In the past few weeks (since the countdown to mine and Mike’s big day dropped below the one-year mark – yippee!) I’ve been trying to be a bit healthier than usual in the hope that I can shift a few pounds – 27, to be precise – before next July. My fitness app, on which I track my running and any other activity I do, tells me that this is a sensible goal. I’ll be within my “healthy” BMI range for my height and the loss rate would be approximately half a pound a week, which is apparently very achievable. I am very lucky in my body shape in that I don’t actually carry weight in a specific area… When I gain a few pounds, it all goes on quite evenly. I have a flat tummy and my bum is quite a normal size. I’m just a bit larger all over than I would ideally like.
Thing is, most wedding magazines, website or articles have pictures like this in them:
That girl is a total stunner, but I do rather wish that you saw a little more of this:
… Which also depicts a gorgeous girl in a pretty dress. The problem comes when we see so much of the former, that we think we can’t POSSIBLY get happily married until we’ve dieted ourselves away to something resembling the first picture.
When I bought my dress, from Perfect Bridal in Aberdeen, the lady in the shop was significantly larger than me. She still casually hinted (while helping me into my dress, in the world’s smallest changing room, me wearing nothing but a pair of knickers… Trying wedding dresses on isn’t half as romantic and exciting as I thought it would be) that I might like to lose some weight for my wedding. “Make sure you don’t lose more than two dress sizes, though”, she huffed, tugging me almost off my feet as she fasted up the back, “any more than that and it becomes very difficult to retain the style of the dress. You might have to buy a new one”.
I nodded and smiled – I had been planning to lose a little weight anyway – but now I think about it again, that was very insensitive. The dress I ended up buying was a size 10, and fit like a glove. A close friend that just got married had a similar experience. She lost a whopping 4 stone (25.5 kilos) in under two years for her big day and in one of her later dress fittings, commented to her seamstress that she still wanted to smooth down her “jelly belly” a bit (I did tell her that she was very hard on herself throughout – she is like me and sometimes is a little over-focused on her flaws). Instead of a supportive comment, perhaps a note on how lovely she already looked, the seamstress just eyed her critically and queried “Have you tried exercising?”
I don’t know why it’s OK for people to ask how “the wedding diet” is going, even though you haven’t told them you are on one. I don’t know why it is just expected that you will spend the year before your wedding (when you are in a whirlwind of planning, phone calls, questions about bunting and other irrelevant-at-any-other-time items, seating-plans, family politics and a-million-and-one other attention-seeking details) starving yourself for one day. I don’t know why more people don’t say: “well, he must have loved you exactly how you are to propose to you, so maybe there are more important things to worry about”.
I totally understand how many women want to be the best version of themselves for that one day. To be a princess for the day, to put on that dress and feel like a trillion dollars, to look make their husband-to-be’s mouth fall open as they walk up the aisle. I understand that most people hope to have photographs taken that they will look at again and again, perhaps display in their house, and pass onto their children. Even I want to lose weight for my wedding – I just want other people to stop assuming I do!
No-one at your wedding would ever look at you on your big day and think, “she’d look lovely if only she’d lost a few pounds”. And if they do? Well, they probably don’t deserve to share that special day with you.
I’m going to continue running my 5Ks, not because I enjoy it but because it makes me feel healthy. I will continue to try and avoid too many sweet treats. But the next person that asks me, “Should you be eating that? You’ve got a wedding dress to fit into!” will get the sharp end of a fork in their eye.
I’m 5′ 8″. At the moment I weigh 167 lb. I’ll maybe do a monthly update here of how I’m getting on. My goal of 140 lb is still a long way away yet. I might stop before I get there (remembering the shop assistant’s warning); I might go further than that if I want to. But I will not let it be the be-all and end-all. I’m getting to marry the man of my dreams in 339 days! I get to spend the rest of my life with the guy that makes me belly-laugh, teaches me new things every day, has expanded my wardrobe to include walking boots, waterproof trousers and a sensible rucksack, and made me the happiest girl in the world when he asked me to be his wife.