Oh the joys of wedding season…
If you have paid any attention at all to FB, you will see numerous engagement announcements and wedding countdowns on the daily.
On the outside looking in, every couple seems so happy & care-free. Nothing to worry about. No flaws. 24/7 happiness for all of the world to see. Madly in love. Elaborate proposals. Generous acts of service. Elaborate birthday and valentine’s day gifts. Flowers “just because”.
We claim to be fully known and unconditionally loved. We celebrate the ability to truly be ourselves around the love of our life. We feel secure, protected, and safe with our husband-to-be. We take comfort in the fact that we are loved despite our flaws and weaknesses….or so we say.
My fiancé proposed to me when I was in the beginning stages of recovering from anorexia. My body, mind soul, and spirit have gone through some pretty significant changes in the recovery process, & it has greatly impacted our relationship.
The aspect of recovery that I want to focus on tonight is weight restoration. It was verified by my registered dietician and adolescent medicine doctor that I needed to restore some weight in order to regulate my heart rate, menstrual cycle, my metabolism, concentration, and ability to function in my daily life.
It wasn’t an option not to gain weight. My options were to nourish my body and restore my weight or to eventually have to check into an inpatient facility. I wanted to stay with my fiancé and family, so I followed the meal plan and did what I needed to do to nourish my body.
When my body reached the range it wanted to be in, my weight stabilized out. We all have a weight range in which our bodies function optimally. This is called your body’s set point. Our weight constantly shifts up and down due to environmental, diet, exercise, and hormonal factors. It’s expected to have weight fluctuations. I think the hardest part for me was to accept that my set point range wasn’t what I wanted to be. It was too high. I wanted to be at the lowest possible weight without having an eating disorder. It wasn’t until later in recovery that I realized that the goal I set was dictated by my eating disorder, not my true, healthy self.
With weight restoration, there comes anxiety.
“What if Josh doesn’t love me as much when I gain some weight?”
“What if he thinks I look ugly?”
“What if he changes his mind?”
“What if my wedding dress doesn’t fit?”
Ahh. The Wedding Dress. It seems to be a pretty popular trend to go on last minute crash diet in hopes of looking fabulous on the big day. After all, you only get married once. This logic doesn’t make sense to me. If we are so confident in our relationship with our soon-to-be spouses on social media, why, then, do we feel the pressure to go on a diet before the wedding?
We so frantically try to improve ourselves before the day of our wedding because we are believing the lie that we aren’t worthy of love as we currently are. We convince ourselves that we must try harder, look better, and keep up our image in order to be accepted by other people. We believe the lie that we must make much of ourselves in order be loved. We have to earn it.
“You better watch what you eat or you won’t fit into your dress.”
“Your wedding day is the BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE. You have to make sure you look the part.”
“You better push yourself to be in the best shape for your wedding!!”
“Ooh I see you working hard at the gym this week! Are you trying to lose weight for your wedding?”
I am not trying to lose weight for my wedding day, despite the numerous voices that encourage me to engage in the behaviors that I worked so hard to reverse in recovery.
I won’t got on a diet because dieting doesn’t work. It leads to disordered eating or weight gain in the long run. Dieting in itself is disordered eating. It tells you that you can’t trust your body, and that you need to deprive it of what it needs in order to have worth.
I won’t count calories.
I won’t skip dessert.
I won’t restrict food.
I won’t run back to the behaviors that held me captive for so long.
I won’t manipulate my body in order to attain love from God, my fiancé, and my friends and family.
I am confident that my worth as a person isn’t tied to my weight, & my wedding day doesn’t change that.
I am very fortunate to have a fiancé who constantly reassures me that he loves me for exactly who I am and what I look like. Despite my flaws, he doesn’t see any changes that need to be made. He loves me for me. He enjoys going out to eat with me and not having to worry about me counting the calories. He likes being able to enjoy life with me apart from my eating disorder. He likes working out with me when I have energy and strength, not when I am too hungry to make it through the warm-up. He likes my curly hair. He tells me I look beautiful. He has never once made a comment about gaining weight or dieting, and he doesn’t think I need to lose weight for our wedding.
Instead of focusing on my “pre-wedding diet” I am going to focus on what really matters:
- Praying for my future husband-to-be
- Practicing self-care and resting before the big day
- Preparing myself to be the wife I would want my son to have
- Nourishing my body with food that makes me feel good and gives me energy
- Enjoying time with friends and family
- Celebrating the gift of marriage and the work that God has done in our relationship
If you’re currently engaged/getting married soon, I want to encourage you to ditch the pre-wedding diet, & instead focus on taking care of yourself & enjoying this season. Unconditional love doesn’t demand that you lose weight or be a certain size; it doesn’t condemn you for eating dessert; & it certainly doesn’t depend on how much you weigh or what shape your body is on your wedding day.