How to Keep Stress in Check While Wedding Planning

nichole bates podcast

Hey you guys! Coming up we will be talking with virtual health coach, Nicole Bates, with E Squared Health, and we are going to talk about the three most important things that you need to know to keep your stress in check while planning a wedding.

[Ashley] This is Ashley with Forever Bride. We are doing another podcast today and I am so excited I have one of my really good friends in the studio today.

[Ashley] Nicole and I have known each other through the fitness world, through our church, through a lot of common friends – this industry is so small. But today I’m really excited to have you in because we are going to be talking about stress, how to manage our stress, how to deal with stress, and I think this is really important for all of our brides listening because if anyone is planning a wedding this might be one of the most visible things that you can ever go through.

[Ashley] So Nicole thank you so much for being here!

[Nichole] Thank you so much for having me. Ashley I’m so excited to partner with you for this podcast and to talk about this incredibly important topic.

[Ashley] I’m so so grateful. So Nicole you are with E Squared Health. You guys are brand new to our Forever Bride family and you are a virtual health coach. What does that mean?

[Nichole] Yeah! I have been a telephonic health coach and a corporate health coach for years and what a virtual health coach does or how that’s different is we are very mobile. We’re very much a virtual experience for our clients. So we connect with anyone we’re working with in health coaching, whether that’s through video chatting or telephone calls, and so we can meet you wherever you’re at in the world or in the country any time any place.

[Nichole] It really helps us to be so much more reachable to our clients. I think that’s so needed right now because so many people, like we were just talking about this right before we went on air, need this.

[Ashley] This is definitely something that I could use in my life. I don’t have time. It isn’t one day a week driving across town and dealing with parking to go in and meet, like my health needs it, but I honestly don’t have time. And so I love this topic. I think actually a lot of industries are kind of going more towards virtual, so many things are going virtual recently.

[Ashley] Tell me tell me before we dive into this because I was going over your notes there amazing and super excited. But tell me more about about you and kind of how you got started in this and of course you have to tell me a little bit about your puppies too because they’re amazing. We’ll put pictures of her adorable puppy on the show notes. You guys, they are the cutest little teddy bear poofs you’ve ever seen.

[Nichole] Exactly. OK so I’ve been in the health and wellness industry for five years or so working one on one with different clients and really specifically helping them meet whatever their health and wellness goals are. That could be gaining weight, losing weight, managing chronic health conditions; literally anything. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Human Performance, which ultimately is just an exercise science degree and a background in coaching. I’m also a certified personal trainer. I’m a certified health coach through an actual health coaching corporation, Caldwell Coaches and then I’m also a nutrition coach as well. So I’ve got the credentials, I built them over time. I’m also a fur mom as you mentioned. And instead of calling them fur babies lately I’ve been calling them fur toddlers because they are such a handful. I love them with my whole heart but they’re a lot. They’re a bundle of energy and they’re two Pomeranians, so if anyone has a Pomeranian you know what that’s like. Kilo and Lola. They have their own Instagram. I love them obsessively. I am also married to a wonderful man named Davis. He’s in chiropractic school currently which is awesome for me. Free adjustments for life. When this is getting recorded he’s getting his white coat in two weeks that means we’re grounding the finish line for him in school!

[Ashley] I think that’s so nice you guys are in similar fields you guys are in the same industry. I’m sure you have a lot to talk about when you come home too.

[Nichole] We do. Hopefully we’ll be a power couple when he is a doctor. We met in school. And so we have the same degree and yeah we got married three and a half years ago. Way before I ever knew about Forever Bride I certainly wish I would have because there was a ton of stress in my life personally when I was getting married and planning my wedding. I was one of the first of my friends to do so, so I was like a guinea pig. And also the oldest in my family. So first for my parents. My parents got married very young. So this whole experience had transformed since they got married. So talking about stress and partnering with Forever Bride so that our brides have a better experience is super. I is what sets me on fire. It is my passion.

[Ashley] Totally. So with E Squared Health you guys work with all different kinds of people. Doesn’t matter your age or where you’re at in life and like you said early doesn’t matter what your goals are. I think most people assume if you’re working with a health coach you’re just looking to lose weight but there’s so many different things that define health. And I think it’s important too when you start going down this road like you said earlier what are your goals. And so now you specifically are kind of heading up like the wedding side of things, even though you E Squared Health does work with all different kinds of people. But today we’re just going to be focusing on brides. So earlier when we were going over your notes you had some really great like stressors that you wanted to address like these are kind of like the top things people are dealing with. Tell us a little bit about those things.

[Nichole] Sure! If you don’t mind I’m going to just back us up really quick. I’ll share a story based on my experience because it kind of tees into those main stressors. So when I was getting married three and a half years ago at this point I was trying to prepare for my wedding day and I had wedding day goals being in a health and wellness industry. So I was like OK I’m going to have super awesome arms. I would look super great and really like to represent myself as a health minded person on my wedding day. So I was working out excessively like six or seven days a week. I was doing bootcamp, I was doing a ton of weightlifting, and I was doing a lot also in my job. It’s give give give give give. Right? So as a health coach you’re meeting with someone on an emotional level and that’s really draining – super rewarding but super draining. And like I mentioned earlier, was super stressful learning everything for the first time myself. I was eating “well” I would say definitely was having vegetables and good nutrient dense foods but it wasn’t serving my body in its food sensitivities. And was not allowing my body to thrive. And so what I was doing was trying to overcompensate with exercise. I was trying to sleep more. But ultimately there’s not enough time in the day to get 10 plus hours sleep every night, right?! So I was drinking lots of coffee, masking that with wine, with coffee, with trying to get more sleep, and I was miserable actually. I could hardly get through that day without a nap like I would need to go power nap to just do the daily demands.

[Nichole] And so I was putting myself in this really unhealthy place trying to be healthy and the stressors that I was putting myself in I want to make sure our brides aren’t doing that to themselves because there’s really at the end of the day five major stressors that our body experiences on a daily basis, which is emotional/mental stress, it’s nutritional stress, it’s stress from a poor poor gut functionality, from balancing our blood sugar incorrectly, and then also from physical stress. And today I really want to highlight three of those in a little bit more detail. Your wedding day should be the best day of your life. It’s something that we all dream of. We have our Pinterest boards with our ideal wedding. We look at magazines growing up, like I had painted this perfect wedding in my brain since I was like what three – four years old.. And it it’s stressful but we can minimize that for you and make sure that you’re still reaching whatever your health and wellness goals are for your wedding night.

[Ashley] I think a lot of brides get stuck in like the wedding day is the end game and really life goes on after the wedding. And by working on some of these things now you’re setting yourself up for success long term.

[Ashley] I mean these healthy habits, like getting your nutrition right, getting your stress in order, getting your mental and emotional stressors in order, it’s setting you guys up for the great first couple of years of marriage. Yes life goes on ladies and we could do a whole nother podcast on that. It’s like you wake up the morning after your wedding and you think, “Now what?”

[Nichole] Yeah the adrenaline is gone and the day was a blink of an eye. Now I know it’s crazy. I want to help the brides to live a healthy marriage in their bodies as well because after you get married, now are you buying a house. Are you trying to have kids?! Now you’re you know embarking on the rest of your life and you don’t want that one day to have been the whole soul event that you worked to be healthy for.

[Ashley] Right. I do that all the time. I’m getting ready for a vacation. I’m like working out eating really healthy and then to get back from vacation I’m like oh that was exhausting where are the cookies?! No I was working so hard and I was eating great and I felt great about myself and I was sleeping really great. Why would I want to stop that?! Like why do I get back from the vacation I’m like, “Yes, now we go back to our old lazy way.” This is setting you up for success long term. This is not a crash diet. This is not how to lose 20 pounds in two weeks. This is this is bigger than that. Okay so you talked about one of the first ones which I think is the most important is the mental emotional stress.

[Nichole] Yes. We can’t sugar coat it. Emotional stress can really hold you back from looking and feeling your best on your wedding day just as easily as having a poor diet or a bad exercise plan. It’s that critical. So let’s spend some time talking a little bit about that obvious one: mental and emotional stress. And think about everything that’s happening?! So you’re planning a wedding. You’re making lots of decisions, right?! You’re paying for a lot of big price tags. You are getting opinions from everyone your mother, your mother in law, and all of your bridal party, everyone! And also we live in this comparison based world. So we’re trying to have the prettiest decor, the most polished pictures, the most creative ideas. So there’s these hard expectations and it’s enough to consume you. On top of that you’re not just planning your wedding. You’re living a life on top of that where there might be other stressors going on in your life, whether that’s work, life, etc.. But when I’m working one on one with a client who’s under all this stress and I can hear it from you know a job or just it’s emotional personal life situation wherever it might be when they have a lot of stress going on. The first thing I ask them is, “What are you doing to manage your stress?” You know the biggest answer is nothing. They’re doing nothing to manage their stress. So what’s happening is they’re letting that consume themselves and emotional stress, like I said can be just as harmful as a poor nutrition plan so it can lead to fat storage in your area that we’re trying to slim down to fit in our dressed or to look good right?! It’s not just that one day but it’s all the time that that fat storage gets in the way of our confidence and our our energy levels. It also can increase our sugar cravings. So when we’re stressed, it increases our sugar cravings that physiologically is what happens when we have stress.

[Ashley] I feel like it makes everything better temporarily. But I loved what you said earlier and I really want to make sure nobody misses this. And of course like we’ve read this multiple places. But you said it and I think it’s so important like mental and emotional stress causes your body to retain fat. And it’s usually in that lower belly area that most of us women, I mean I struggle with it too. It does matter how much I work out and eat right like that could be more than just working out and eating right. There’s three different areas you need to look at. So okay, people aren’t managing their stress.

[Nichole] No they’re not. And so when I am working with a client what my goal is to determine OK what’s going to work best for you or for them to start managing that mental emotional stress and this can look like a lot of different things. This could be anything from time management to working on breathing correctly. Because when we’re stressed, we are breathing high in our chests and that causes more stress. We are tight, we carry all of that in our shoulders, and our jaw. It just aggravates our body even more so whether that’s through something simple like breathing correctly or implementing meditation, tapping into spirituality, whatever is there jam, and whatever works for them. We’ve got to set intentional goals on that instead of oh yeah I know that’s important I know that’s important but it never makes it onto the to do list. It never actually happens. We’ve got to set that as a goal. So that’s something that I’m honestly working on with my clients who are really stressed a lot. So mental and emotional stress might be the most obvious one for brides but the second thing I hear a lot about is nutrition. I don’t know many brides who have not dieted at some point during their engagement, whether that was for a few weeks or for several months of their engagement leading up to their wedding day, but not a lot of brides realize that eating less is not the best way to reach your wedding day goals being in a calorie deficit is a stressor on your body. Dieting over time damages your metabolism and oftentimes never bounces back. So it’s going up and down and it never comes back to its optimal place after being in this deficit and doing it for a long time. Cutting your calories is not sustainable. Right. You can’t do that for the long term. So what’s gonna happen is you’re going to lose the weight and gain it back as soon as you stop and then probably gain some more after you’re wedding and then it’s going to be even harder to get it off.

[Ashley] We need to like shout this from the rooftops! Does everybody know this?!

[Nichole] Let’s stop eating low calorie foods. Also, I mean eating processed foods is stressful on the body. So anything in a package that’s got preservatives to bind them, hold them together, they’re not truly whole foods. Therefore, they’re not good for us. So think like nutritional bars, diet foods, anything that’s a low fat, low calorie. And those are a lot of the things that we turn to in a pinch when we’re running around with our heads cut off trying to plan a wedding and try to balance it all. We’ll just grab an energy bar, because we’ve been told it’s good, where the labels really misleading and little do we know all of the ingredients in there whether it’s poor oils a ton of sugar soy. There could be lots of things in those little ingredients that might be harming us smart than they’re helping us when we’re trying to be good stewards of ourselves and losing weight. I kind of mentioned this already with sugar but when we’re eating a diet high in sugar that’s also stress on the body. So sugar is an inflammation and inflammation in our body, in a nutshell, it turns off our fat burn. So we can not burn fat when we are in excessive sugar diet. And it also destroys our cells. So long term there’s a larger health implications, whether that creates investors into you know something with your thyroid or an autoimmune condition like these things can happen based on our lifestyle choices. So many brides run on a diet that’s high in sugar, high in caffeine, trying to diet so they’re eating in a calorie deficit and they feel miserable and they may have lack of hydration levels because of these things happening and then their skin looks crappy. So not only are they gaining weight in their midsection, they feel like garbage, but their skin looks like crap too.

[Ashley] And then it’s a cycle too, because you’re not feeling great which is causing more stress and then the stress is making you grab these Oreos, which I don’t know if you guys can see this on the video but there is Oreos and chewy chocolate chip bars here and I’m trying to look at Nichole, like I know sugar is so bad and out of the side of my eye I’m looking at Oreos. Is this a trick?! But really, it is such a vicious cycle. And then now you’re spending more money on like skin products and all these things and it’s a cycle and I think what’s so great about what you guys are doing is you’re breaking that cycle and you’re creating healthy lifestyle choices and it’s almost retraining us. You know I feel the people listening are maybe a little bit younger than I am but growing up we didn’t have access to all this information. You know like energy bars just started coming out when we were kids and they’re so cool and you just grab on on the way to the bus or school or whatever. So yeah nutrition, you work with people to educate them on what is really good and end each person is a little bit different. So you can’t just put together like one plan and say oh this is what you do. “The five steps to a healthy you” it’s so much more than that you know and I think that’s so cool. But what you guys do is that. It’s individual coaching.

[Nichole] Thank you for saying that because that’s such a core belief of E Squared Health. It’s educate and empower. We need to educate you on what’s right, because there’s lots of conflicting confusing health information out there today. And then empower you to make the right choices that serve you specifically as individuals so we work with brides to be, or anyone, to optimize their nutrition that works best for their body and works best for their goals and we take really bio individuality into account with every decision we make and if we aren’t seeing the results we want, well this is really a huge experiment. So then, we’d do something different. Push different buttons, pull different levers until we figure out OK you do really well when you eat a diet that’s higher in fat and lower in carbs or vice versa. Some people need more carbs and less fat. It’s all up to that person and how their body responds to it.

[Ashley] And this is probably why you know a bride, and probably even a groom too, I mean we know men struggle with this just as much as women. Like we’re all made of the same stuff. Right? And to be able to be doing this together with your spouse?! Oh my gosh, you make healthier choices like when you guys are going grocery shopping together, maybe you may join a gym. And this isn’t something that they should call you about a month before their wedding. You know it sounds like you could be making really big life changes, like it takes time and you probably can’t do it all at once. Like literally if you were to take away sugar from my diet right now I would like disintegrate. We would have to ease out of coffee and sugar thing you know.

[Ashley] So this I would imagine that you know starting at least six to twelve months before your wedding and and really getting into this healthy lifestyle. Because I’m sure there’s gonna be some shock happening. And you know like I admitted to you earlier, I had chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. I didn’t have time. It was a huge thing of homemade chocolate chip cookies from my husband’s grandmother. They were amazing. Probably not the best decision. But you’re right. We do horrible things when we are crunched for time and then I’ll actually be probably publishing a blog here in a little bit. Just kind of my experience of working with you guys because Lord knows I need it. And then the physical, the other really big piece of this is is physical. So tell me a little bit more about that, because you have a lot of experience on that side of things too. Tell me a little bit about how. I know that you go to the gym often. You’re an incredible shape! You are very well educated. Tell me more about about the physical side.

[Nichole] Absolutely. So a lot of brides when they’re getting married, they decide I’m going to start a health journey, right? They get a gym membership and they start going to the gym all the time. And you know what, I’m all for that. I’m super excited about it. However, what we need to think about is what we’re doing in the gym. I want you to move more, I want you to start an exercise routine, but let’s be smart about what you’re doing and how your spending your time there at the gym. So brides will do cardio. That’s just like the go-to. It’s the easiest thing and there’s no shame in cardio. I don’t want anyone to hear this message and go oh cardio is bad for me. No no no no that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying when we do cardio cardio cardio in every single workout bout, when we head to the treadmill, the bike, the stairmaster, and we’re on it for hours and when we’re watching a TV show, or binge watching something, or we’re reading a book. or we’re planning our wedding with good intentions. Right. I’m just going to do this really quick and burn 300 calories. Amazing that you do that. But not every single time. Because what happens is we end up over doing it and all the cardio in the world can actually create stress on the body. All of that stress, all that impact, all that breakdown on our body constantly over time… Hitting your joints is like turning on a faucet on high and drinking out of a firehose for your body. So that’s creating more and more oxidative stress on your body and in your joints and without proper strength, recovery, and rest, it is doing more harm than good.

[Ashley] Mm hmm. Yeah. That’s good to know. So do you guys also work with people like in the gym or do you give them kind of exercise plans?

[Nichole] Yeah. Great question. I give a lot of my clients exercise programs when they’re ready for that part of their journey. That’s not like the first thing you’re going to get out the gates, unless that’s like the first thing you want to do or that makes sense for your first thing to be. If you’re a local to the Twin Cities we do an in-person assessment so you’d come into our working office space and you would actually meet with another colleague of mine and go through a movement assessment to make sure you’re moving well. If we’re doing improper movement over time that’s creating more stress over your body. If you’ve got super tight hips hip flexors, because you sit all day because our world sits all day, you’re limited in your range of motion and your body’s compensating. It’s creating more stress over time. So we also provide that if you’re local and able to come in, but most of the time that’s still a virtual part of the experience, where I might send you a program, maybe send you some videos on how to do the proper movements and then you take that and run with it.

[Nichole] Also, I want to go back to really quick to what’s more effective in your workouts because people are doing cardio not only because it’s easy. They understand it, they can multitask potentially when they’re doing it, but they also think it’s the best way to burn fat and your body is freaking smart. So the second you get off the treadmill, even if you burn 200 calories, 400 calories, whatever, the second you step off it’s done burning calories and it is done burning fat. And it goes oh we’ve stopped moving. We must stop working. When you’re strength training however your body in that movement is actually tearing and ripping muscle fibers, which sounds so scary and intense when you say it like that. You’re shredding your muscle. We literally are cutting our muscle and they grow back, they build back, which is good over time they grow back into bigger, leaner, stronger muscles, which is where tone and definition comes into our body, which is beautiful aesthetically right, but also as it’s growing back continues to burn calories and continues to burn fat.

[Ashley] Yes yes! This is so good and yet so important for other people because they think that like you know for girls weight training makes you big. It’s true weight training, it helps you burn fat and calories even after you leave the gym. That’s huge.

][Nichole] So you might have burned 100 calories in your 30 minute 45 minute workout session of actually lifting or strength training. Seems like it’s less effective. Only 100 calories for that whole time but it continues over the next 48 hours. And then that total might be 300, 400, 500, like way more bang for your buck and weigh less stress on your body in that moment too. So it’s critical and I really am passionate about empowering people in the gym, helping them to like I can go in there. I know what to do. I can conquer it. No one’s looking at me weird. Let me help you get there. So that’s important because there’s too much physical stress on our body from not moving well and moving too much ultimately and overtraining.

[Ashley] So again I mean as someone new to the gym or going just for a couple of years now. But even in the beginning I would catch myself like only going to the machines that I knew how to use. Because everybody seems like they know what to do and everybody’s doing all these things. My new thing is I wear a baseball hat because I don’t look at people. Then, I was open to asking for help. I would go with a friend, or you, and I worked out a couple times and you showed me how to do things the next time I went by myself I’m not intimidated to use that new machine or I know how to do that thing, you know?!

[Nichole] Yeah that’s sort of the main thing. So I wanted to make sure brides knew they can approach planning for their wedding a little bit differently and reduce their stress. And if you’re planning a wedding like you said in the next 12 to six months it’s the perfect time to connect with me. I would love to talk to you about optimizing your nutrition, your fitness, your stress management. Don’t forget about that part instead of scrambling a month before and feeling like crap and you’ll gain it all back after your wedding day.

[Ashley] So that’s so wonderful. You also mentioned that you are offering a special for anyone that’s listening to this podcast. And we’ll have a link to on our show notes of how they can contact you. But tell me again what the special was.

[Nichole] Yes. So any of you Forever Bride listeners we are giving away a complimentary 30 day trial of health coaching. So what do you get in your 30 day trial is a 60 minute discovery session. So that’s a big intake call for me to learn everything I humanly can learn about you in 60 minutes to then create a custom roadmap for you. So I take everything I learned we have these pretty detailed questionnaires that you’ll fill out in in advance. I’ll take that. And will make you a plan. And then I send that to you when we talk about it in your first call and that’s when we start setting behavior based goals that set you up and are data driven decision makers. So we’re going to be reassessing a lot. So we get baseline information, like what’s the circumference of your waist? How much do you weigh? The scale isn’t everything but we’re going to do a lot of data analysis that first call and then we’ll compare it on our second call and our third call over 30 days. You get those three calls in total. So two coaching calls where we’re setting goals and then that first call where we’re learning about you. After that you get to decide if you want to keep coaching with me.

[Ashley] Yeah that’s so so awesome. Nichole thank you so much for being here. This was amazing. And like I said we’ll have all of the show notes up on our blog and we’ll have all your contact information. And I just I love this. I love. For those of you that know Forever Bride and follow us, we’re not just about helping you pick out the perfect flowers or the best dress for your shape. I think there’s so much more to planning a wedding and starting a marriage. I mean we we are humans, it’s families coming together, there’s so much more than table linens. Although, yes we do love the beautiful linens, styled shoots, don’t get me wrong, but this is awesome. I love talking about stuff like this; the mental, the nutritional, the physical. I mean they all have to be working together in order to see results. So thank you so much. And you guys, thank you so much for listening. We will see you next week!

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How to Keep Stress in Check While Wedding Planning