I’ll be honest with you, one of the first thoughts I had after booking our wedding venue for NEXT year was “alright, so I have more than a year to kick my butt into gear for the wedding day”. Was this REALLY one of the first things that came to my mind after booking the venue? Am I wrong for thinking this? Or is this a result of diet culture and the wedding industry? Sadly, I feel it’s a mix of all of the above. It’s no surprise that I’ve battled body insecurities, as most women do growing up in their teens, early 20’s…and let’s be honest, is there any age were women feel 100% beautiful? Sadly…I’m not sure?? As I’ve blogged about in the past, my own insecurities have developed over the years, beginning in high school where I was heavily influenced by social media, TV, magazines, and more, running competitively in cross-country and track & field, and of course, the continuous diet culture that we can never seem to get away from. So of course, it’s only natural that when we as woman finally have a wedding date set, it’s an immediate reaction that we must now start the countdown to getting that perfect wedding “bod”.
Ironically, I was in the middle of writing this blog post right before heading to my engagement photo session yesterday and of course, I couldn’t escape those negative thoughts developing in my head. The ones that tell you you’re not ready for a photo shoot. Your skin looks like shit. Your hair looks dry. You feel bloated in the face and belly. You don’t have the right outfit. You can’t afford to get your nails or hair done. Oh the list just goes on! Like, Calli, do you think this is a progress photo or something? Am I expecting to drop weight between todays engagement photo and my day-of wedding photos?? Personally, I think the most difficult thing for me is falling in that comparison trap. Being a blogger, I see fitness photos posted ALL the time as I scroll through instagram. On top of that, I’m now constantly scrolling through pinterest looking at wedding dresses and of course, every woman looks nearly perfect in the wedding dress.
I don’t believe this wedding diet mindset is coming from a negative place at all. I think it’s entirely innocent and we shouldn’t be ashamed in ourselves for thinking like this. Unfortunately, it’s become a somewhat major part of the wedding and fitness industry. Both industries obviously financially benefit from this, so it’s no surprise that they’re taking advantage of marketing and advertisements targeting women looking to lose weight for the big day. Again, not trying to point fingers, we’re all guilty of playing a part and creating this wedding/diet culture. For example, just look at how many articles are shared on Knot.com regarding wedding diet tips, meal plans, celebrity workouts, etc. How many fitness studios around you offer wedding packages? How about the fact that when you go to your first fitting, it’s almost 100% likely you’ll request to schedule several more in hopes of being a smaller size? How about the thousands of posts you’ll find on pinterest about wedding diet and workouts? It’s even become normalized and totally OK in conversation between friends and family. If you look around, it’s everywhere and nearly impossible to avoid? Even those who likely never struggled with weight or body issues before, are now feeling pressured to get into wedding shape.
But, for what? To look a certain way on just one day? I’ll be honest, I was totally deep in the wedding diet mindset (and still am struggling with it) until recently when I listened to an older podcast on the Healthy Maven (episode #22 with Robyn Nohling (the Real Life RD)) where they discuss this topic. It was such an “aw-ha” moment for me because I didn’t even realize I was THAT girl obsessing over how I would look on my wedding day. The sad part is, most times, we’re not doing this for ourselves. We’re doing it so we can look good in front of the 250 attendees at the wedding. Yep, you heard that right. Potentially expecting 250 people at the wedding next year. Talk about added pressure, right? Honestly, I wish I could say that my motivation behind looking good for the big day was for me. But the truth is, I want to look good for all of the 250 people attending. I’m typically not that type of person at all, but for some reason, on this particular day, I’m already concerned with what people will say about my appearance. Again, I realize this is all crazy delusional, but this is how my mind works and I’m sure I’m not alone here. We shouldn’t be concerned about looking good. We SHOULD care about FEELING good. The other point that I found really interesting that was made on this podcast, is do you really want to look back at pictures and say “wow, I wish I could get back to my wedding body some day”? Like, do I really want to kill myself all to look good on ONE day?? Is that really how I want to remember my wedding? Do I want to spend my life trying to get back to that point of likely eating minimal calories and obsessively working out? Absolutely not. I don’t think anyone wants that. I want to look back at the moment and know that it was the happiest moment of my life!
Realizing all of this was half the battle. The most challenging part is doing my best to just observe and ignore those negative thoughts that creep in. Being able to admit and just be aware that these thoughts are REAL will make being able to push them aside that much easier. Though I don’t have any major, life-changing tips here, it certainly helped listening to that podcast and reading this blog from Robyn Nohling (aka the Real Life RD). Definitely worth a read! At the end of the day, Robyn said it best, “thinness does not equal beauty. Marriage is not about the wedding. And a wedding is not about the size of your body.”