deeply moves us from our ‘fight or flight’ state, where we feel stressed and tense, to our ‘rest and digest’ state, where we feel peaceful and calm. I also love magnesium, as it is a nutrient that helps calm our central nervous system, moving us more into that ‘rest and digest’ state. Foods rich in magnesium are nuts, seeds, legumes and dark chocolate!
5. Do you have any tips for brides or grooms who may be freaking out/stressed on the day eg. should they have a plan in place for the day?
The morning can be busy, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes out and go for a walk and come back to your breath. Although you might not have an appetite with that nervous energy, don’t skip breakfast! A good meal, especially containing some slow releasing carbohydrates like oats, helps to lower that feeling of overwhelm by decreasing our stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, leaving you feeling a little more zen!
6. Any other general tips for brides-to-be?
Don’t try anything new in the month running up to your big day. Stick to your usual foods, exercise and skincare routine and make sure to book in some self-care time. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, always come back to the reason why you’re getting married. You’re getting married because you love each other and want to spend the rest of your lives together. Having fun with friends and family is the added bonus, but don’t fall into the trap of organising a party for everyone else and keeping everyone else happy! Remember what is important, the rest is just detail.
Dr Michelle Hone is a fertility nutritionist and the founder of The Fit Clinic, a team of nutritionists who specialise in female health. The Fit Clinic has worked with thousands of women, empowering them to understand their bodies, so they can reach optimal health and feel their best. Michelle and her team support women throughout all life stages; helping them to optimising their hormonal health, fertility, and supporting them during pregnancy, and beyond.