The Wedding Body
A client announcing his/her engagement is often delivered as a double edged sword. Namely "I'm engaged, now I need to lose weight". I must stress that this is not a statement uttered by all, but the fact that a link exists between wedding planning and compulsory weight loss is becoming evermore evident.
When I got engaged, after the congratulations came the odd "you're so lucky you don't have to lose weight" comments. I felt a sense of flattery, quickly taken over by a sense of despair. Why? Why does being a bride mean that suddenly you need to lose weight? By all means, put your health and well being first, but this doesn't necessarily equate to weight loss.
During the wedding planning process, when emotions are at an all time high, body image is thrown into the forefront of many minds as the realisation of 'all eyes on me' sits in. This is totally normal, however there is a sinister side to this self imposed pressures.
Far too often, people come to me with a twisted version of "wellness" that they wish to achieve in time for their wedding. I see people who have never had an issue with food or body image before, suddenly propel themselves into an obsessive routine of dieting and vigorous exercise just because they're engaged. People will latch on to the words of self dubbed fitness and nutrition gurus, and follow their instructions as gospel. These, often very restrictive routes to "wellness", result in obsessive relationships with food, tendencies which are linked to disordered eating.
On the other side of the spectrum, we have those who already have experience in the world of eating disorders. For such individuals, a distorted relationship with food, combined with the pressures of obtaining bridal perfection (what ever that is!), can trigger otherwise dormant symptoms of eating disorders and body dysmorphia. I've seen friends go through this, and it's heartbreaking.
From a professional stand point, I find both scenarios very distressing. Whilst it must be said that the latter is an issue of a pre existing, cyclical health condition, I stand by the fact that pressures associated with weddings can contribute to the return of such behavioural tendencies.
To those who are newly engaged - it is absolutely possible to be fit and healthy without putting your body through such damaging paces, both physically and psychologically. What is the point in allowing the pressure of bridal perfection to ruin your health? So you can look amazing on the day? What about the next day? What about the long lasting effects of what you are putting your mind and body through right now?
As someone who lives and breathes fitness, I am trying my very best on whatever platform I am given to shed light on this hugely important subject. With every client, before training has even begun, I make a point of highlighting the importance of treating your body with respect regardless of what you are prepping it for. Wedding dresses, honeymoon attire, it's all irrelevant if you're making yourself sick in your desperate attempts to achieve your dream wedding body.
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