I don’t think I ever realized just how pervasive diet culture existed within the wedding world until just about all my girlfriends got engaged and subsequently hitched.
As a curvy girl myself who has intentionally done a lot of work to overcome body shame, I may be hypersensitive to the micro-aggressions we often direct toward ourselves about the way we look. Nevertheless, I’ve never noticed it as much as I have within the context of weddings.
One of my friends declined all snacks because she, “needed to fit into her dress.”
A mother of the bride disclosed to me that she hadn’t eaten a carb for months leading up to her daughter’s wedding.
Another friend swore off alcohol for the year before her wedding. I politely declined attending her bachelorette party.
Here’s the thing…. No one. Else. Cared. About how their bodies looked. Or frankly even noticed! I can’t remember one single time I’ve followed up my, “WOW! She is SUCH a stunning bride!” with “…because she did all those squats” or “…since she trained for that 10K.”
Looking good, feeling good?
And before you get defensive, I get it. Every bride wants to feel good on their wedding day. Like a million bucks. Maybe the best she’s ever felt! And she totally deserves to feel that way. And yes, eating nourishing, nutritious foods and engaging in heart-pumping, blood-flowing physical activity are ways to help us all feel our best. And I’m all for that!
Where it gets a little problematic, IMO, is when we get so obsessed with being a certain size or shape for our wedding day that we neglect other things in life that make us feel good — like restful sleep, keeping stress at bay, spending time with people we love, and experiencing joy and pleasure. Obsessing about your weight or size before the wedding can also contribute to relationship stress in multiple ways (which is kind of the last thing you want to do when you’re trying to prep for, you know, a marriage).
A lack of body confidence can be a barrier to experiencing intimacy with your partner. If you are continually working toward a “better” body, you inherently believe (even if it’s subconsciously) that your body is not good enough. Women who feel this way tend to be less vulnerable, which limits how close they are able to feel to others.
Intimacy, your brain, and your body
Speaking of intimacy, body confidence is key for a really pleasurable, really connected sex life with your partner. Insecurity about your body can limit how present you are able to be during sexytime (have you ever been more focused on how your body looks than how much pleasure you’re experiencing? prime example).
Resentment can build if you’re not fully present with your boo during the pre-wedding period. The wedding itself is important and all, but there are often so many other times to celebrate leading up to the wedding – from engagements and anniversaries to showers and bachelorettes. Just like the wedding day, these are unique occasions that deserve your full attention and ability to enjoy without worrying how many calories are in that mimosa.
This may also lead to you feeling like the wedding didn’t live up to your expectations – even though it did, you were just too worried about your body to realize it. Mindfulness (being fully present in the moment) can significantly increase feelings of satisfaction and pleasure. It is impossible to practice mindfulness at your bachelorette party, for example – feeling so much love from the people there, gratitude for their company and gifts, lucky to be so in love – if you’re preoccupied with what time you have to wake up for bootcamp in the morning.
Your mood can be affected by overexertion, fatigue, and nutritional deficiencies that are sometimes associated with an intense exercise regimen or calorie restriction. It’s true that physical activity and nutrients can boost feel-good hormones in your body, but if you’re sacrificing good sleep in order to get in another workout, or not eating enough for your brain and body to function, you are bound to get cranky. When we get cranky, conflict is easier to start and way harder to end productively. We are not as pleasant to be around. Practicing for a marriage can be super tough to do if we are short-tempered and irritable.
Just the way you are
Before I end this post, I have a insatiable need to also remind everyone in the world that BAE PROPOSED TO YOU BEFORE YOU HAD THAT SO-CALLED PERFECT WEDDING DAY BOD! There are so many people in this world searching for love, you’ve found it girl! Remember that they love you just how you are! Right now! Beautiful flaws and all!
Enjoy the day, the process, the love (and your body) to their fullest… and enjoy the cake!