It’s June, the biggest month of the year for weddings. It’s that magical time for love, commitment, celebration, and, yes, crash diets and other risky measures in order to fit into that perfect wedding dress. The normalization of this extreme culture of #sheddingforthewedding has become alarming, with brides as well as grooms seeking to become as thin and lean as possible for their trips down the aisle. Not only does “shedding for the wedding” miss the point of marriage entirely, it can be downright perilous.
Your wedding may be the biggest day of your life, so wanting to look your best is understandable. But the self-punishing challenges and dire actions some brides go to reach their goals don’t make sense. Studies have shown that 70% of women crash diet in order to fit into their wedding dress. A crash diets is defined as losing the most weight in the shortest amount of time as the ultimate goal. Be it juice cleanses, diet pills, and intermittent fasting to binge workouts, brides-to-be often go to unwise lengths in an effort to look picture-perfect for their big day.
The severe weight loss techniques that often accompany wedding preparations can easily morph into a full-blown eating disorder. Studies have shown that dieting is a trigger for the development of eating disorders and popular weight loss trends associated with dieting force individuals to be consumed with calorie counting, weight loss, exercise, and food restriction. The National Eating Disorders Association reports that 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting and that 20-25% of those individuals develop eating disorders. Still, in the fashion and magazine world, dieting to fit into your wedding dress is not only acceptable, it’s encouraged.
Balance, moderation, and comfort are where it’s at. Don’t let obsessions about how you look dictate your precious day. Instead, focus on how you’re feeling and how important this day is to you. Otherwise, your matrimonial experience may be ruined and you’ll miss out on what really matters if you’re consumed with worry about how many calories are in the champagne or how much cake you’ll have to eat. Instead of seeing your wedding as a reminder to commit to a breakneck regimen of cleanses and lengthy workouts, view it as an opportunity to begin a beautiful life for you and your partner to live together. Focus on finding the wedding dress that feels great and makes you feel like a million bucks. We all come in different sizes, shapes, and with different genetics, and all of them are beautiful. Straining to resemble one ideal is dangerous and unrealistic. This wedding season, why not say “I do” to shredding the magazines instead?
Are you concerned that you or a loved one may have an eating disorder? We’re here to help. Please reach out to us anytime.
By Andrew Walen, LCSW-C, LICSW, CEDS, Founder, Executive Director at The Body Image Therapy Center. For help call 877-674-2843 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.