Hello beautiful bride-to-be... so, you are planning your wedding day and probably busy collating exciting ideas, cutting out 'all the things' from wedding magazines, including dresses you love; pretty gowns that you will feel like a total princess in and turn everyone's heads as you glide down the aisle, but you must lose a stone or two first right? WRONG! *Brace yourself for a subject very close to my heart*
Here’s the thing, most brides-to-be go on a total body overhaul before their big day and, believe me I get it, I really do, everyone has tried to lose weight for one occasion or another but what I really want to talk to you lovelies about is this new radical idea… self acceptance (gasp!) with a sprinkle of body positivity thrown in there for good measure. Hear me out here because, believe it or not, I am not shunning the idea of ‘getting in shape’at all (I promise). I spent over ten years of my life working in the fitness industry, specialising in training women who were low in confidence about their bodies (they were all gorgeous by the way!) and, what I saw rather a lot of, were ladies who, having lost a hell of a lot of weight for their wedding day, now felt utterly down in the dumps and short on self confidence having put their weight back on again and more. I heard so many women say ‘…but I looked so slim in my wedding photos…’ and ‘…I binge ate so much on our honeymoon…’. There is an unhealthy pattern of crash dieting and binge eating that occurs if you are not careful, or not informed of a healthy way of doing it.
This is not a post on ‘tips to lose weight for your wedding’, but a post about getting you to consider the self you are now as being okay (double gasp!). Here’s the thing; at 37 years old, I still struggle (daily) with how I feel about my body, but how I feel has come a long way and has taken one hell of a journey, a journey that I would never wish upon anyone else. I stand tall for self acceptance, even on my bad days. I want women (and men too of course) to feel like they are more at ease with their bodies and learn to work with what they have got. Too many images of photoshopped people are in our faces every single day now, so much so that I believe we have forgotten what a real person looks like! This means that, when we look at ourselves in the mirror, we don’t think we are ‘normal’, which is clearly rubbish!
So, what I am asking you to do is to think of your emotional health first which will, in turn, result in all over health benefits. Don’t push yourself through some ridiculously un-maintainable routine only to burn out and lose yourself on the other-side of it all; this will create all sorts of unhealthy habits which will take a damn site longer to undo (trust me here!). I understand you want to look beautiful on your wedding day (you already do!), and I will share some ideas with you in a moment, but remember this: your partner loves you just how you are right at this second. They loved you when you first got together and will love you tomorrow, the next day and next year (and many more) too. My husband is an absolute gem when it comes to dealing with me and my body issues, many of which stem from way back before he knew me. Every single day, without fail, he will say so many lovely things to me and, when I am at my lowest points, he reminds me that he has always loved me and always will, regardless of my ‘fat’ days or days where I don’t want anyone to see my face (we all get those days right?!). Remember that your wedding day is about the love you guys share, it is all about celebrating your relationship together and your future, it isn’t beauty contest. Being happy is the most important thing but, if you really feel that your health could do with a lift then here are some other things to think about:
:: Commit to a healthier version of you, not a drastically transformed one that you don’t recognise and cannot maintain post wedding.
:: Take up a new activity with your other half, not only will it be more fun but, post wedding it will be nice to have something to do together as newlyweds!
:: Just change one or two food habits rather than putting yourself in a place of total restriction; this will only force you to want to binge! Just clean up the diet a little or cut out on some alcohol maybe, you will notice a difference!
:: Get more steps in. Ultimately, the more active you are, the more calories you burn, so get out for a walk. Pre wedding you and your partner could use this time to talk through your plans, post wedding it will just be a lovely thing to do together.
:: Tell each other the things you love about one anothers bodies more often. It is so easy to get lost in what we feel about our own body and it can become all consuming; compliments will sink in when they are from the heart, so focus on the positives over the negatives.
:: Practice a little self care. On days where you are not feeling your best, take time to listen to what your body is telling you; do you need more sleep, do you need to relax in a warm bath and listen to some music, maybe you need to go and workout to release pent up energy or meditate or dance around the lounge for ten minutes to your favourite songs; whatever it is, put some time aside to nourish your soul as well as your body, you simply cannot function when you are not fueled up from the inside out.
:: Accept the way you are now. I am a huge believer in what we ‘put out there’ in the world is what we get back. Negativity breeds negativity, so tell yourself positive affirmations, do kind things for yourself and watch how your attitude shifts.
:: When it comes to your wedding dress keep an open mind; I tried on a lot of dresses before I found 'the one' for me. I had a vision of what would suit me and, when it didn’t, my automatic reaction was that I was too fat and that is why it looked awful, when actually it was more about my body shape! So just take a step out of your comfort zone and, for heavens sake, don’t get hung up on the size of the dress because we all know how unpredictable sizes are generally; if it looks beautiful on, it is right for you, regardless of the size. I have clothes in my wardrobe right now from a size 12 to a size 18 and I do not give a fig!
Finally, remember this: just ‘do’ you, embrace all that you are, curves, lines, dimples, the lot, because no one else is you and that, my beautiful friend, is the best thing ever!