Those of you who know me personally know that I rant. A lot. These rants are usually long-winded and excessive, and I expect that you listen quietly while I yell them at you. I’ve decided to share these with you (this “you” being my blog audience), so that you can “enjoy” them too since wedding planning has brought a whole new batch of frustrations to my life.
Part 2: Wedding diets make me mad.
Those of you who have known me for a few years or have read along know that I experienced a rather drastic weight loss over the course of 2013/2014 which was preceded by major changes in how I viewed my body, my value and my size. If you missed that post, you can read it here.
Over time, I have been convicted to love and value myself because Jesus loves and values me. My worth is not defined by the number in my pants or on the scale. Ironically, as I have learned to view my body with love, I have also lost weight. Despite the fact that I am sixty pounds lighter than when I started this change in mindset, I still sometimes struggle with the need to feel “beautiful” as it is defined by American media.
For this reason, I get very angry when body shaming occurs. I used to hate my body, and I don’t ever want to feel that way again. I know that a constant input of media encouraging me to lose weight, “not look fat”, and attain the “perfect” body feeds into the attitudes that I do not want to espouse.
Wedding planning has invited a huge number of such inputs. The articles suggested to me on Pinterest, Facebook, etc. are often centered around losing weight or appearing thinner for the big day. I know of many women who are dieting for their wedding and are hoping to lose X number of pounds by their wedding date. I do not judge these women for these choices, and I am happy for those who are using marriage as an excuse to create healthier habits in their lives, but I am violently opposed to the idea that I, personally, should lose weight and “look thin” for my wedding.
I am healthy and do not need to lose weight for health reasons. I do not have a perfect body, but the idea that I have to have a perfect body on my wedding day bothers me. First of all, my wedding day is NOT going to be a performance. I do not care what the people sitting on the pews think of my appearance. If they think I look “fat”, that’s their problem. As I have said repeatedly, a wedding is about the joining of two individuals in front of God. It’s about a binding promise based in unconditional love. It’s not about flowers or size 0 gowns. Besides, the idea that size 0 is beautiful is a social construction that is only partially true (people are beautiful because they are made in the image of God – not because of the size of their clothing – so, yes, size 0 women are beautiful but not exclusively so).
Second, I have no concerns about B’s perception of my body. I would never have dated B if I thought that he was going to judge me for not having a thigh gap or any other absurd standard of beauty. On our first unofficial date, we went to the beach, and I wore a bathing suit and did not shave my armpits because that’s my normal. I have made it clear from the beginning that I am not changing my body for his acceptance, and he has made it clear that he loves me for who I am but would prefer that I shave (not that it affects his love for me). I do want to look beautiful for him, but I also know that he’s not going to care if I weigh 10 pounds less or not. He’s marrying me for the person that I am today. Not the person I could be if I stopped eating grains and worked out three hours a day.
I hate hearing that a woman has to lose weight and/or “look thin” on her wedding day because it evokes whispers of insecurity, and it tastes of the idea that a woman’s appearance is inherent to her value and worth. I don’t want to go back to hating my body, and one way for me to value myself is to live out healthy habits and not worry about the number on the scale.