05/11/2012 12:38 am ET Updated Jul 10, 2012

Is Your Future Mother-In-Law Making You Fat?

When you first get engaged, you're one big ball of bliss. And you're so hypnotized by that rock on your finger that you can't imagine why brides complain of getting stressed out.

Then you start looking for a venue and planning the rehearsal dinner and all of a sudden your once stress-free relationships are reminiscent of the "Real Housewives." The only thing that seems takes the edge off is an extra scoop of ice cream. So much for effortlessly turning into Kate Middleton.

Obviously, binge-inducing relationship drama goes way beyond your mother-in-law. My bridal weight loss clients come to me with stories about their own family, siblings-in-law, god parents, estranged uncles, bridesmaids, your fiancés childhood friend who's now a drug dealer with a history of arson but his mother just died so you have to invite him to wedding... you name it. And just for the record, my mother-in-law set the record for most supportive, least needy mother-in-law in the world.

Here's the bottom line: most engaged women don't make the connection between irrepressible cravings and wedding drama. As a result, we put ourselves on restrictive diets and juice cleanses to curb the uncontrollable snacking. But as the wedding-induced family tension mounts, not even the Master Cleanse can stop you from seeking solitude in a bag of potato chips.

Most women believe that the way to lose weight is to focus on eating less, but the reality is that gaining weight and craving sugar is just a symptom of a much deeper issue. We use food to medicate a bruised ego or calm our stressed nerves. The only way to actually lose weight and keep it off is to address the source, and for brides-to-be, it's almost always taxing family dynamics and unruly bridesmaids.

If you're really committed to looking your best on your wedding day, you have to get real about the source of your stress, and that means cleaning things up with your mother-in-law. Here's how you're going to do it:

1. Know that family drama is normal and healthy. Every conflict that arises during the planning process, whether it's arguing over flower arrangements with your mother or bickering with your father-in-law about wearing a bowtie, stems from a much deeper issue with your relationship in general, which has up until now stayed below the surface. Conflict during wedding planning is a great opportunity to get to the root of what's actually going on. Maybe your mother wants to make every decision because she hates the idea of you not needing her anymore, and your father-in-law is worried about you walking all over his son so he's standing his ground. Next time something comes up I want you to ask them lovingly, "Are we OK? I've noticed we've been bickering a lot, is their something else going on here?" Listen. Don't argue.

2. We can't transform every relationship and sometimes people are just going to be a pain in the ass. You have to find a different outlet for your stress besides sneaking Peanut M&Ms under your desk. How can you disconnect and get away when you need to? Try getting a ten-minute back massage, instituting "wedding block" (a genius invention by me and my mother where wedding discussions are saved for 5pm-7pm twice a week), screaming into your pillow, going on a pre-wedding honeymoon with your fiancé (no internet, cell phones or wedding talk allowed) or taking five-minute dance breaks.

3. If you're struggling with weight, you probably have a laundry list of things you'll do or become when you're thin. Two prevalent ones I hear are "When I'm thin... my mother will stop bugging me about my weight. When I'm thin... I'll be able to deal with my stress". We are waiting on weight. If you find yourself saying, "I just have to get through the wedding then I'll..." or "I just have to lose 10lbs really quickly then I'll..." then you have to watch this video. It's only three minutes long and it will explain to you why you're stuck in a body that you hate and the simple solution for living more and weighing less.

I know it feels like you have a lot on your plate, and dealing with everyone else's craziness seems unfair, but speaking from experience, if you take the time to get to the root of the wedding planning tension with the people you love and find outlets to process the stress, your engagement, wedding and weight loss is going to be smooth sailing.

In the comments below I'd love for you to tell me if this is true for you. Is your family driving you nuts? Are you getting along great with everyone (what's your secret)? Do you find yourself overeating for no reason? Do you have any amazing advice for dodging stress? We want to hear it! Leave a comment below.

And if you found this article helpful, I'd love for you to share it with your friends by using the social media links. When in comes to weight loss, we could all use a little bit of sane advice.

Sarah Jenks is a bridal weight loss coach and founder of the Breathtaking Bride. Sarah has been featured in Forbes, The Boston Globe, Martha Stewart Weddings, Style Me Pretty and The Knot. Sarah believes that the only way to lose weight and love your body is to create a life that is a frickin' blast. To get instant support from Sarah, download the LIVE MORE WEIGH LESS Video Training Series at