When I got engaged, I thought I’d definitely lose weight for my wedding. More than that, I thought I’d definitely be what I perceived as “thin” for my wedding. Because everyone loses weight for their wedding, right?
Or at least that’s what the darker elements of the wedding industry, society, family and friends – everyone and his dog – that’s what they tell you.
I mean, we got engaged in the wine region in Argentina – on a once-in-a-lifetime trip away together. Gorging ourselves on steak and Malbec, in the middle of 5 months in South America, it seemed obvious to me that when I got home the weight would fall off.
I’m a bride-to-be! It will fall off, because that is what happens!
What I didn’t account for is that life happens.
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Life doesn’t stop because you’re getting married. Stress doesn’t stop because you’re getting married. That pizza because you’ve had a rough day, that large glass (of Malbec) doesn’t stop, because you’re getting married.
But what does happen, is guilt. And lots of it.
Guilt took over my wedding planning journey, and I don’t want that to happen to you – so let me talk you through my story of trying to lose weight for my wedding.
And I’ll stop you here. “She doesn’t look that big!” “I’d kill for her body!” “What’s SHE worrying about? She looks nothing like me.” It’s hard for me to write those things, because I don’t know if you’re thinking them, but I know I did. Every post I saw about weight loss, I thought those things. I was right there with you.
So back to the beginning – the dress. The first dress.
I bought a dress I thought was what a bride looks like. And I bought a dress I THOUGHT would fit me. To be clear, I don’t regret buying that dress because of the experience I had with my bridesmaids and mum, which I will cherish.
But saying that – I hate that damn dress. And I will tell you why.
The dress was a size 22, I was a size 22 – wedding dresses run, inexplicably, two sizes small, but I thought it was a manageable amount of weight to lose.
I embarked on a weight loss “journey”. We call it a journey, it’s more like an assault course. I’m going to call it “hell.”
I had two major operations on my knees in 2018. We had been supposed to be travelling for a year, but as I mentioned – life happens – and operations I had when I was younger meant I developed very severe early onset arthritis and had to have two partial knee replacements which totally prohibited me from any form of exercise.
Fine, I said, I will control my diet.
It’s 80% diet right? That’s what they say.
In my opinion, is it f**k.
But that’s irrelevant. Good god am I not writing this post to give you weight loss advice. I despair when I read the posts about weight worries and there are comments about “the Cambridge diet”, “Keto”, or “Just drink lots of water”. In my opinion, these brides need reassurance, not more reasons to beat themselves up.
Back to my weight loss hell. I, much like I’m sure many of you do, have significant anxiety issues and an acutely stressful life. The weight that I thought was going to “drop off”, didn’t. Although I totally overhauled my diet and drinking habits, in no small part to my now-husband (yay!) cooking me amazing healthy meals; the moments of weakness, the moments of tiredness, stress, exhaustion and just plain to hell with it, didn’t go away.
I must have kept Papa Johns in business. I got home from a hard day, exhausted and deflated, and I had that glass of wine. Okay two glasses. Large ones.
Three months before the wedding, at an absolute low, I started to see my personal trainer. He helped lift me out of my fog of depression.
And I was depressed.
I was supposed to be planning a wedding, yay! I was supposed to be the happiest I’d ever been, yay!
But I wasn’t.
My wedding planning journey was totally overtaken by my obsession with fitting into *that* dress.
I’ve ranged in weight in my life between 9 stone (I was bulimic and looked vile) to 19 stone (I was happy, but felt vile), and weight and weight-loss has been a constant battle-ground for me. I became obsessed with the idea that I must be on the thinner end of that scale for my wedding, and I couldn’t picture myself getting married any other way.
Every. Single. Thing. I Ate. Was. Loaded… Sushi, v good. Pizza, v bad, and repeat.
Then, I decided drastic action had to be taken. I had to get in *the* dress. So I started eating 1000 calories a day and totally cut out alcohol.
I was absolutely miserable.
Then I went to a house-warming of two good friends. A barbeque. Where I was neither eating or drinking, and was extremely bad company.
My friend Harriet, who is *awesome* and I treasure, and for which I will forever be grateful, sat me down.
She said enough was enough. She said I couldn’t live like this. She said I’m marrying the man I love and that is what matters. She said (sorry, we are both sweary people): “f**k that dress, get a new f**king dress”.
By chance, I was sitting waiting for a hospital appointment that week, when I saw a Facebook post on one of the many… many… wedding groups I was a member of. It shared an ASOS dress and said how good the quality was, and that conversation ringing in my mind, I decided to order it. IN MY SIZE.
After making that decision, I was FREE. The last few months running up to the wedding I just felt totally released from the grinding tension of trying to fit into a dress that was determined not to fit me. Whilst still seeing my amazing personal trainer and trying to be healthy for my OWN good, I can confirm I ate more than 1000 calories a day. I enjoyed spending time with my now-husband (yay!). I focussed on the fact that I was getting married to honestly the best man that’s EVER existed.
On the day itself, I felt like an absolute queen. I’ve never felt so happy and beautiful and free as long as I’ve lived. 16 stone me was wildly superior to depressed, bulimic 9 stone me – in retrospect, I have no idea why I would want to be that person.
I sang, I danced, I pretended to be as disco ball (as I am in the photos below), I felt totally at peace with myself, and desperately in love with my now-husband (yay!)
Image by @lexyfoxhope
So, in conclusion, my advice to you is… get a dress that fits you, because life happens. Take that pressure off yourself, because planning a wedding should be a joy. Enjoy the day, park any insecurities you have in the morning (I had ‘em, trust me), because the second you marry your husband you won’t have a care in the WORLD.