Losing Weight for the Wedding

Continued (page 3 of 3)

That is precisely what happened to Jan Johnson, who runs a grant-writing and consulting firm in Houston. For 10 weeks leading up to her wedding, she drank only four shakes a day, totaling 800 calories. By the time her November 2007 ceremony rolled around, she had lost 27 pounds—which she has since gained back. She says her wedding photos constantly remind her of her postnuptial weight gain.

Wedding coordinators are also privy to drastic measures. Robyn Bomar, a planner in Destin, FL, recalls one “perfect” size-6 bride who lost so much weight, she says, “we had to have the seamstress onsite to sew her into her dress.” Another client ordered her couture gown two sizes too small. “She was nervous to eat at the wedding for fear she’d pop a button,” Bomar recalls. “At one point she said to me, ‘I guess I could have just ordered the dress one size too small so I could actually have tasted all the food we paid for.’”

“This whole ‘lose weight before your wedding even if you’re already at a healthy weight’ business has to stop,” says MeMe Roth, a nutrition counselor in Manhattan. “It spurs a lifetime of yo-yo dieting.” While Roth concedes she’s not opposed to overweight women using a wedding as motivation to improve their health, she stresses that “losing weight for the big day never works because it doesn’t stick. It’s a lifestyle change, as in cradle-to-grave behaviors.”

Happily, some average-weight women refuse to get stick-thin for their weddings. After all, they reason, why drive myself crazy to look good for one day? It might take a while to reach that point, though. Before her wedding last June, Heidi Cohen, a marketing strategist in NYC, felt self-conscious about her silk satin dress&mash;“it showed every surface of my body,” she says—despite the fact that she was 5'8" and 139 pounds. But she stopped dieting when she realized it was adding stress to her life. “It was one more thing to deal with,” she says. So she bought body-shaping undergarments and let it go.

Jessica Setnick, R.D., the Dallas-based author of The Eating Disorders Clinical Pocket Guide, says, “Even I was not immune to the idea that I should try to lose weight before my wedding last year. But I did withstand the pressure—by talking with a friend who is also an eating disorders dietitian, to get a reality check.” Another good idea, says Dr. Rosenfeld, if you feel driven to lose unnecessary weight: Remind yourself what your wedding is really about (hint: It’s not on a scale). As Heidi says, “In looking at the wedding photos, what shows is the happiness and joy.”

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