Sunday, October 12, 2014

Brides-To-Be And Their Bodies

Yes, I know this is my food blog, but I feel the need to share my thoughts on my recent struggle with preparing for a wedding and body image.

First of all, I'm engaged! He popped the question in July and I am oh so excited to marry the man of my dreams next June!

My engagement bliss was short lived however. After floating around on cloud nine for a few days, I decided it might be good to look at a checklist and get planning for the wedding. Being a super planner that I am, this was of course the logical next step. I quickly hopped onto The Knot's wedding website and proceeded to check out their super helpful and extensive checklist. 

Though overwhelmed at first, I knew this was something I could handle and proceeded to weed through the check list to see what really was a priority. 

1) Celebrate your engagement... CHECK!
2) Decide on a city and season... (What girl doesn't have their favorite city and season already picked      out?)
3) Make a beauty plan... ermmmmm....?

Having never been good at/interested in "beauty" things, I thought I'd better educate myself on what a beauty plan should look like. After clicking on the hyper-link, I was quickly whisked away to a page filled with models splashing water delicately over their clear faces and size 2 women in their undies being measured by unimpressed seamstresses. 

Ooooooofff. Did I hit the ground hard. I looked down at my body and realized that my acne, poochy tummy, and lack-luster hair weren't going to fly on wedding day. My mind was instantly flooded with  stressful questions and thoughts. Isn't this the day that I'm supposed to look my best? Isn't this the day that I'm going to be photographed over and over and over again? Heck, I better look good on wedding night!

Yeah, I've struggled with body image concerns in the past, but this was at a whole new level. After reading that post and seeing how far from being ready for wedding day I was, I immediately threw myself into a regimented, and intense work out plan. Counting and cutting calories left and right, my body was exhausted, but my mind wouldn't let go of that ideal, that goal!

3 months into this craziness, I've had a reality check. I'm exhausted. I'm cranky. I'm stressed. 

Yeah, I know that that's going to happen at some points in this planning process, but do I really need to be purposefully doing this to myself? I'm forgetting completely the reason why I'm getting married in the first place! And you know what, quite honestly, I don't think I'm going to care how skinny or toned I look on my wedding day. I'm going to be so overwhelmed by emotions of joy and love and excitement, that my pre-wedding work-outs and stress are all going to seem silly and insignificant. Is beating myself up now really going to make me enjoy my wedding day more? 

It sickened me to think of how many other women are dealing with this pressure too. Can't we just encourage one another to be happy and confident in our own skin instead? "If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business." Every day I come across subtle messages from the media telling us that "if we just lost some weight" or "if we just achieved the body of our dreams, all the stress of our wedding would melt away and everything would be blissfully perfect". Well let me tell you, that is a BIG, FAT LIE.

Size and weight, do NOT equal happiness.

I'm going to be marrying the love of my life, and doesn't that matter more than the number on my wedding dress tag? Instead of trying to love the idea of what my body can be, I'm going to start by loving my body with what it is today.

I hope this encourages you to love your special, unique body. Let's push back on the messages that our culture is sending us and instead share some love and self-contentedness. Make the decision to stop picking apart your flaws, and start giving yourself some grace instead.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Leah! It's ironic for me to be reading this because I had exactly the opposite happen to me - I lost TOO much weight (not on purpose!!) and then my dress WOULD NOT FIT. So I was still stressed out, cranky, and not happy.

    I never even thought about a beauty regiment before my wedding, because I was looking forward to every day after the wedding! :) You are going to be a beautiful, radiant bride, and you are going to enjoy married life even more than the wedding day.

    - Cathy