Weight vs. Wedding

Note: This post is entirely about my thoughts and opinions. You are welcome to disagree! Please do so in a respectful manner, however. Weight is a touchy subject!

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about wanting to lose weight for their wedding. I think this is great if it helps improve their self-esteem and general pride in themselves. That being said, I don’t think losing weight for a wedding is sustainable.

I don’t know why you’d want to weigh yourself in a wedding dress”¦those suckers are HEAVY! / Image via Brides.com

If you lose weight and use your wedding as a marker for a milestone of healthy changes: awesome. If you use it as your be-all-end-all, that makes me less happy.

Weight loss entails change. For some this is a diet change or an exercise change or both. But if your goal is weight loss and weight loss only and you stop trying once you pass your marker, chances are you’ll revert to old habits.

I have been asked if I’m trying to lose weight for the wedding. My answer is no. Sparky and I started our lifestyle change back in 2008, long before an engagement or marriage were even on the radar. (His, anyway).

The basic story is this: in January of 2008 I was unhappy with my body and the way that I looked. I wasn’t confident and I just generally felt gross. I had always been thin, but after graduating and starting to date Sparky I began to gain weight. Before I knew it I had reached my highest weight *ever.* Sparky, on the other hand, had been heavy for most of his life. He had been trying without much success to get healthy with a personal trainer but had not lost much weight. Mostly he ate out at restaurants—a big reason why I also gained so much weight. That January I convinced him to see a doctor for a check-up, and the doctor told him that he was obese and that he had all the markers for diabetes. It was time for a change, for both of us.

I started paying attention to calories and planning our meals to be cooked at home. We made thoughtful choices. We still ate out and enjoyed our food, but we changed from mostly eating out to mostly eating at home.

Image via Weight Loss Tips for Brides

Since those changes I have lost 36 pounds and Sparky has lost 64. I’m within three pounds of my goal weight, where I will switch to a maintenance mindset. Sparky wants to keep losing until he no longer has a gut. Then we’ll maintain our healthy lifestyle.

I fully support losing weight for a wedding as long as the changes will be sustained. Being healthy and happy with yourself is most important.

I can honestly say that I am.


December 31, 2007 – January 14th, 2012 (our engagement date). I’ve lost almost 10 more pounds since the picture on the right was taken!

Have you struggled with weight and being comfortable in your own skin? What kind of changes did you make to help you be more comfortable with yourself?


Mrs. Campfire

Seattle, WA
Wedding Date:
September 2013
Gallery of the Day
The Final Countdown

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  1. msjackrabbit Member
    msjackrabbit 1080 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:14 am

    Hmmmmm – I do agree that after losing a lot of weight, you must make an effort to stay on track. It’s a shame that so many people lose weight for the wedding, go on their honeymoon, eat a lot, put weight back on, and go back to their old ways.

    I wouldn’t say I’m not happy with my weight day-to-day, but I do know that I want to look the best I possibly can do in my photos, and that includes keeping my tummy as flat as possible. I will no doubt eat vegan the week before my wedding to get rid of the bloat and help my feel ‘as light as air’ on the inside.

    I have really strong opinions about weight and what is considered ‘healthy’ and I don’t think it should be a subject that is as taboo as it is. Unfortunately, weight is linked to self esteem, and thus criticising it in any shape or form is easily misinterpreted as critiquing the person and it’s easy to get defensive.

    I think you’ve definitely got the right attitude. You’re not losing weight for your wedding – you’re losing weight for yourself. And your ‘after’ pic looks amazing!! Congrats! :)

  2. campfire Member
    campfire 1045 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:20 am

    @Miss Jackrabbit: It is such a sensitive subject because it is tied so tightly with societal impressions and self-esteem! That’s why I wanted to specify that being healthy and happy is the most important thing because a number on a scale says less than so many other things.

    I also think “best as you possibly can” is a great attitude. My worry comes from people who struggle and starve themselves and look back on their wedding photos with sadness because they aren’t that weight anymore.

    It’s so hard! But I wish for EVERYONE to be happy with themselves and healthy by whatever measure they use.

  3. campfire Member
    campfire 1045 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:20 am

    @Miss Jackrabbit: And thank you! :)

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    jsd, Guest @ 7:20 am

    As someone who was thin her whole life, until recently, this has been very hard for me. To be clear, I am not overweight, just unhappy with where some of the weight I gained has landed. I have always had a crazy metabolism and been able to eat anything I want. But a change in birth control, a sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits are to blame for my love handles. I used the wedding as a motivator to kick start a lifestyle change and so did my husband. I have found it harder to maintain some of the things we did for the wedding since, with less of a specific goal in mind or something to work towards. I agree with much of your post and wish more emphasis was placed on what you should eat vs. what you shouldn’t, in weight loss.

  5. campfire Member
    campfire 1045 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:23 am

    @jsd: I am all about eating what I want to eat within moderation. Denial diets get nowhere (maybe even “diets” in general?). Having a set goal is always helpful, no matter what you’re doing (weight loss, writing a paper, grocery shopping, etc.) so it makes sense that the maintenance becomes harder. But I love what you said: “to kick start a lifestyle change.” That’s what I’ve been working toward, too, a lifestyle change.

  6. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:36 am

    That’s so great! It’s a great mentality to have regarding everything with wedding planning – keep in mind your life post-wedding, because the wedding is one day, and your health/marriage/happiness is forever.

    I also changed my fiance’s lifestyle for the healthier… just recently I was talking about how we used to drink a ton of soda – for me, diet soda, and for him, regular – and now we rarely even have soda in the house because we mostly only drink water. When my fiance and I first started dating, he never drank water, even when he was playing softball or going to the gym, he would drink Gatorade. I’m so proud that we’ve been making healthier choices, and I think it’s great to set the tone during the engagement (and let’s face it, just during the dating time as well) for the rest of our lives!

    I’ve never been big on losing weight for the wedding unless you’d be happier losing weight for your life, and the wedding just happens to be part of your life (obviously)! The fact that there is so much pressure on brides to lose weight for the wedding is depressing. Bridal boot camps, and all of those other bridal fit things, can be great if it means that you are doing it for life, not just for the wedding only to boomerang after the wedding.

    Totally with you, Miss Campfire. Great post :)

  7. Member
    whitums 1349 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:43 am

    I agree with you completely! I started working on getting healthier in college when I was tipping the scales at 190 at 5’1!! I’ve since lost 65 pounds, and going strong. When I got engaged I did decide that I wanted to lose the extra 10 pounds that have kept me from hitting my ultimate goal weight, but my deadline of the wedding is meant to keep pushing me not to slack off, and not meant to be the “okay it’s over I get to be fat again” deadline. Not only does it not help overall health to make your weight plummet, just to put it back on, but I imagine it has to be weird to basically see all these pictures of a smaller version of yourself, when you never look that that any other time in your life. I don’t want people to notice that I’m smaller than I normally am at the wedding, I want them to think I just look like my usual self but even better.

  8. Member
    anemonie 1578 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:51 am

    I actually had no motivation to be healthier for the wedding specifically, mainly because there was already so much going on in my life to worry about. In fact, I think I adopted UNhealthier habits when wedding planning!
    Money and time were tight, so we often took the easy, cheap route with our diet. It really bugs me that I feel to eat healthy, we often need to spend more money for fresh fruits and veggies, lean protein, and foods that aren’t overly processed. We ate a lot of white pasta in heavy sauces and “light” food that is actually overly processed and full of salt and sugar.
    Now that the wedding is over, we are trying to get back on track and incorporate more healthy foods into our cooking, as well as trying to find more time to exercise. I’m trying to talk DH into a hike with a dogs this evening. Good luck with your own healthy journey, and congrats for what you’ve achieved so far!

  9. Member
    maricontrary 2248 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:52 am

    We’ve shifted to a healthier lifestyle change as opposed to a “diet”. My fiance is 31 and has high cholesterol and while he’s not quite pre-diabetic, his fasting BG is trending higher, which concerns me. So I’ve taken over most of the cooking, I always plate meals – I truly believe that family style is just setting up for overeating, and I’ve made easy switches that he hasn’t noticed. Cheese made with 2% instead of whole, olive oil instead of butter, stacking his plate with extra veggies, etc. And I make sure he gets oatmeal at least once a week. He’s lost 30lbs and I know he feels better. And this is something we can easily maintain for a lifetime.

  10. Member
    MrsM914 859 posts, Busy bee @ 8:37 am

    Way to go @Miss Campfire: ! Lifestyle changes are quite the journey but so worth it in the end!
    My FI and I switched to a clean, whole foods lifestyle last spring and have seen great results! I have lost around 15 pounds and fit back in my skinny jeans again! Not to mention, I experienced a dramatic decrease in my asthma and reflux symptoms, as well as clearer skin and healthier nails.
    Since we got engaged in December, I have been trying to figure out what I can do to get that last 10 pounds off. I started a Paleo/Primal lifestyle this week and have already seen improvements in my energy levels and bloating! Not sure if I will maintain Paleo after the wedding or not but the clean lifestyle is certainly not going anywhere. I am excited to see what the next 4 months feels like while I remain free of so many inflammatory foods!
    Keep up the good work!

  11. Member
    angelalsmith3 394 posts, Helper bee @ 9:13 am

    Great post! I think it always great when health and clean eating are the focus, not necessarily the weight. Fade diets only result in yo-yo weight loss and gain, but changing your lifestyle can result in permanent outcomes. I have 2 kids and am engaged to be married in Dec. (my second wedding). I switched our family to a clean eating lifestyle when my daughters were entering school. The teachers said they were having trouble focusing and thought they had ADHD. We switched to natural, healthy foods and all the behavior problems went away. I think it is great that you are making changes now, so when or if you have children, they grow up with a healthy relationship with food. All the best to you!!!

  12. Member
    In the media 1565 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:24 am

    I’ve started exercising 3-4 times a week and I’ve managed to drop 10 pounds. I don’t much see a difference, but all of my pants are too big now, when just maybe a month ago they were tight/fit. (I’ve only lost 5 in the last month maybe, not 10.) I know that I need to eat better and I will continue to lose weight/tone up. I just need to actually start doing that. I’ve been going out on dates and that usually involve eating out, so I need to be even more vigilant in my exercise regimin.

    And I agree that it should be maintained, rather than dropped and put back on. That’s not a healthy midset or a healthy way to get skinny. You look awesome, btw. Keep up the good work!

  13. Member
    priyathescientist 1514 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:55 am

    I totally feel you, @Miss Campfire: ! I was about 40 lbs. heavier in high school. I have fond memories of stopping at the grocery store on the way home from school and then coming home, watching Friends re-runs while I ate the ENTIRE cake … and then I ate dinner. Not exactly the beacon of health. But, once I got to college (and now grad school) I had to take care of myself. My broke ass cannot afford to eat that much food. So, I eat veggies and have learned to use spices — all cheap investments. I also agree that eating out contributes to A LOT of the weight gain. Cooking at home is cheaper AND healthier (most of the time)! Plus, as a student, my gym membership is only $20/month. So, when I can cram in a swim sesh, I try. The mister and I have also signed up to do a bike race thing in September. So, I’m soon going to try to start biking 3 days a week.

    Anyway, long story short, I agree with you about pretty much everything. And, I think you look fantastic!

  14. panda Member
    Mrs. Panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:25 am

    I am one of those people who lost weight for the wedding. well.. rather, I’ve been trying to lose weight for years, but the looming deadline of having to fit into a slightly small wedding dress was the motivation to finally get off of my butt and do it. And you know what, it was awesome. I love how I feel now. I’m not sure I could ever go back to the way I used to be. I think for some people, we need that little motivation bump and I don’t think that that’s wrong–especially if done in a healthy way!

    congrats on the weight loss! You look amazing!

  15. Member
    brooklyn55 743 posts, Busy bee @ 10:27 am

    I agree and disagree.. First, this is my field of work right here. I have a master’s in health education and work with obese children on nutrition/fitness counseling. I agree that many people who go on “diets” for whatever reason (whether that be wedding, vacation, etc) most likely will end up going back to old habits and regaining the weight. Weight loss that is sustainable is like you mention, a lifestyle change. However, that being said, even knowing this before my own wedding I started “dieting”. Now, I have always been fairly thin (110-120 pounds on a 5’5” frame) but like you in college I started gaining weight but even at my heaviest (140) most people would roll there eyes when I talked about my self-esteem issues because I still looked pretty thin. I also made a few minor lifestyle changes (my big problem was eating fast food/cafeteria food in college so I cut it out, for the most part) and by the time our engagement and wedding planning rolled around I was about 125. I was somewhat happy but wanted to look my best for our wedding which is my opinion is like 115 so I started dieting. Now, the way I went about dieting as someone who WORKS in this field, I knew it wasn’t the right way to do it and I knew I would (and have) gained the 10 pounds back since the wedding but this girl wanted to look her best on the wedding day… and I did.

  16. campfire Member
    campfire 1045 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:38 am

    @Blonde17Jess: You hit the nail right on the head – it’s an outlook on life rather than a focus on one specific day!
    @whitums: @Miss Panda: Using the wedding as motivation is awesome, but it’s the lifestyle change that matters. :) Glad to hear it’s working for you!
    @anemonie: Glad you’re getting back on track! Weddings are totally stressful and the important thing is that you were happy!
    @MariContrary: @devinthebrave: Lifestyle change vs. diet is totally what I’m going for!
    @angelalsmith3: It’s amazing to hear that the behavior problems have gone away! I wonder how much difference that would make in all our schools!
    @In the media: Good work, yourself!
    @priyathescientist: The “college diet” (aka: having no money) was part of why I was much thinner in college. :) Glad to hear you’re doing what you can now!
    @Brooklyn55: Thank you for your insight! It sounds like you have awareness of what works/doesn’t work for you.

  17. mstoadstool Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 3:06 pm

    I started watching what I eat and exercising a bit to tone up my arms, I did lost a lot of weight but it was due to stress, and change in my routine due to work. My problem was that once I got married, I moved in with my new husband and my life changed completely and it was hard to maintain the healthy lifestyle. We better get back on track!

  18. msmongoose Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 3:09 pm

    @Miss Panda: Same here! I didn’t have a ton to lose, but now that I have and have adopted a healthier lifestyle, I can’t imagine just dropping it after the wedding (at least I hope I don’t).

    And Miss Campfire I’m happy that you guys found something that works for you–you look GREAT!

  19. campfire Member
    campfire 1045 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:27 pm

    @Mrs. Toadstool: Oh yeah, I should probably due some arm work… And it’s never too late to get back on track! :)
    @Miss Mongoose: Thank you!

  20. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 7:27 am

    This is a great post, I’m happy that your and Sparky have found something that will work for both of you for a lifetime!

  21. Member
    Great Gatsby 136 posts, Blushing bee @ 11:59 am

    This post made me so happy to read! Congratualtions Miss Campfire for losing weight the healthy way!!!! I was heavy in high school, lost 75 pounds my senior year, then gained 45 back after I started dating my fiance. Like you and Sparky, we ate out… A LOT!
    What spurred me to start losing the weight wasn’t the wedding (we had already been engaged for 9 months when I started losing). It was that feeling that I wasn’t “myself” anymore. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin, and the clothes I used to love wearing didn’t fit.
    I’ve lost 30lbs since October and still have 15 to go :). What makes me shake my head is that people assume that I’m only losing weight to fit into my dress!

  22. campfire Member
    campfire 1045 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:44 pm

    @Great Gatsby: Congratulations to you, as well!

  23. Member
    halolover 247 posts, Helper bee @ 11:24 pm

    Congrats on doing something for yourself that made you happier in your own skin. And much healthier too I’m sure. I lost 90 pounds 8 years ago and have kept most of it off. I stray up 15 pounds and battle it back off. I know what weight I feel best at and try to maintain a more healthy lifestyle than when I was overweight. And some people can carry extra weight and feel good about themselves. I just wasn’t one of those people.

  24. campfire Member
    campfire 1045 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:34 am

    @halolover: I wasn’t either. I am definitely a lot more comfortable now. And congratulations on 90 lbs! That’s awesome!

  25. msbicycle Member
    msbicycle 718 posts, Busy bee @ 8:21 am

    Nice work! I agree that unless you truly make a lifestyle change, you will not maintain your healthy body. And then you’ll always look back at your wedding pictures and feel bad about yourself for not looking like that anymore!

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