So. Dieting to fit into your wedding gown. Can we talk about this for a minute?
Since I write a wedding planning blog, I do see a lot of articles about how best to lose those unwanted pounds, because really, who wants to be fat on her wedding day? At least, the common assumption is that you want to lose weight for your wedding. In fact, I remember having several people tell me when I got engaged that there are two things every bride in the world does: grows her hair out and goes on a diet.
Funny, I did neither. Okay, my hair was already as long as it will grow, so there really wasn’t any way to grow it longer. But I had been thinner in my life, and I didn’t go on a diet, either.
But back to these articles.
A scary number of them promote some truly unhealthy practices. For instance, this morning I woke to an article about the trendy new K-E diet plan. As far as I can tell from a quick Google search, this one started popping up about december of last year. Most of the articles I can find on it seem more like advertorials, and I found a couple inquiries on wedding planning boards… but I’m not finding a lot of reliable information beyond that.
Still, the description that popped up on Yahoo Headlines this morning does include some rather frightening details. Apparently this ‘diet plan’ consists of having a feeding tube inserted nasally and carrying a feeding bag with you everywhere you go. That’s right! You don’t eat for ten days. You carry around a feeding bag that gives you a steady drip of nutrients (800 calories a day with 0 – that’s a whopping zero – carbohydrates) and don’t ingest anything orally for more than a week.
Putting aside the discomfort of the feeding tube, the general oddness of not being able to eat anything solid for no good medical reason, and the annoyance of both carrying that bag around and explaining to everyone why you have a feeding tube in your nose when you don’t have a medical condition that requires it, let’s look at the nutritional breakdown here, shall we?
The average, relatively sedentary, adult woman aged 19 – 30 requires roughly 2000 calories a day according to WebMD, which is not exactly a bastion of anti-diet rhetoric. In fact, I used up a lot of Sanity Watcher’s points just checking that statistic, because the page was festooned with diet plan ads and articles about how to diet more effectively. If you’re active or pregnant, your baseline caloric needs will be higher. Also, this is an average. Your specific needs may be somewhat higher or lower based simply on how your body uses and stores energy.
But let’s accept 2000 calories a day as what a relatively sedentary, adult woman needs to meet her energy requirements and stay fairly healthy. This diet plan requires her to carry a calorie deficit of 1200 calories a day for a week and a half.
For comparison, prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp were fed between 1300 and 1700 calories of food per day, depending on whether or not they were expected to do hard labor.
Admittedly, those prisoners were forced to continue this caloric deficit for months to years rather than less than two weeks, but it still gives us a baseline reason to worry about the health benefits of this ‘treatment.’ I think ‘less food than Auschwitz’ officially puts this concept into the extreme category.
And let’s take a look at nutrition, too, shall we? Because while carbs get a really bad rap in today’s food culture, the fact is we all need them. Contrary to what a lot of people think, carbohydrates aren’t a food group consisting entirely of refined sugar, white rice, potatoes, pasta, and Twinkies. Carbohydrate, along with protein and fat, is a macronutrient. All foods contain at least one of these macronutrients, and many contain at least two. There is a carbohydrate element in every fruit and vegetable you eat, as well as in all grains and pulses.
So what does carbohydrate give us? In a word, energy. There’s a reason distance runners and swimmers eat a lot of pasta: it’s an efficient way of getting a lot of energy to the muscles so they can do what is demanded of them.
In short, this diet places its followers on a starvation level of caloric intake combined with the removal of the element that allows us the energy to exercise. It does so to the detriment of social interaction using unnecessary medical interventions.
All to fit into a dress.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s the job of the dress to fit you, not your job to fit into the dress.
When choosing what to wear for your wedding, buy it to fit the body you already have, not the one you wish you had. If your body is prone to weight fluctuation, pick a style that is forgiving of a little variation. Don’t make a huge, drastic change to your diet or exercise routine close to the wedding. Just try to eat from a variety of foods, get enough rest, move your body in a way you enjoy, hydrate well for a healthy glow, and let your waistline be what it will.
After all, your intended chose you knowing what you look like. Love your body. Treat it well. It isn’t the enemy. Your body is you. Why spend your time fighting you?
No dress is worth putting your health in harm’s way.