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Should We Really Be Shedding For The Wedding?

The Runner Beans asks the question on every bride's mind: what are the real motives for losing weight for the wedding day? Are they healthy?

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Is Losing Weight For A Wedding The Right Thing To Do?

I currently feel very torn with my morals/beliefs and the way I am thinking about something right now…and that’s weight loss for a wedding.

We’re bombarded with messages about dieting, losing weight and slimming down for our wedding day in wedding magazines, blogs and on social media everywhere—and the more you look, the more you see it.

I wrote a piece last year about why I wouldn’t be #sheddingforthewedding. Yet as the day draws nearer I find myself unhappy with the way I look, having hired a personal trainer and making a conscious effort to eat fewer calories. I can square away those things in my mind as wanting to become a stronger runner, remembering that I’m no longer running more than 50 miles a week and therefore don’t need to eat 3,000 cals a day and/or a mid-morning cake.

However, what it actually boils down to is that I want to look amazing in my wedding dress and, most importantly, feel comfortable and confident in a bikini on my honeymoon (also known as the most expensive holiday I’ll possibly ever go on). And right now, although I’m strutting around Sardinia in a bikini, I don’t look the way I want to in it.

The rational part of me knows that I should want to look myself on Sept. 9 and that Tom is marrying me regardless of my size. The rational part of me knows that I have an okay figure however much the neurotic side of me worries about my stomach, love handles, inner thighs and arms and wants to have a bikini bod I’d happily plaster all over Instagram.

Would abs get me more likes or followers? Probably. But would it make me happy? Probably not.

I’ve known brides that obsess over their weight and become incredibly thin; I’ve even known brides whose wedding dress didn’t fit them on the day because they’d lost too much weight. Some of these brides have even put all the weight back on within months of the wedding—none of which is healthy.

I’ve also known brides that wished they looked better in their wedding photographs, who’ve regretted not losing weight or their dress choice because, when they look back on pictures, they feel like they look ‘big’ (I can’t bring myself to use the F word here).

So what do I do?

I pride myself on writing a very honest blog, sharing the ups and downs of running and “healthy living” on Instagram and ultimately being a very normal girl with a normal approach to food. Yet I find myself looking at photos of myself and examining myself in the mirror, thinking, If only I had a flat stomach and no love handles.

I come from a family of ‘hips and tits’ (with 32DD boobs I am the smaller end of the scale!), and so I know that I won’t ever have the model or fitness figure we see all over social media. Despite all this, somehow I find myself sucked into this unhealthy place of aspiring to be like them.

I feel torn between wanting to be body positive, to recognize my strength, my determination and my running achievements to date and the societal pressure to have the perfect figure.

Going back to the piece I wrote about not shedding for the wedding, I take comfort in the words I wrote then that still ring true:

You’re supposed to feel special in your wedding dress, on one of the most special days of your life, not hungry and over-exercised. I love feeling strong, fit and healthy—not just “thin.” Dieting to get to a specific size is not going to make me feel good.

I want to get married looking like me, the best version of me. I don’t want to look back in years to come and find the girl in the white dress unrecognizable. Although don’t get me wrong, I would like people to comment about how awesome my back and arms look in my v-back dress. If anything, I want to add muscle.

And so, that’s what I’m trying to focus on. Not on losing weight, but feeling confident in my body, eating for nourishment and fuel, and training to be my best self, for my future marathons and for life. Not just for Sept. 9.


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