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Shedding for the Wedding?

Jul 6, 2017 | life updates, Lifestyle | 13 comments

should we really be shedding for the wedding?

I currently feel very torn with my morals/beliefs, and the way I am thinking about something right now… and that’s weight loss for a wedding.

We’re bombarded with messages about dieting, losing weight and slimming down for our wedding day in wedding magazines, blogs and social media everywhere – and the more you look, the more you see it.

I wrote a piece for Classpass last year about why I wouldn’t be #sheddingforthewedding and yet as the day draws nearer I find myself unhappy with the way I look, having hired a personal trainer and making a conscious effort to eat fewer calories. I can square away those things in my mind as wanting to become a stronger runner, and remembering that I’m no longer running 50+ miles a week and therefore don’t need to eat 3000 cals a day/mid morning cake.

Should we be shedding for the wedding?

However, what it actually boils down to is that I want to look amazing in my wedding dress and most importantly, feel comfortable and confident in a bikini on my honeymoon (also known as the most expensive holiday I’ll possibly ever go on). And right now although I’m strutting around Sardinia in a bikini, I don’t look the way I want to in it.

The rational part of me knows that I should want to look myself on the 9th September, and that Tom is marrying me – regardless of my size, and knows that I have an OK figure however the neurotic side of me worries about my stomach, love handles, inner thighs, and arms and wants to have a bikini bod I’d happily plaster all over Instagram.

Would abs get me more likes/followers? Probably. But would it make me happy? Probably not.

Should we be shedding for the wedding?

I’ve known brides obsess over their weight, become incredibly thin, even brides who’s wedding dress didn’t fit them on the day because they’d lost too much weight. Some of these brides have even put on all the weight back on within months of the wedding – none of which is healthy.

I’ve also known brides that wish they looked better in their wedding photographs, who’ve regretted not losing weight or their dress choice because when they look back on pictures, they feel like they look big (can’t bring myself to use the F word here).

So what do I do?

I pride myself on writing a very honest blog. sharing the ups and downs of running/’healthy living’ on Instagram, and ultimately being a very normal girl with a normal approach to food. But yet, I find myself looking at photos of myself and examining myself in the mirror, thinking ‘if only I had a flat stomach and no love handles’.

I come from a family of hips and tits (with 32DD boobs I am the smaller end of the scale!) and so I know that I won’t ever have the model or fitness figure we see all over social media. Despite all this, somehow I find myself sucked into this unhealthy place of aspiring to be like them.

I feel torn between wanting to be body positive, to recognise my strength, my determination and my running achievements to date, and the societal pressure to have the perfect figure.


Going back to the piece I wrote about Not Shedding for the Wedding, I take comfort in the words I wrote then that still ring true:

‘You’re supposed to feel special in your wedding dress, on one of the most special days of your life, not hungry and over-exercised. I love feeling strong, fit and healthy, not just ‘thin.’ And dieting to get to a specific size is not going to make me feel good.

I want to get married looking like me, the best version of me. I don’t want to look back in years to come and find the girl in the white dress unrecognisable. Although don’t get me wrong, I would like people to comment about how awesome my back and arms look in my v-back dress. If anything, I want to add muscle.’ 

And so, that’s what I’m trying to focus on. Not losing weight but feeling confident in my body, eating for nourishment and fuel, and training to be my best self, for my future marathons and for life. Not just for the 9th September.



  1. W.Purves.

    Stop worrying about your body! You’ll look great. G.

  2. Bridget

    It’s a tough one isn’t it? I have seen brides lose so much weight and then they don’t really look like themselves in all the wedding photos but I also know brides who look back and say that they wish they had made an effort to lose weight.
    I am getting married in 7 weeks to a woman who has always battled with her weight.
    I am lucky in that I stay pretty much the same size but she doesn’t. I totally support her in what she wants to do, if she feels happy in her own skin then she will enjoy the wedding/honeymoon all the more.
    It’s your body Charlie, you need to do everything you can to turn up on that wonderful day feeling AMAZING. X

  3. Sarah

    Thank you so much for this post. I’m getting married in 1.5 months and I’ve grappled with the same thing. I know myself–I don’t want to be starving myself and not enjoying life (aka drinking the cocktail when I want and eating the ice cream or cake when I want) during what is supposed to be one of the happiest and most special times of our lives. As someone who at 30 has FINALLY accepted her body as it is, the pressure to lose weight and look amazing in my wedding dress has crept up. So I made a vow, like you, that I wasn’t going to worry too much about the numbers on the scale or forbid myself from having dessert, but rather focus on being healthier and more active. I too hired a personal trainer in January and I have to say that I was nervous about spending the $$$ but now over 6 months in, it really was the motivation I needed to finally get strong. I’m noticing muscle definition and can actually now do at least 20 pushups. Yes, I’m exercising 5-6x a week, but I’m trying to stay balanced and set myself up for leading an even healthier life than I was. Sure, I’m saying no to more store-bought donuts that people bring into the office, but I’m never depriving myself. Am I going to have a 6 pack for my honeymoon? Probably not. Am I going to down 20 lbs and several dress sizes? No. But I’m feeling even better about myself than I was when I got engaged and I think that’s worthwhile– not because of what I will look like in my photos (although that’s always a bonus) but because I feel happy inside and out.

  4. kristi

    I think your back muscles in those above pictures area amazing. I love it.

  5. Lauren

    This was such a nice post to read!
    One, everyone has anxieties about this! I’m not even engaged yet (but suspect it’s coming soon haha) and i’m already wedding body obsessed.
    Two, try to reframe it. Instead of shedding for the wedding, you are focused this summer on getting stronger and healthier and a side benefit of that is looking good for the wedding. There is nothing wrong with a focus on improving your body

  6. Tess @ FitBits

    100% this. I found it hard when we were getting ready for our wedding not to get sucked in, but failed miserably. It was convenient that the wedding and honeymoon was in the middle of an 8 week training block for my first boxing fight so actually I was in the best shape of my life, I just didn’t know it.

    I’ve still got my wedding dress and have thought about trying it on again for the past 3 years but am terrified to do so in case it doesn’t fit (it definitely won’t) and I’ll get upset (I definitely will).

    Something I’ve realised recently as I’ve put a bit of weight back on over the past year or so is I’m at my happiest and most confident about my body when I’m feeling fit, healthy and strong. Right now I know I’m not either of those things as it’s been a busy few months with jobs and my routine’s suffered.

    There does come a point though, when I get to a certain fitness level where how I look just doesn’t matter to me any more. I started the journey back to that feeling today when I went back to the gym after literally months and months off.

    Sorry for the essay – just really resonated with me!

  7. Kylie

    I got married last year and as I have previously had an eating disorder, was very worried about the potential for lapsing into bad habits. I continued to run but didn’t diet nor really change my fitness routine with an aim of changing how I looked. I was really proud of that. That doesn’t mean it was easy. I cried the day I tried on wedding dresses and I rushed the process because I hated how I looked. I panicked for months in the run up about how I would disappoint people (even my husband) because I wouldn’t be a ‘beautiful bride’.

    And all of those worries disappeared on the day. For one of the only times in my life, I felt truly beautiful. I believed everyone when they told me I looked wonderful. And I did not worry once about whether I looked fat.

    So I guess what I’m saying is – just try and cut yourself a bit of slack. Weddings are stressful. They highlight things we are worried about because it’s a show, with everyone watching us and (we believe) judging. But I promise that when the day comes, it won’t feel like that. All you’ll feel is the weight and warmth of everyone’s love for you and your new husband and you’ll wonder what all the stress was about.

    Good luck.

  8. Laurie

    Great post !
    You look great. I understand that you would want to tone (not that you need it but I have been there too before my wedding) but don’t lose so much weight that it is not possible to stay like that after the wedding. you don’t want to look back at your wedding pictures in 5 years (and for the rest of your life) and think “i was so thin I wish I was still like that”

  9. Nicole

    I got married 2 weeks ago and wrote a v similar post:

    it’s a very strange moment in your life (in all the best ways too) but your awareness of all the attention youll be getting makes you very aware of your body.

  10. David

    I’m a guy and I have the same thoughts…

  11. David

    My wedding is two years away…I’m not a naturally slender person, I run and when I run say 25+ miles per week I lose weight And i feel good…

    I’d say therefore that the feeling good bit is most important..feeling energised, positive, everything in its right place forge perfect day…

    You look fabulous Charlie, you have a lovely figure and smile…

    But if being fit and toned is going to make you feel better mentally then do what you must…it all helps to a positive vibe and a good feeling.

    In the weeks up to your wedding you may lose just 1lb in weight, bit you may feel like a million dollars so do it if it helps you enjoy that special day…

    For me that’s what I’ll do, runs fair bit (I hope) and be a bit more trim and a little less bloated, wear my suit well and enjoy my special day!

  12. Sarah

    Ah, the wedding dilemma… I SWORE I wouldnt be one of “those” brides – my dress cost 200 quid and I’m not planning to get my hair or makeup done before the wedding, so you get the picture… BUT yesterday I realised the dress has gotten a little tight, too many beers and barbecues I guess! Now with 4 weeks to go, I’ll just have to shed a few pounds or I’ll look like a sausage in that dress, sigh…

    • charlotte

      Oh nooooo – but amazing that you found an amazing dress for £200!! Everyone keeps saying that I will lose weight through stress nearer the time although given my sleep anxiety right now I hope it doesn’t get too much worse!! I hope you can enjoy the next 4 weeks without stressing too much! xx


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