I have a wonderful friend, we’ll call her “R” who is going to join the ranks of wedded bliss later this October. With all the stress of her trying to plan a wedding with over-helpful families and all the insanity that comes from organizing a giant festive occasion when religion and cake are involved I found it not surprising but still discouraging that on top of it all she is concerned with also trying to lose weight in these final weeks.
R is a brilliant, funny and wonderfully thoughtful woman. One of the LAST things I feel she should be worrying about as the final weeks of her wedding preparations draw to a close it trying to starve her body into submission. I wanted to copy here her thoughts and what my own response was and find out what others think.
Despite being an English major, I apparently never learned the meaning of the word “willpower.” This has been especially problematic in the past year. I had thought I could lose 30 pounds from December to next month. Then I was hoping for 20 pounds from June to October. Then I thought maybe 10 pounds from August to October. Now I’m hoping to maintain. The good thing is that there is a slight possibility of that happening – except that between now and the wedding are 3 holidays revolving around food. Also somewhere in there I need to have a fitting for a dress that is already having an entire back added to it because zipping was not an option.
Why is it that I crave nothing but crap right now? Two weeks ago I wanted apple cider, apple cider doughnuts, cheese and pie. Then there was the craving for salt and vinegar potato chips, followed almost immediately by cravings for ice cream and kitkats. And peanut butter filled chocolate covered pretzels. Now it’s kugel. I’m swinging between sweet and salty cravings like a demented Tarzan–and no, I am not pregnant. I have become an eating machine. Considering that I exercise slightly less than a comatose cat, this is not helpful to my weight loss.
I know I am not alone in this. I recall a conversation with a bride-to-be who was telling me that she had no problem losing weight to be a bridesmaid, but could not focus on the program to lose weight for her own wedding. Is it stress? Or is it just the time of year? Fall is fattening season–time to get your winter blubber ready. I had thought it would be a good time because I would have had all summer to lose, but the end of summer is where all of that healthy eating really fell apart. I still have almost a month to lose. I could theoretically get on Atkins and do beautifully. Or I could workout every day and get a little buff. It’s possible. Not likely, but possible. If I just walk 3 miles a day at a quick pace, while eating nothing but low-fat protein I could lose another 10 pounds and fit into the dress that, as far as I know, is being altered for me as we speak. Or there’s always a the girdle option. I’ll have people helping me get dressed, I’m sure 2 or three women could tie a girdle tightly enough that I won’t pop the laces. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to breathe; but then I could say that while my gown is lovely, my undergarments are truly breathtaking.
My response included a few links to other posts of mine and around the fatosphere and I’m hoping it was helpful and not annoying!
I write on a blog I call “I AM in Shape. ROUND is a Shape” with a few entries you might like to read for fun and some interesting things to think about; especially :
Here’s a great site that I like to go to often too: Diets Don’t Work
But the main point I want to bring up is that listening to your body’s cravings for whatever nutritional (or not so “filled with nutrition”) items it needs is a difficult process when we spend our lives denying our bodies’ in-born food regulation systems.
The whole “Lose weight before your wedding” thing is just another BS part of the whole wedding process that makes me cringe. As if the wedding would be that much less special if the bride was HERSELF instead of a smaller version of herself obtained by months and weeks of body hatred and self-restriction.
My thoughts? You have enough to stress about in the next few weeks. You certainly DON’T need to add a diet to the list of crap you have to deal with! Get that fitting and have it fit a body that you have loved, nourished and respected right up until your wedding day; not one you have abused and hated and starved in the hopes that one or two more stitches can be taken in.
L doesn’t love you any more or less for your body gaining or losing 20 pounds by a particular day. (If he does I’ll have to punch him at the wedding)
PS: You’re beautiful!
I find that in the world today we spend far too little time telling people that they are beautiful JUST as they are and far too MUCH time focused on how to IMPROVE our looks (whether it be by losing weight, preventing the look of aging, etc). I’ve also always found it repulsive that a bride is expected, almost as some sort of rite of passage, to go on diet after diet in the months before the wedding to “Slim up for the honeymoon bikini” or “Look smashing in your wedding gown”, and then to whimper in self-loathing filled defeated agony if weight is not lost by that final fitting (and don’t even get me into the awful industry of bridal dress sizing and fittings).
Regardless of how large or small the woman (or man) happens to actually be and how well they fit your perception of “fat” or “overweight”; how is this dieting fervor in the midst of the stress that already comes with planning a large wedding, mentally (or even physically) healthy? How does it make sense for a woman embarking on a joyous celebration; who is about to become linked via ceremony to their loved one; to do everything in their power to CHANGE themselves drastically just prior to the party, to work their darnedest to try and disappear??!? Is it all just part and parcel of the Fantasy of Being Thin? That you only DESERVE to get that big fun wedding if you’re thin enough? That you can finally Be Yourself if only those last few pounds would just fall off? Why is there no little disclaimer on these pushes for weight loss prior to the wedding that reminds folks:
Annoying Truth: there is no magic weight, no magic dress size, at which life becomes nothing but sunshine and puppies.
I can understand my friend R wanting to avoid foods that she is craving if they are making her feel sick or malnourished, or her wanting to get some movement if she’s feeling sluggish (or just wants to get out and escape Wedding Planning Insanity for a while); that is not what I’m pondering. What I’m wondering is how to respond to the very pervasive wedding ideal that being a Smaller You is just how it is done. Perhaps it is all just a way to give folks the “satisfaction” of watching folks a year or two after the wedding and being able to say “Ooo, she let herself go!” when the weight that may have been frantically lost prior to the wedding comes back. Isn’t the wedding supposed to be about celebrating the joining of two lovely people who love each other as they are, for better or for worse? Then again, perhaps I’m just wrong. But I’d like to hope not.
Thoughts? What advice would YOU give or what words would you NEED to hear if it was you in this all too common situation?