I grabbed a steamy bowl of immune-boosting mushrooms, leafy greens and butternut squash noodles a.k.a. all of the good stuff—none of the guilt. I stirred it a bit and walked out of my work’s kitchen when I heard, “is that part of your wedding diet?” I thought, hm, I’m not on a diet but should I answer yes? Or should I be on diet? Or should I at least stop ordering from my favorite local Italian place every Friday, aptly names Buon Appetito?
Fuck…I’m not on a wedding diet.
After getting engaged last August, I stepped into this wedding world quickly—where everything has become more extreme and more expensive than ever (I never thought I’d care so much about linens made in the Ukraine as I do now) and the thing that has been most extreme is the expectation of a wedding diet. It’s so normal, that we don’t even consider how the person who “should be doing” the dieting feels about it. The message is loud and clear—lose weight, and do it now. You haven’t got a lot of time left, miss. Six months sure does fly by.
The message boards are even louder and clearer. Here’s one user’s response to a bride that was panicking over the last 10 pounds she thought she should lose before her Maui wedding:
1. Only Water
2. Lots of FRESH ( not necessarily cooked) veggies
3. Some Fruit, but limit how many
4. Absolutely NO SUGAR or sugar substitutes
5. Lean Meats and Proteins
6. Walk EVERYWHERE
My first reaction: Why are fruit, meats and proteins capitalized? Also, don’t tell me where to or when to fucking walk.
Then, I stumbled across a New York Times piece, Bridal Hunger Games, which follows Jessica Schnaider, 41, who spent eight days on a feeding tube—a process that costs $1,500, so she would fit into her wedding gown. A doctor administered a tube that goes through the nose and down the esophagus into the stomach that would provide a 800 calorie diet sans carbs.
Psychology Today estimates that 33% of women are advised by someone important in their lives (e.g., parents, friends, even fiancés) to lose weight before walking down the aisle. I assume this is why someone would go through something as extreme as Jessica.
The truth is, it does get to your head. You want to do what others are doing, or more. You want to feel your best. You want to look your best. And being someone that has a healthy attitude when it comes to weight—I felt a sort of sadness for anyone who has doesn’t. And I felt a sadness for me, for the moments where those voices creep into my head.
I’m finding that talking and writing about this experience is the best way to deal with it. Sometimes, answering “no, I’m not on a wedding diet. Are you?” confuses the person asking and provides a bit of laughter. I’ve also been repeating to myself “it’s about us, it’s about us, it’s about us” to myself, to make sure I’m acknowledging, through all the details, dresses and the perfect wedding shoe google searches—that it’s about me and him that matters most.