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SBS: A Frank Discussion About Skinny Bride Syndrome

Be healthy, brides! Not hangry! Credit: …love Maegan

Two Sundays ago, I attended my first (and probably only) bridal expo. Yes, it was full of bridezillas…I was prepared for that. What I wasn’t prepared for was the INSANE amount of weight-loss booths there. I was even more shocked at the amount of women crowding around those booths.

I found a booth with a big sign that read “Free chia seeds!” so I skipped happily over, expecting to find a health nut like myself. Instead, the man behind the chia was boasting of the seed’s power to make brides feel full and eat less. No talk of their nutritional value or how they can make you healthy. Hmph (#fail). I couldn’t help but be snarky to the fella. I schooled him and the women crowding around us on the other health benefits of that glorious seed and moved along. (I took some packs, but just because I love the energy boost they give my morning smoothies!)

The bride body bash is nothing new. We’ve all watched a wedding show that featured some gal buying a dress two sizes too small with the promise she would lose the weight before the wedding. I am here to say that I am not and will not be one of those silly women. Come on, engaged ones! Shake that negative craziness out! Yes, it’s perfectly okay and normal to want to feel great and look beautiful on your day, but be careful assigning a size to your definition of beauty.

My fiance (“the trainer” and Fit Bottomed Dude) loves to tell me about the “bootcamp brides” he encounters at work. These are the women who go into beast mode when they get engaged. They’re wearing sweats on the treadmill, desperately trying to lose those extra pounds. They’re taking class after class and boasting of dangerous diets like the tapeworm one. (I swear I’d have to slap someone twice if they ever bragged about swallowing a parasite to get “skinny”!)

I will continue working out and eating healthy, and I’m okay with finding a dress that fits me NOW instead of a promised three-sizes-smaller later. I don’t know how we as women will stop perpetuating such a horrible mindset, but I for one am gonna rock a Fit-Bottomed-Bride mentality this year while planning the big day. So please don’t ask me if I plan to lose weight for my wedding. I’ll look at you crazy.

I can’t be the only one beating my head against the wall. Have you ever encountered this type of bride? Did you fall prey to the pressure? I’d love to hear your sentiments on Skinny Bride Syndrome! —Tish


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  1. Jaykay says:

    Agreed! Weddings should be a happy celebration with loved ones not the culmination of months of torture. Getting healthy is great, and not just for your wedding too. But starving yourself – why? Especially since your man knows and (I presume) loves you for exactly who, what and what shape you are. The most beautiful brides I know were healthy, happy and proud of their curves.

  2. Katy says:

    I care about my health and obviously wouldn’t swallow a tapeworm or anything crazy like that. However, Tish, you’re already thin and in good shape. For those of us who have been struggling to get healthy for years, it is important to get to that point by the wedding. I’m proud that I’ve lost 20 pounds so far, but I would not be proud of my wedding photos when I still have 30 pounds to lose. That’s not something that I would ever want to show my future kids. We need to save up money to get married anyways, and I plan to lose weight before my wedding. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

  3. FBG Tish says:

    Ah Katy, but you misread. Don’t mistake healthy for skinny in my rant. If you’ve been on a plan to get healthier and it’s a plan that goes beyond a wedding day then you’re a rock star…a Fit Bottomed Gal and I think you’re gangsta!

    I’m talking about the woman that subscribe to the skinny bride syndrome and go to extremes to get to that magically allusive size. I’m talking about the women who care about fitting into a dress and then will go back to unhealthy practices once they say the ‘I do’. Like Jaykay said, your dude (or dudette!) fell in love with you for you…not because they knew you’d be able to fit into a size 0 dress on the big day.

  4. Jessica says:

    I definitely tried to shed a few pounds for my wedding, like Katy because I wanted to look good in my pics. I didn’t do any crazy diets but I definitely upped my work-out routine and started tracking what I ate. The wedding date made a good, concrete time-frame for me to work within, and looking good in the pictures was a good motivator. But, I did not buy a too-small dress to force me to become a new size. It’s better to lose weight and take a dress in a few weeks before the wedding than to not fit into the dress at all a few weeks before the wedding. (My mom alters wedding gowns as a side job and has witnessed the disappointment, terror, and financial crisis that happens when someone realizes they bought a dress that is absolutely not going to fit.) So while I agree with Tish that extreme diet and unrealistic size expectations are no mindset for going into a marriage, I also think that letting your wedding be a motivating factor for picking up some healthier habbits is great!

  5. Rae says:

    I am not going to lie, I am totally using my wedding to motivate me to get in better shape. I used to do triathlons and I miss that level of fitness. I am NOT trying to get scary skinny, just back to the healthier weight I was before I started nesting with my sweetheart. I am promising myself no yo-yo diets, and no fast solutions, just healthy exercise and a reasonable diet that I might modify to include less wine. I am also making an effort to target my arms since they get less work out thanks to my swimming aversion so they look amazing in a strapless gown. I find that I work better off of goals and deadlines and I see my wedding like a race, gotta fit for the big day!

  6. Sarah says:

    One of the smartest things I have ever done was to buy a wedding dress AT MY CURRENT SIZE shortly after getting engaged. I know myself, and I knew I’d tend to get obsessive and even resort to swallowing tapeworms to get skinny for my wedding if I didn’t take preventive action.

    Having my gorgeous dress at my current size made me very much aware that I couldn’t gain any weight before the big day but equally nervous to lose because alterations just weren’t in my budget. I focused on toning up while maintaining my healthy-ish weight, and my engagement was really happy because I’d ruled out the possibility of drastic weight loss.

    Do yourselves a favor and do NOT let something as happy as being engaged turn into a scary ED-ridden mess! I have seen it happen and it’s super sad.

  7. Kristen says:

    I had too much to do before my wedding (10 years ago – yikes!) to do anything different with diet or exercise. I think it’s more important to stay sane and have fun! Of course, if getting married motivates you to change some unhealthy habits, that’s all for the better. Just don’t go scary with it! My cousin wrote a really great piece on the topic: http://www.marrythis.com/marrythis/5-reasons-why-you-should-get-married-when-youre-fat/

  8. Kate says:

    Thank you for posting this, its nice to hear someone be positive about getting married after all its supposed to be the happiest time of you life! i have been on Slimming World diet since i got engaged and its all about eating healthly and i have lost some weight which is awsome! but i dont want to be thin… its just so hard in this world of super modles.. i am a size 12 (UK) and i went to get measured for my dress last week… you know what size the designer thinks i am due to my measurements??? a size 20 (uk) thats 4 dress sizes bigger than i actually am! WHAT?!?! i thought to myself i wouldnt let this get me down because clearly the desinger is just a talented idiot… but it hasnt stopped playing on my mind, and no and then i have to stop and read blogs like this so slap me back down to earth… after all every bride says “i want to look like me on my wedding day..” surly this applies to our body as well as make up?

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