Think Before You Shrink

by Jen
Save to Stuff I Love!

I know the temptation. You get so focused on everything at your wedding looking perfect that it’s hard not to include yourself in that “everything”. And I know how the fittings can get. You know that little demon that lives on your shoulder? The one that whispers “This dress would look so much better if you just lost five or ten pounds… If you just got down to a size six… or a two…” I have him too and I’ve listened to him more than I’m proud of. But he can make you lose your mind, so you can’t let him take over.

woman meditates in ocean

I’m not saying you shouldn’t use your wedding as an inspiration to get in better shape. But I do recommend taking a quiet moment to make sure you know who you’re getting in shape for before you do. A few of the usual suspects:

Your friends
It can be easy to get caught up in wanting the girls to see you looking amazing, especially if several of you are getting married during the same year or two. When the members of my girl gang started to get engaged, things got a wee bit competitive. After a few grueling months, I realized that I needed to peel off a few frenemies as much as I needed to peel off a few pounds. You may not need to do anything so drastic – just remember to give yourself a quick “Why am I doing this?” reality check every now and then. Your girls do want to see you look beautiful when you walk down the aisle. But your true friends mostly want you to be healthy and happy. The other ones can suck it.

Your fiancé
Wanting to look beautiful for your fiancé is a terrific, generous impulse. But when you’re in the middle of wedding stress, it’s easy to lose sight of an important point: Your fiancé is marrying you because he already thinks you’re gorgeous. Those times when he gets all weird on you? Sometimes they happen because he can’t believe how lucky he is and it freaks him out a little bit. Most women I know try to second-guess what their boyfriends or husbands secretly “really” want, myself included. Ruthlessly squash those thoughts when you catch yourself having them and give your guy some credit for knowing his own mind. If he wanted someone with concave cheeks, bigger tits, or more elegant toes, he’d be out there dating her. He’s not. Your fiancé chose you because he thinks you’re stunning and can’t get enough of you. So admit that he has terrific taste in women and cut yourself some slack.

Some magazine editor you’ve never met
I know: We’re all smart, media-savvy chicks who couldn’t possibly really be influenced by fashion magazines. And we definitely wouldn’t be influenced by those vicious, evil tabloids that alternate between publicly shaming women for gaining weight and publicly shaming them for developing eating disorders. Only we are. If you see those images enough, your brain does get used to them. I’ve even caught myself glancing at one of those horrible weight-loss porn tabloids and thinking, “Oh, she looks awful.”

We’ve all heard it, but it bears repeating: Most real women – and by “most” I mean about 99.9% – are physically unable to maintain model proportions. I’ve known three women who managed it: Two eventually got treatment for their eating disorders. The third didn’t technically have an eating disorder, but she worked out obsessively and always had the jitters from constant intake of caffeine, cigarettes, and over-the-counter weight loss products at well above the recommended dose. And, really, models can’t do it either. Just hit YouTube to see the amount of airbrushing that happens.

You know what’s a great way to burn off some of that pre-wedding stress? Write a letter to the fashion or gossip mag editor of your choice and tell her she can suck it.

You
Now we’re getting somewhere. If you really aren’t happy with your fitness level and your wedding is inspiring you to make some positive changes, go for it. Just make sure it’s for you, and that you’re setting goals that won’t make you crazy.

If you’re not sure about that second one, check in with a friend or two to get some perspective. (NOT the Vampirella one who you suspect is only happy when you’re a little bit sad. Pick the ones who aren’t afraid to be honest and who always make you feel terrific when you hang out with them.) They might agree that you could tone up a bit, but I’m betting they think you need less work than you think you do.

If your friends have lost weight, ask them what they liked, what they hated, and what worked for them.

If you do decide you want to make some changes, we’ve got a few good pointers over here.

Go get 'em, Gorgeous!