Weddings and Weight. The accepted association is that every bride (and now, often groom) wants to lose weight for “the big day.” Refusing to diet for my wedding, I was surprised when a much more intimate weight-wedding relationship emerged than if I had lost 30 pounds to fit into a wedding dress. Getting married is more transformational than I imagined. It parallels my own weight loss experience and that of my clients. With weight loss, most people want to drop X pounds and fit into their “skinny clothes.” They are unconcerned with how they get there.
Similarly, I expected wedding preparations to be about party planning. I was largely unconcerned with centerpieces, bridesmaid dresses, and food displays. With a tomboy childhood, I had played softball and “store” with a cash register, not “wedding” or “house.” Like any good entrepreneur I was initially ready to outsource and delegate. Whatever someone suggested, I considered.
But, just as my clients come to me and uncover a new layer of themselves as the weight peels off, another part of myself emerged as the details—particularly those of the ceremony, reception rituals, and food choices—were discussed. It clarified what was important to me: local and organic food, great music, and no hint of the religious ideology that has suppressed women for thousands of years. Everyone asserts “your wedding is all about you,” but few women could enjoy their weddings believing that they were alienating half of her guests.
And so it goes with eating. Just as a wedding will feel hollow and unsettling if it conflicts with your core values, the scale won’t budge if your eating plan does not match who you are. Only you can know what you need, only you can assert those needs. If you can’t tell a server at a restaurant or a relatives at a family meal that you need to be gluten free, how will you ever ask your boss if you can telecommute once a week when you need breathing room in your schedule? If you are worried that you will be perceived as “that girl” who doesn’t want to drink, how will you ever handle attention when you start losing weight?
Just as wedding planning manifests truths and traits of those close to you, your ability to assert and take care of your own needs reveals your beliefs about yourself. And like a seating chart in the face of emerging familial conflict, these often need to be reconfigured. You need to rewire these beliefs for weight loss success. Considering your nutritional needs is a strong starting point. This has a domino effect on your lifestyle and how much of an opinion (and power) you believe you deserve. Don’t attempt to tackle every detail from the beginning, just start with your food choices.
And remember, like a couple trying to accommodate their guests while keeping their wedding true to who they are, being assertive doesn’t mean alienating people. This should always be done politely and confidently. Whether informing your host in advance that you need to be gluten free and would like to make a gluten-free contribution to her party, or over tipping the gracious server who is attentive to your questions and requests for necessary substitutions or omissions, everyone can and should win when you look after yourself.
Independence looks great on you.
Images via The Sweetest Occasion