Confessions of a Fat Bride

Have I got your attention?

Body issues. Everyone has them. Tell a girl she’s beautiful and she’ll jump straight to what she perceives as her worst flaw and focus on that instead. Throw in a wedding and it gets so much worse. As soon as I announced my engagement, the question I was most often met with was, “So, how much weight are you planning on losing for the wedding? You have almost two years so you could lose a ton if you get started right away!” You have no idea how hurtful and insulting it was to hear this at every turn. It got to the point where I actually started dreading announcing the happy news because every congratulations came with its own little footnote: PS, you’re fat.

For the record: I’m not fat, I don’t think. I mean, I’m definitely not skinny, but I’m also not plus-sized or anything like that. I have huge boobs…and an ass…and my thighs are bigger than my legs. But overall I look proportional and dare I say it? Good.

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At first I would shrug it off and politely answer that I wasn’t actually planning on any drastic weight loss for the wedding, that I wanted to look like myself, only better. Apparently, though, my normal self wasn’t good enough, wasn’t pretty enough or thin enough. It didn’t help that the comments were coming from the people I valued most, like family and close friends. Even my maid of honour offered to help me lose weight. Help. Like I was so set in my fatty ways that I couldn’t figure it out on my own.

My first encounter with bridal sizing came one month after being engaged. I was out shopping for bridesmaids’ dresses with BM Tiny and MOH Long Legs who are, respectively, sizes 0 and 2, when they decided that I needed to stand in for BM Green Eyes since I was closest to her size and she would not be flying in from Miami. I went to grab my regular size when the consultant rolled her eyes at me and said, ” No, you need a size 18,” which was quite a few sizes up from my normal size! I put the dress on and, to my disbelief, it barely zipped, my boobs spilling out the top like two gelatinous blobs. I didn’t even come out of the fitting room. I just stood there, watching myself in the mirror, crying. I was fat. I was a fat bride. I hurried out of the store and didn’t tell anybody other than Mr. Waterfall what had happened that day, but the experience scarred me enough to keep me from trying on a single wedding gown for months. On my first wedding-dress shopping trip, my consultant kept putting me in dresses that were nothing like what I had asked for. When I finally asked why she was ignoring my requests, she said that I wouldn’t fit into the other dresses because I was too fat. In case you’re wondering, my consultant herself was definitely not a skinny girl. Every store I went to had more of the same. It felt like the entire industry was telling me that in order to wear these dresses, I had to look a certain way. Be a certain size. But if there is one area of fashion where vanity sizing should be the norm, it should be wedding gowns! It’s the one time in your life when you want to feel your most beautiful, and even though it’s a number on a label, it can really mess with your self-esteem.

While I wanted to be healthier, I almost didn’t want to give anybody else the satisfaction of my losing weight. I felt as though if I did I was tacitly agreeing that my normal self wasn’t good enough. I remember a few years ago, this girl I worked with was getting married, and she became so completely obsessed with her weight that she would eat a handful of olives for lunch and then run on fumes for the rest of the day—and by fumes, I mean cigarette fumes, because she smoked like a chimney to curb her appetite. She lost a ton of weight, all right, but I certainly would not consider a diet of coffee and cigarettes healthy. I knew I didn’t want to be that girl. I wanted to tone up certain problem areas and try to make healthier choices, not just for the wedding but going forward. For the record, I don’t believe in dieting because it simply doesn’t work. It’s like slapping a Band-Aid on a wound that needs stitches—a quick, temporary fix. It’s been proven that diets don’t work simply because the second you stop depriving yourself (and eventually, everybody does) you gain the weight right back.

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I did not want to be one of those girls who loses a ton of weight for the wedding and is too depressed to look at her pictures down the road because she gained the weight right back, and then some. This is not meant to disrespect any bees out there who have taken the wedding as a stepping stone to a healthier lifestyle! Several blogger bees have shared their experiences with getting healthier, and I applaud them; I just disagree with a quick-fix mentality of fad dieting. I believe that it’s more about making small, achievable lifestyle changes that you can continue to maintain for years, after the wedding has come and gone. For me, it was more about portion control and eating more veggies and less processed foods, rather than, say, declaring all complex carbohydrates to be the devil until after the wedding. My main emphasis was on health—not just physical, but mental.

someecards.com - I'm on a diet until the wedding's over

Image via someecards.com

I ended up buying a dress that was three or four sizes up from my regular size and was terrified that it would end up being huge on me. The irony of it all is that I actually lost close to 30 pounds before my wedding without even trying, and while it’s probably the thinnest I’ve ever been, it’s also the least healthy I’ve ever been…I was literally wasting away because my body was so sick that my organs couldn’t even process food. People would compliment me on how thin I looked, and I didn’t even know how to respond. “Why thank you. I’ve been vomiting for months. I guess it shows.”? Instead, I politely thanked them and moved on. I guess they meant well. When I went for my first fitting and saw my dress on the hanger, it looked like a tarp. When they put it on me, it was literally falling off. Alterations would have been so costly that they decided to rush-order me a new dress, which I still had to have taken in. And while it felt nice feeling thin for once, that’s not what I see when I look at my wedding photos. I don’t see how much weight I lost—I see how radiantly happy I look to be marrying Mr. W surrounded by family and friends.

In this age of Pinterest and Style Me Pretty, we brides face so much pressure to look perfectly immaculate on our wedding day. And I get it, really. It only makes sense to want to look your best on the most photographed day of your life. You want your teeth to be pearly white and your complexion to be glowing and dewy, but not shiny. But what we often forget is that a wedding is just one day. Some brides break out or have a bad hair day, others have their period. It happens, because it’s real life and not a styled photo shoot with professional models in some glossy wedding magazine. So why do we hold ourselves up to such impossibly high standards? It’s no wonder brides are willingly paying thousands of dollars to be fed through a feeding tube, all for the sake of being thin and beautiful on their wedding day.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: If you want to lose weight for yourself, because you want to feel better about yourself, I applaud you. If you want to get healthy and eat better and exercise more often, I’m right there with you. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to get off the couch and go for a walk or a run, then by all means, do! I strongly encourage anyone to do things that will make them feel happier and more confident, and for many brides the wedding is great motivation to finally make a change. But don’t feel like you need to change yourself in order to fit into some crazy standard of what a bride should be. Please keep in mind that you’re already beautiful, and your significant other already loves you, just the way you are. Real women come in all shapes and sizes, and real beauty comes from within, not from some number on a scale or on a label.

What positive changes have you made?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Waterfall

Location:
Montreal
Wedding Date:
June 2013

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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Leslie, Guest @ 9:37 am

    I absolutely love this post! It’s true there is so much pressure to look ridiculously good on your wedding day but in reality it’s just one day. The most important thing is that you are marrying the person you love. Also, I love your views on a true healthy body image. I also want to work on eating more healthy. I try to keep in mind that I am doing this to live an overall healthier life but sometimes I fall into that same mindset everyone else does and try to do it to look good for my wedding day.

    I love that someone out there feels the same way I do about body image.

  2. Member
    CARA1978 860 posts, Busy bee @ 10:36 am

    @missamysmiles: @missamysmiles:

    Actually wedding dress sizes are the “correct” size. Wedding and other formal dress manufactures don’t go by the typical garment industry vanity sizing so the sizes are going to be different. You would have the same issue if you sew clothing via patterns.

    The sizing hasn’t changed in 50 years though the clothing industry has.

  3. Member
    ssmess01 28 posts, Newbee @ 2:25 pm

    FH & I have been making life changes to become healthier since last February with some pretty great success, which lead to winning a local weight loss competition! I went dress shopping a few weeks back and found my dress. However, as I am still losing weight, I decided not to order my dress until the last possible moment so I could be sure not to buy too large of a size or be forced into losing a certain amount of weight if I ordered too small of a size thinking I could reach that goal by late Jan/early Feb. Since we are on a tight budget, I don’t want to have to make any alterations later, but I also don’t want to stop my weight loss progress too soon so I will still fit in the dress. Luckily, I chose a dress with a corseted back, which gives me more leeway in my weight loss.

    I honestly don’t think my mother would have an issue with me waiting to order the dress if it weren’t currently on sale, which ends Labor Day weekend. My mom thinks that I should save the $50 and concentrate on looking good in the dress rather than trying to “squeeze” into the next size down. What she doesn’t understand is that I was (and still am) well on my way to fitting into the next size (maybe 2) down. Waiting another 2 months to order the dress will give me more opportunity to continue my HEALTHY lifestyle, which would lead to dropping more weight and less worry about whether or not I will still fit in the dress.

    Honestly, I could give two $hits what number is printed on the tag inside that dress! I just don’t want to stall my progress towards a healthy body because I am finally on a roll to achieving my goal. Now, I will most definitely order the size I fit into when it comes time to order the dress, but since there is more time for me to continue my weight loss progress, I will work as hard as possible to get as close to a healthy weight before I have to slow down and focus on looking good in the dress!

    Personally, I think it’s worth paying the extra $50 and possibly be healthier than order the dress now and have to stop my progress (assuming I order my current size) or stress out about dropping a large amount of weight if I order a size that ends up being too small to reach before the wedding. And with my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Years between now & the wedding, I’d rather put in as much work up front, order the dress that fits in October, and concentrate on maintaining my weight & toning my back & arms!

  4. Member
    hourthyme 558 posts, Busy bee @ 1:05 pm

    well written!
    you expressed so much of what I think of myself.
    People keep asking how much weight I’m losing or even telling me that they are losing weight for my wedding!
    I’m a size 8, I’m not even “that big”
    I could stand to lose some weight but having a history of an eating disorder.. I don’t want to go that route again.

    I know there are healthy ways to lose weight but for someone who has struggled with ED, weighed a mere 95lbs in college, and had resulting heart damage from weight loss… it’s like my mind has two switches. Super weight loss, and normal. I know what “super weight loss” brings. I’ll stick with normal.

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Alie, Guest @ 4:00 am

    Great article. I had similar issues when dress shopping tuis summer, I called as many bridal salons within a 2 hour drive to see who had true plus samples. Many places said they did and when I asked about sizing it was all 16 and 18s small end of plus. One place tried to get me into size 18 gowns no way would they fit did not get my vision. Found my dress at an amazing store and she had real plus sized. Gowns in sizes 20-30 got my gown from her owner and consultant Made me feel amazing

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    missespinoza, Guest @ 8:49 pm

    Thank u for sharing. This reminds me of my first experience looking at dresses.im am like u too,not skinny but not quite plus size.im a short girl and have always been small but I have had two kids so ive gained a little weight.my first time trying on dresses the consult was pretty nice telling me its usual for your dress size to be larger than ur actual size so not to worry.so I try on a few dresses and I found one I really liked.i walked out abd was showing my mother, and then the owner walked out and said “oh yes we have dresses for girls like u too”….gee,thanks.

  7. Member
    sugarpea 4900 posts, Honey bee @ 12:23 pm

    I never planned on losing weight for our wedding, for the exact reasons you wrote about. This post sounds like it could have been written by me (except my dress shopping experience was great – I was at my thinnest when I went though, which might have something to do with it). I lost about 45lbs without even trying when I got sick almost two years ago. I still have no idea what’s wrong with me, but I suddenly started feeling a bit better a few months ago.. like overnight – so weird, but I’m thankful. Anyways, I struggle with that all the time when people compliment me on my weight loss. It’s a sad thing for me since it is a sign of something being very wrong and something that no one can figure out.. it reminds me of doctors and tons of tests, but everyone (even people who knew I was sick) would compliment me on it – as if any weight loss is good weight loss. Thanks so much for this post. I’ve favourited it and I think it’s going to come in handy throughout my planning! ♥

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    Tessa, Guest @ 2:13 am

    You look beautiful and healthy, not at all fat! Our society’s definition of fat is ridiculous. I think of fat as being unhealthily overweight for your body type, but apparently not being below a size 8 is fat no matter what your body type is?

    Also, I’m a size 0/2 and I would KILL for boobs and curves. The grass is always greener :(

  9. Member
    beekeeper 121 posts, Blushing bee @ 12:32 am

    @mswaterfall This was a very well written post. I can’t even fathom that your closest friends/family would even suggest that you needed improving. I think this piece was good food for thought about body shaming, in general. Unless someone’s weight presents a health risk, people need to have some tact or STFU!

    I’m a size 0 in street clothes. Thus-far, at the 2 bridal salons I’ve had appointments at, I was told more than a few times that things would “hang better” on my body if I lost a little weight here or there. I am barely 100lbs. I am totally disgusted by this bridal perfection obsession and it’s almost always an external influence.

  10. Member
    Persephone 333 posts, Helper bee @ 5:41 am

    @Cara1978

    Very true! I sew for fun, and I am currently looking at the sizing chart of a vintage pattern (Vogue 1950), and the size 10 standard is a 33.5-inch bust, 25.5-inch waist and 35-inch hips. The smallest size listed on the pattern is an 8! BTW, in the UK an average size 10 has the following measurements: 34-inch chest, 26-inch waist, 36-inch hips — which is a US 6 or even a 4. However, in the US a standard size 10 has the following measurements: 37.5″, 28″ and 39″. I am UK 10, and I am always shocked when I fit into a size 4 and on occasion a 2!

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