Why the "Wedding Diet" Needs to be Cancelled
12 Aug 2020 •8 min read
Right now, if you Google "wedding diet," you'll be hit with 352 million results expounding the virtues of dieting and outlining success stories from various fad diets, wellness routines, and other weight loss "hacks." It's not unusual that as soon as nearlyweds slip on that engagement ring, they're suddenly inundated by wedding planning stressors, and often chief among them is, "I need to lose weight to be at my best for my wedding."
But have you ever, for a moment, stopped to consider that maybe (just maybe) you deserve to feel beautiful, loved, and downright worshipped on your wedding day without having to change your body, lifestyle, or eating habits in any way?
Well, we certainly think so! And here's why.
Diet Culture in the Wedding Industry
Have you ever heard of the phrase, "diet culture"? Maybe not. But you've definitely experienced it. Diet culture is basically exactly what it sounds like; it's the societal leaning towards valuing all things diets: thinness, healthism, restrictive eating, calorie counting, fatphobia, body image, etc. Or, to put it in perspective...
Have you ever counted your calories in the morning knowing you were going out that night? That's diet culture.
Have you ever restricted your eating habits with the goal of losing weight? That's diet culture.
Have you ever felt guilty for eating something "unhealthy" like pizza, ice cream, or french fries? That's diet culture.
Have you ever felt ashamed of your size — whatever that size may be? That's diet culture's most powerful tool at work.
And the list goes on and on.
You probably don't even recognize diet culture in your everyday life for what it is, because it's been so deeply ingrained in all of our lives that these feelings or activities all feel incredibly ubiquitous. It's almost difficult to imagine what life looks and feels like without all of these additional pressures placed upon us — or that we unintentionally place upon ourselves.
But, trust us, you'll feel a lot more light without the weight of diet culture on your shoulders than you would losing any amount of body weight.
But back to weddings...
As discussed, diet culture pops up in our society in a massive number of ways but it is particularly prevalent in the wedding industry. From wedding day weight loss tips to the sidelong glance a nearlywed might receive as they reach for their second cupcake, diet culture in the wedding industry is everywhere.
The common underlying message of diet culture in the wedding industry is that in order to be the "perfect" bride, groom, or nearlywed you have to be smaller. Because, really, the difference between a terrible wedding day and an amazing wedding day is definitely going to be those extra two pounds you gained testing wedding cake flavors. (Note the sarcasm.)
Besides, you're better off saving all the time, money, and energy you would've spent on dieting for actually planning your wedding!
You Have Enough on Your Wedding Planning Plate Already!
For real though — our goal at Loverly is to make wedding planning fun, easy, and stress-free for brides and nearlyweds alike, so we know how much effort goes into planning a wedding down to every last detail. So why add more stress to an already taxing process?
Dieting, especially within a set time frame, is an immensely all-consuming task between meal prepping, calorie counting, and accompanying workouts. Maybe you have some cheats or "hacks" to make this a little easier on yourself logistically, but no matter what there's always the additional pressure of whether or not you'll "achieve" your diet goals.
This pressure is in itself a heavy burden to bear, especially on top of the additional strain of planning a wedding and all the accompanying events that go along with one!
There's nothing wrong with being physically active and feeding your body nourishing nutrient-rich foods. And there's also nothing wrong with eating sugary, fatty, or any other typically "unhealthy" foods when you want to either. Chances are, you're probably doing a decent mix right now, so why not just stick with what you're doing?
Resisting the urge to diet is hard, but in the long run, it's easier on your to-do list and a lot better for your mind and body than dieting.
The Physical and Psychological Health Effects of Wedding Diets
What do you think of when you thinking of diets? Do you think of delicious fresh salads and yummy fruit bowls or do you think of how depressed you're going to be not eating pasta for the next four months?
For many people, dieting brings up or stems from a lot of negative emotions and can be extremely triggering for people in recovery for eating disorders or disordered eating practices. (So please keep your weight-loss comments to yourselves, thanks!) This can often have a massively negative impact on one's psychological wellbeing including self-esteem, body image, and general mental health issues often leading to higher rates of depression and anxiety in people who are dissatisfied with their physical appearance.
In addition to the psychological impact of dieting, many bride-prescribed diets often recommend eating habits such as significant calorie deficits and a focus on the nutrient restriction, both of which are actually incredibly unhealthy — whether or not you lose any weight. Furthermore, losing weight or being thin is not always a sign of health.
For example, the Keto diet has been lauded as an easy-to-follow method for losing weight. Especially for people looking to lose weight quickly, such as people who are planning a wedding in the near future!
However, because of its extreme restrictions, such as increasing intake of "healthy" fats and proteins whilst restricting almost every other nutrient, particularly carbohydrates, the keto diet can actually be quite damaging for your body.
Additionally, much of the initial weight lost on the keto diet is actually just water weight. As your body adjusts to its new extreme, that initial "whoosh" of weight loss is actually more like a quick trick than any sustainable change. Additionally, such significant restrictions can result in "nutrient deficiencies and an increased risk of heart disease." Nutrient deficiency is just not a cute wedding look!
Suffice to say, being thin is not indicative of being healthy; being fat is not indicative of being unhealthy. Dieting isn't going to change either of those facts, so maybe it's worth taking that added pressure off of yourself for now. You've got a wedding to plan!
"But What if I Look Big on the Big Day?"
Let's unpack this question because chances are you're probably asking this right about now. Maybe you're not as concerned about the literal number on the scale as you are of "looking fat" or big on the happiest day of your life.
But have you ever stopped to think, what's so wrong with looking big anyway? And what does "looking big" mean to you anyway?
All bodies are different — some bigger, some smaller, some shorter, some taller. And we all have different "standards" for ourselves based on how we've been raised, the culture we grew up in, and the individual genetic factors that contribute to our sizes. Personally, for my entire life, I've always been "big." Big in a way that most people would consider me fat, plus-sized, larger-bodied, curvey, thick, or basically any other word that generally just translates back to big. (And that hasn't significantly changed no matter what diet I've been on.) To put some numbers behind that, I wear a size 20 and I stand 5 inches taller than the average American woman at 5'9.
In other words, what's big for most people is actually just normal for me. So whether you're afraid of back rolls or desperate to avoid the double chin, now might be a good time to step back and think about the why behind those urges. You may find that it's never really been about what "big" or "normal" is to you; it's about what society has conditioned us to believe we should be.
No one gets to tell you what normal for your body is — especially not on your wedding day!
You're Perfect Just the Way You Are
Yes, we know this sounds cheesy, but...
You don't need to diet to enjoy your wedding. You don't need to diet to be worthy of love. You don't need to diet to fit into a certain sized gown or outfit. You just don't need to diet.
Your wedding is about you and your partner, period. It's not about what you ate for the past three months, how many pounds you lost or gained, or if the photographer happens to catch some love handle action in a candid photo. (Hello, love handles are cute! Just throwing that out there.)
You wouldn't ask your partner to change their body for you, so why are you asking that of yourself?
In fact, why are we allowing diet culture to make us feel anything less than the stunning humans we are? You are deserving of love, partnership, and celebration exactly as you are. And that's not up for debate.
P.S. Just one last reminder, that you are perfect!