A Colorful Conversation with Callie Exas of Callie Exas Nutrition & Wellness

Wedding planning is stressful enough. It’s a big event with lots of people and a seemingly impossible number of details to manage. Throw in the expectation that you’ll look your best on your wedding day (and feel great throughout the entire wedding planning process) and you can be left feeling overwhelmed at best and full of shame at worst.

In this interview, Leah and Callie discuss why nutrition and physical activity are so important in managing stress throughout the wedding planning process, and Callie shares ways to incorporate both into your daily life.

Realize Your Body and Brain Work Together

Did you know that what you eat actually affects your brain? According to Callie, your gut contains a microbiome, which is its own ecosystem and essentially functions as a nervous system that communicates with your brain. An imbalanced microbiome can affect your mental health.

If you’re planning on shedding for the wedding, it’s important to realize that depriving yourself can actually make your body resist losing weight. And after the wedding is over and you’ve returned from the honeymoon, don’t be surprised if your body needs a lot of rest. “If you’ve been in a stressed state for a year planning the wedding, your body is going to crash,” says Callie. “You need to recover, and it’s okay to do that.”

Plus your wedding day should be enjoyed fully -- and it’s hard to do that if you’re too focused on depriving yourself.

“Don’t go into it feeling deprived, depleted and hangry. Wedding planning is hard and stressful. Don’t go into it also being starved.”

Combat Stress with Nourishing Food

Not only is the stress of planning a wedding emotionally taxing, but it’s also physically taxing. As Callie explains, stress can affect your cortisol levels, your hormonal balance, and how you thrive or function in your day. Chronic (long term) stress leads to higher levels of inflammation overall.

To combat this, Callie recommends feeding  your body nourishing meals. Gaining an understanding of macronutrients and how to best fuel your physical body is really important, especially when doing something as stressful and overwhelming like planning a wedding.

“At the end of the day, it all starts with what you eat and how you eat and your practices and relationship with food.”

Take Time to Breathe

Callie recommends using box breathing for stress relief on a daily basis. You can do it anywhere, and it only takes a few moments.

“If you’re in a constant fight or flight situation with high cortisol levels, take a step back and do some sort of breathing technique,” Callie says. “More often than not, a methodical breathing exercise will take you down a notch and bring you back to center.

To practice box breathing, repeat this pattern several times:

  • Inhale for four counts

  • Hold the breath in for four counts

  • Exhale for four counts

  • Hold the breath out for four seconds.

Ditch Diet Culture

“[People who identify as female] are taught from a very young age that our value is based on how we look,” Callie says. We’re conditioned to achieve an impossible ideal of what a healthy or desirable body looks like.” This gets amplified in the wedding industry where there’s so much focus on the way you look on your big day.

Taking a step back and listening to and appreciating your body will help you navigate the appearance pressures of getting married. “Bodies change,” Callie says. “That’s just life. … If you can’t love your body, fine, but at least respect all the stuff it does for you. You need to eat in order to function.”

Luckily there are many nutritionists, dieticians, and even celebrities who are helping break down diet culture and offering alternative ways of thinking. Here are a few of Callie’s recommendations on who to follow:

Mentioned in this interview

Where to find Callie

Website CallieExas.com

Learn more about Callie’s non-diet approach (hint: she does virtual health counseling too!)

Instagram @callieexasnutrition & Facebook @Callie Exas Nutrition & Wellness

We love Callie’s daily musings on moving past diet culture and tips for creating a healthy relationship with food.