I have always loved weddings. Two people, lucky enough to have found each other in this mad, crazy world, pledge to love, honour, and support each other, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, for the rest of their lives. They share their joy and commitment in a beautiful ceremony in front of all their loved ones. Everyone gets to dress up, eat well, and have fun.
Weddings are truly magical. But, in the past 15 years, they also got nasty. At least for the bride. I remember, when I was a child, brides-to-be talked about how much they loved their fiancé, the delicious foods they planned to serve to their guests, the beautiful location they had chosen for the reception, and all the other myriad details that make planning a wedding both exciting and stressful.
No one talked about weight. No one, regardless of what size they were, ever even thought they had to lose weight for their big day. They just chose a dress that flattered their body type and that was that. Now every bride, regardless of what size they are, goes on a wedding diet.
Brides-to-be wake up earlier to go to the gym everyday, go on strict diets free of carbs, sugars, fats, and whatever else the diet industry has decided to demonize that year, and, if that doesn’t work, even resort to dangerous diet pills or other drastic and harmful “lose weight fast” programmes some internet guru is selling.
So, what’s changed? What’s prompting women to put their health at risk at what should be the happiest time of their lives? Well, around 2000, the diet, fitness, beauty, and media industries, knowing there’s always a lot of money to be made in promoting unrealistic ideals of beauty, created this new “flaw”. Exploiting the natural desire every bride feels to look her best on her wedding day, these industries have started promoting their own ideal of wedding beauty: thin and flawless.
All of a sudden, bridal magazines featured weight loss and plastic surgery ads, workouts tips to make you lose the last few pounds quickly, the newest cleansing juice to detox, and lists of bloating foods to avoid. TV shows like Bridalplasty and Shedding For The Wedding, where brides-to-be go through hell to win a plastic surgery makeover or lose a few pounds for their big days, started appearing on our TV screens. Fitness and diet experts began creating weight loss programmes aimed at brides-to-be.
Their goal, supposedly is to help brides wow their groom at the altar. Never mind he was already wowed or he wouldn’t have proposed at all. But, if you go on a wedding diet, there’s a real chance your fiancé may seriously regret popping the question. Your fiancé fell in love with you the way you are. He doesn’t need, nor wants, you to change to please him. He’s pleased when you are well and happy. And diets get in the way of that.
Trying to achieving an unrealistic beauty ideal is stressful and tiring. Dieting deprives your body of the important nutrients it needs (yes, your body needs some carbs, sugar, and healthy fats too to function properly). It takes away the pleasure of eating, which makes you cranky. It leaves you feeling hungry and tired almost all of the time.
It darkens your mood and prevents you from making the best decisions. Planning a wedding is stressful enough as it is. It is even more so on an empty stomach. And it can wreak havoc on your sex life too. It’s difficult to get in the mood and enjoy yourself when you are concentrating on all your “flaws”, wondering what your fiancé may think of them, sure he dislikes them as much as you do (he doesn’t, or he wouldn’t be with you, trust me).
Wedding diets make the bride miserable. And they make the groom miserable. No wonder men often ask their fiancées to stop dieting. And yet, they are ignored. Brides want to look good on their big day. And they want to look good in the wedding pictures. Those are forever. A permanent reminder of how good they looked on that day.
Problem is,they’ll never look like that again. If you need to go on a strict diet and workout regime to maintain a certain weight, then that’s just simply not the ideal weight for you. Nothing you do will ever change that. But, every time you look at those photos, you’ll wish something could.
So, basically, in the months before your wedding you starved yourself, woke up way too early to exercise, and drank disgusting detox juices just so that you could feel good about yourself on your wedding day and hate yourself for the rest of your life, wishing you could fit at least once more into your bridal dress. Where’s the sense in that?
There is none. Dieting, unless it is for health reasons and under medical supervision, makes no sense. It makes even less sense when you are getting married. Because that’s the time where the lies of the diet, beauty, fitness, and media industries are revealed. They tell us that we need to look thin and perfect to be loved, and yet, there you are, about to marry the love of your life. So, enjoy it!
It’s that joy that will make you look your best on your wedding day. Have you noticed that the best wedding shots aren’t those that are perfectly orchestrated? That the most beautiful brides aren’t necessarily the thinnest? No, the most beautiful wedding pictures show brides caught unaware, with that huge smile on their faces and twinkle in their eyes.
You won’t get that if you are worrying about the little underarm fat you haven’t managed to get rid of in time for the wedding. You won’t get that by starving yourself, munching only on salads and drinking only lemon water. You won’t get that by running for miles. You won’t get that by shedding two dress sizes to fit into a tiny gown.
No, that “I’m-marrying-my-soulmate” glow that makes every bride look radiant and beautiful only emanates from within when you are fully enjoying your big day, celebrating the love you and your husband share, together with your friends and family.
So, say not to wedding diets, and reclaim your wedding for the joyous celebration of love and commitment it is supposed to be. And enjoy every moment of it.
What do you think of wedding diets? Have you gone on one or are planning to? Or do you think we should ditch them and just enjoy our big day too?