I am so sorry for all us brides-to-be who experience any pressure to lose weight for their wedding day. It makes me so sad that the wedding industry (sometimes our family and friends) has reduced what they claim is the - what is one of the most - special days of our life, to how to look in a white dress.
My reasons for choosing not losing weight for my wedding day are simple yet complex, and unique but ubiquitous. I lived with bulimia and an unhealthy body image for over 10 years. When I finally had the courage to kick bulimia in the behind (I was about 26) and when I began to heal my relationship to my body and exercise (I was about 30) I started to really love my life.
For the first time ever, I loved my life more than I wanted the perfect body. I loved my live more than I wanted to count macros or calories, punitive sessions in the gym and meticulously watching my weight. And I wasn’t about to give that up.
I began to enjoy my body and experience food and exercise without shame or guilt.
I didn’t want to undo all my hard work because of one day and even more than that I didn’t want to reduce my wedding day to how I looked in a dress. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t feel the pressure.
Planning a wedding and dress shopping has been a slippery slope and I had to regularly fight the urge to lose weight. When I got engaged and a million times since I thought about shedding a few pounds. I told myself I just want to feel and look my best on the day.
Weddings are wonderful excuses for brides to hide their weight loss goals behind, but I can't help but wonder what was beneath my sporadic impulses to lose weight?
I never wanted to lose weight when I loved and accepted my body. I thought it would be easier to tone up than to begin a journey of self-love... I thought it was easier to change who I was than to accept who I was.
Since weight loss is such a common thing for brides to aspire to in the run-up to their wedding who would think twice about my motives?
However, I knew deep down inside that losing weight for my wedding would jump-start an unhealthy chain of events. Any motives I had to lose weight would not end with the wedding; honeymoon bikini body, baby weight. The list goes on!
When I walk down the aisle, with my dad by my side, and I see James for the first time I don’t want to think about my arms, or my tummy or my back fat. I want to celebrate how lucky James and I are to have found each other and that we get to celebrate the first page of this new chapter with all our loved ones.
James is more than my soulmate and our wedding day about our public declaration to each other. Our marriage is about the fusion of our souls and goals and life. I do not want to reduce this magical day to how I look in a white dress. I am who I am.
The pressure brides face to lose weight is overwhelming. This pressure can be found is subtle conversations when someone asks “why aren’t you eating a desert”, or “you go to the gym a lot don’t you?, or “have you reached your (sic weight loss) goals?’.
The wedding industry preys on brides (and their wedding party) like victims and in doing so tortures our self-esteem; maybe I will try to lose weight just so I can say I said I gave feeling my best a shot.
A women's decision to lose weight before her wedding is her own prerogative. However, when I walk into the gym and see women pu(ni)shing themselves and restricting food I wonder if this how they want to remember their engagement and if these are stories they would be happy to share with their children later in life?
I become nostalgic thinking about how quickly time has passed since James proposed on the 24th December 2016. Everyone said that it would fly by, and I believed them! I just didn’t think it would go by this fast. I am so grateful that I didn’t invest any time or energy during the short-lived time I was a fiancée into panicking over saddle bags, back fat or a jiggly belly.
Instead, I decided to grow tulips in my front room for my wedding bouquet and James and I planned the most epic honeymoon. We are also incredibly excited about the food on our big day, James and I love food.
Sarah Doyle is a life coach, a speaker, the creator or L-School and The Empowered Women Workshops, the founder of The Better Life Project and author of Be Your Own Best Friend. Sarah works with women all over the world to help them achieve their personal and professional goals, whilst developing their confidence and self-esteem.