I started 2009 in the most beautiful of ways. I got married. Having just settled into being ok about being a Bridget Jones singleton forever, falling in love and getting married came as a surprise. Planning the day was a great experience except for one small detail.
How was I going to get skinny?
Like most women living in a western world I have not been immune to body image, dieting and weight pressures. As a hopefully worldlier woman in my thirties, I now feel a considerable deal less vulnerable to such pressure, but being a bride sure did test my ‘worldliness.’
Shopping for my dress was an average experience. I was not permitted to have much of an opinion about what suited me. I was steered towards what I can only describe as meringues or frosted cake ensembles that were supposedly meant to ‘disguise’ my bottom and hip area. Hmmmmm.
In one upmarket boutique I was asked if I had plans to lose weight and in another it was ‘do you think you might tone up?’ The pressure was building as the wedding world convinced me that I needed to lose weight to look and feel my best on my big day. Every magazine, chat room or blog I looked at was saturated with dieting tips and articles on how to be a ‘hot and skinny’ bride. It was difficult to resist and I started to linger longer in front of the mirror in the morning, wondering whether I needed to do something about what appeared to be a drastic situation. I was not, and never have been, naturally thin. Did the success of my entire day hinge on this?
While the marketing machine of the wedding world may have been trying to tell me so, the whole thing was of course insidious and nothing more than an attempt to get me to spend more money on things such as ‘Bridal Boot Camp,’ the ‘Skinny Bride Diet’ and various forms of expensive magic knickers that were supposedly going to help me lose kilo’s in an instant. It was all very hard to resist but was superbly helped by finding a dressmaker who actually listened to me and what I wanted.
While I felt incredibly beautiful and happy on my day, it deeply saddens me that Britt Pulton, 29, will never experience her own, after dying from bulimia just months away from her wedding date. Britt had suffered from a long standing eating disorder that was exacerbated by workplace bullying. I can only assume that Britt’s anxiety was also not helped by her impending day and the pressure that society places on women to look nothing less than perfect. I am incredibly sorry for Britt’s loss but wish to thank her and her family for inspiring me to write this blog post.
If you are a bride, a bridesmaid or simply on a journey to a big occasion where you want to look your beautiful best – here are a few tips.
Crash diets are disastrous and dangerous. They will make you hungry, moody, and sap your skin of vital moisture. They can also set you on a fast path to an eating disorder. Please avoid.
Have confidence that no-one knows your body the way you do. If you want a certain look, don’t let anyone persuade you otherwise.
Be wary of bridal magazines. They are expensive and while useful for ideas and inspiration, they can also be a source of insipid marketing designed to make you feel you must look, act and be a certain way to be a ‘real’ bride.
Remember that your fiancée is marrying you not for the way you look, but for who you are – your soul, your heart, yourself. They are lucky to have you.
Do remember that this is just one day of your life. It’s an important one, but don’t place so much pressure on yourself about your weight, appearance and that dress that you become anxious, irritable and upset. You are worth more than that.
The most beautiful brides and indeed people, are the ones that radiate love and confidence. Be yourself and you will be beautiful.
Lastly – this is me with my divine husband Glenn on our special day. I think I scrubbed up more than ok with not a meringue or frosted cake in sight.