Forgive me if I lapse into irrationality here (wait, I'm a bride - that's expected of me) or if I swear (which my aunt has said doesn't upset her) ... but what. the. hell. is up with all the Dieting Brides out there? Did I miss the memo that said I won't be eligible for a marriage license until I drop a dress size? Was there an episode of Oprah where "Everybody Gets A Complex!" Or is something far more sinister going on?
First, some context: I stay away from most cultural references to "what I'm supposed to weigh" on purpose. I skip Celebrity Diet Plan articles because those are written by publicists who don't give a damn what anyone actually eats, as long as their client's face gets magazine space. I change the radio station when some deep-voiced Announcer Guy asks me, "Ladies, have you ever said 'I feel fat today?'" because that garbage drives me berserk. I've never been on the Atkins/Grapefruit/Stand On Your Head diet, and I firmly believe that the Master Cleanse is a dangerous crash diet wrapped in a more-organic-than-thou disguise. Why? Because I was anorexic for 17 years.
It still feels a little strange talking about this, but for all those years everything I felt about my body was tangled up with feelings that I was the only freaking person who felt that way, which made me extra-ashamed. So now I talk about it.
The thing that's pissing me off today is how many brides out there, whose blogs I truly enjoy, occasionally go on at length about their goal to be a dress size "x" by their wedding day. I mean, seriously -- what causes this? Why are spunky, feisty, unconventional, creative-as-hell women sucked into the "it has to look like a magazine" vortex over this one particular issue? It makes me want to scream, "You're marrying your same-sex partner at a Day Of The Dead-themed hoe-down, officiated by your very best Wiccan friend ... and you're not eating bread after 6pm for the last month before the big day?!?" This is insanity, ladies.
Don't get me wrong -- I'm all about making a decision to be healthier in your general life. Cutting out fast food and making exercise more of a priority are wonderful things ... IF YOU'RE GOING TO CONTINUE THOSE PRACTICES AFTER THE BIG PARTY. Go for it, make a lifestyle change with my-blessing-that-I-know-you-never-asked-for. But if, after the pictures are taken, you're going to be like a female body-builder & grab a half-eaten donut from a very-surprised stagehand (which happens, by the way) ... then please ask yourself WHY you're doing this. Your fiance loved you enough to ask you to marry him, without an asterisk about a size-6 dress being involved ... and we know how visually-stimulated guys are. So tell me: what's your real motivation?
Women have so many mixed-up feelings about their relationship with food. I can remember being in a restaurant with my family when I was about 6, and after watching everyone order saying to my dad, "I'm glad I'm a kid because I can still have a burger, and grown-up women can only have salads." The messages start when we're young, and we don't even know that's what they are. But if you're trying to change your body just so you'll look "perfect" in the wedding pics, then don't. Because there isn't any such thing. I've seen girls who grace magazine covers in bikinis turn down a glass of water at a photo shoot, to avoid "bloating." I've watched friends starve themselves for 3 days before a big job, in order to look "great." I used to do all of that crap, and worse, myself.
I don't claim for a second that any of this is easy. It's not. It took a lot of years, and a lot of really hard lessons, for me to drag myself out of the rabbit hole. But I do say that your lovely location, your gorgeous dress, and the gaze of the person you love will do much more to make your pictures look amazing than one dress size smaller ever could.
Besides ... doesn't being hungry make you grouchy? I can't imagine trying to plan my damned shindig on a fuse that's even one micron shorter than it already is. (Think about it: how crabby do you get when you don't get lunch until 4pm? Multiply that times 17 years, and you'll know how amazed I am that anybody, from my mother to my oldest friend to my fiance, still talks to me.)