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Some Thoughts on "Wedding Dieting"

While this cake looks amazing, this picture is most definitely not of my cake or me.

Planning a wedding is crazy. For obvious reasons, of course, like the fact that you’re trying to coordinate all the details of an event for a couple hundred people. But also, because there’s so much focus on your diet and your body. I’m definitely not the first bride to feel this way, but, as a dietitian, wanted to share with you some of my thoughts on this crazy phenomenon… and of course, what everyone wants to know – my wedding diet. With just about one week (!!) until our wedding, here's what’s been going on over here.

The Comments

Oh my gosh, the comments. After getting engaged, the floodgates somehow open to comments about your diet and your body. Personally, in the past month alone, I’ve been told: that I should start my wedding diet, that I don’t need to lose weight, that I gained too much weight, and that I’m too thin. Here’s the real kicker – over this same time period, my weight has stayed pretty much the exact.same.

What is it about getting engaged and married that all the sudden gives others a right to critique other people’s bodies?! This is so not okay. For one, our diets and bodies are our own business and choices. Unless we’re asking questions about them, no one has a right to give their unwarranted opinion. Being told you’re “too” anything is always hurtful – especially before an event as big as your wedding. Secondly, there’s really no reason that weddings should automatically equal dieting. Of course, every bride should feel beautiful and her best on her wedding day – but do weddings really have to be associated with extreme dieting and weight loss? This is such a negative (and un-fun) way to ring in such a positive experience.

The Problem

Here’s the problem with this mentality: it can set us up for the detrimental restrict and binge cycle – a cycle that I dedicate so much of my nutrition work to working against. Like any other time in life, if you’re constantly told you should lose weight, or feel immense pressure to lose weight, it can trigger that reaction to want to restrict intake. Any time we restrict what we eat – whether it’s food groups or total calories in general – at some point, it leads to overeating and feelings of guilt.

Even as a dietitian who very much both practices and preaches an “all foods fit” approach, I’ve fallen victim to this. A few months ago, when I was repeatedly asked (even by strangers!) about my wedding diet, I started thinking, “should I be wedding dieting?”. This quickly turned into “I should be wedding dieting,” and I immediately felt guilty for not having a wedding diet. I started thinking "I should cut out dessert," and then, all I could think about was dessert. Luckily, I was able to snap out of this thought process pretty quickly, and the thoughts never actually turned into action. But, it’s scary that, even as a dietitian who’s well aware of this cycle, the pressure to wedding diet was still there.

Friends and clients have expressed similar sentiments to me. Others have told them that they shouldn’t eat something or asked them why they haven’t lost weight before their weddings. At the end of the day, it is 100% your choice how you want to look and feel on your wedding day. No one can tell you what to eat or what to weigh and please, please remember too – your wedding is about so much more than your body weight and the way you look.

My Wedding Diet

All that said, you might be wondering what my actual wedding diet has been. I’ll be honest: through all the critiques, the comments that I should wedding diet, the statements telling me that I “will lose weight,” I haven’t dieted. Yep – I don’t have a wedding diet. Throughout this past year, I’ve continued to eat the way I always do: plenty of vegetables and fruit, whole grains, and always dessert when I’m craving it.

Don’t get me wrong, like most other brides, I still want to feel my absolute best on my wedding day. For this last month, I've been focusing on foods that do just that - make me feel my best. Being confident in your skin – especially on such a special day – is so important. It’s also one of the reasons I help clients with weight loss in general (meaning long term, gradual weight loss - not extreme weight loss for an event!); because even though I don’t believe in dieting, I believe that everyone deserves to feel confident in their bodies and often, it’s the journey towards weight loss and food acceptance (not the actual weight loss itself!) that gets a person there.

This next week, I’m continuing to eat healthy to feel my best. I'm also still eating chocolate every day. The other day I had fried food and churros at a group dinner, enjoyed them, and then moved on with my life. There really is a way to both eat mindfully to nourish your body and also allow all foods without restricting – and that’s truly the goal, both before a wedding and always.

I know my wedding diet isn’t super exciting. It’s definitely not what many people want to hear. But honestly, it’s so pressure- and stress-free. For me, I’m happy with my body the way it is, and on my wedding day, I just want it to feel its best. And for us all, at the end of the day, the last thing that matters on that long awaited and special day? Your wedding diet.

P.S. - I'm definitely not trying to shame anyone who's wedding dieting. No one needs to be shamed! Just trying to take some of that extra pressure off. Who needs that?!

P.P.S! To follow along with our wedding, our wedding hashtag is – no surprise – #veggiesandbrondo.

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