Dear Bride, Stop with the ridiculous diets.
This subject is such a serious issue that I honestly don't know how to start discussing. Maybe with what I'm really thinking and I'm not suppose to say: "You are being silly. An absolute fool." I'm also not suppose to say that I want to smack you and say "Get a grip."
Do you know that at one point during every consultation I do these days I have to clear my throat, re-position myself, look the bride in front of me straight in the eyes and tell her these words: "You do not have to lose weight in order to fit someone else's idea of the 'perfect' bride." And every single bride looks away when I utter those words. Every. Single. Bride. I then say "Look at me. Look me in the eyes and say okay."
Weight-loss with brides is such a big problem affecting our work in so many ways and we need to talk about it. We desperately need to put it out there that this is not acceptable as a normal part of preparing for "the big day". It's absolute bullpoop. So let me break it down into a few segments of why this nonsense can sommer maar stop right now.
1) The physical repercussions are shocking
I beg you, ask any bride who has been on an extreme diet (a lot of it being liquid diets) and they will tell you the biggest shock is the aftermath. As soon as they start eating normally or taking in solid meals again they gain MORE weight than what they have lost. I tried finding scientific research specifically on the effects of liquid diets and there isn't much on what happens afterwards. Do you know why? Because the research hasn't thoroughly been done. Did you know that your body goes into starvation mode and, as soon as it gets normal foods again, stores the energy making it more difficult to lose the weight later on? So nice, well done, you lost 15kgs starving and depriving your body and now you've gained 25kgs. Good job.
2) Your brain cannot function and your heart suffers.
Did you know that? Did you know that your body eats at its muscles too and that those stupid diets don't just eat at the fat? Did you know that your heart muscles can suffer and lead to arrhythmia? Nice hey. Did you know that your body NEEDS fuels like proteins, carbs and good fats to function properly. Your brain NEEDS those foods to be able to think clearly. Do you know what happens to a stressed out, starved bride who is emotionally attached to the decisions of her wedding? She breaks down and she breaks down in a bad way. And then, good grief, she takes it out on her fiancee, she takes it out on my poor seamstresses, she takes it out on the dear make up artist and for what?! To look like the mass media's portrayal of the ideal bride that only physically fits a minute percentage of women? Ja, né.
3) We cannot keep up with the alterations. Seriously.
Deep breath. We cannot keep altering the dress. We put about 80 to 160 hours worth of work into a single dress. This is spaced out over the course of 4 months to allow enough time to systematically work on the details in between fittings. We cannot keep unpicking and resewing parts of the dress. We cannot keep going back and re-doing things because you lost another 2cm. Not only is it a massive setback time-wise but the integrity of the fabric goes down the drain. Understand that when a seam is sewn little holes are poked through the fabric to lead the thread through it and keep it together. To unpick the stitching we physically have to break the thread by placing tension on it with an unpicker. This in turn places tension on the fabric. We then have to resew the seam and poke holes into the fabric with the needle which, by this stage, sometimes just butchers the fabric. Yeah, that's what we call it. We say it's butchered.
So, having said all of that, I get it. I get it that when you look in the mirror you find it hard to love your body for the shape it's become. Bodies change, we grow up, we get scars, we go through tough times, we get complacent, we get lazy and our bodies change to something we might not recognize as our own and feel comfortable in. I was there, I know what it feels like to look at your body and feel like it's not yours. But then lose weight and exercise in a balanced, healthy way as a lifestyle change and something that can be maintained. Don't see the wedding as the goal, don't do it for the wedding, make the decision to do it for you, for your well-being, for your peace of mind, your way to be good to yourself and to learn to love the body you're in.
In a next article (or even two) I will get onto the topic of mothers and friends telling you to lose weight and how they can kindly bugger off to a pit of their own nastiness. For now, have a cookie or a croissant and enjoy the delicious foods that The Big Guy have put on this earth for us to enjoy!
P.S Here are three articles with more info on crash/extreme/liquid diets.