Ever since I got engaged almost a year ago, I’ve been getting a lot of comments like “oh you probably won’t want to eat that, since you’re getting married” and “so, what are you going to do to lose a few pounds for the wedding?”

It perplexes me a bit.

I do get that people want to look their best during their wedding festivities (and apparently they expect ME to look my “best” during my wedding festivities) because it IS a big day and yes, there will be a lot of pictures. Trust me, I get it and I feel that pressure, even without the quips.

And – I have to admit, all the comments got to me just a tad and I went down a path of wondering if I should be doing some sort of “pre bridal boot camp” (as one well-meaning person suggested) or researching one of those crazy IV drip diets from a bride magazine. (Yes, that’s a thing and I promise it only crossed my mind for about 1/2 a second.)

Then I got back to reality.   It makes no sense at all. How is it that we equate two people committing their lives to each other with the need for one of those people (the woman) to literally take up less space in the world? What is that about? Why is it that Americans believe that someone would make a better wife if she was smaller?

Guess how many people have asked my fiancee if he’s going to get in shape for the wedding? Zero, of course, zero.

Guess how many people have asked about our pre marital counseling or the preparation we’ve been doing to join our lives. Far fewer than have asked about how I’m going to make myself look better (or smaller) on our wedding day.

So, here are there reasons I’ll not be doing any of those crazy pre-wedding programs.

  1. Crash diets make me sad and hangry. Plus…  they don’t work. (Short back story – I’ve been certified as a fitness instructor/ personal trainer for more than 10 years and I know the results are temporary … and you probably know that too. This is not brain surgery.)

2. I already work out quite a bit and have a pretty healthy regimen that makes me happy.  I’ve made strides in having a good relationship with my body and I’ve learned that forcing it to do something it doesn’t want to do creates problems for me mentally and physically. While I’m not perfect (nobody is), I’m working on being ok with it. Sorry to the people who expected some sort of “dramatic change” before the big day. I’ll just be me, but in a white dress.

3. My fiancee likes me the way I am. And if you’re a bride reading this, YOURS LIKES YOU THE WAY YOU ARE TOO. He does, trust me. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t have “asked”.

4. Most importantly, I like me the way I am. If this is one you’re still struggling with, I encourage you to work on THIS. Work on it more than the elaborate centerpieces, work on it more than the fancy invitations, work on it more than the seating arrangement. Nothing is more enticing,  inviting and gorgeous than a woman who loves herself.

I’m certainly not here to discourage anybody from working on parts of their lives that could use a tune up before tying the knot. I, too, am doing some self-analysis in anticipation of merging my life with Heath’s.  But, I’m trying to do it in what I consider to be a chill, natural, realistic way.

*I’m trying to pay off my final student loan, so as not to contribute any debt.

*I’m focussing on trying to get more sleep, so as not to be a grouchy and stressed (I’ve failed at this so far— but I’m working on it.)

*I’m reconnecting more than ever with my faith, so I maintain a solid foundation that’s comforting to me and gives me strength.

*And, yes, I’m scheduling a few more organized workouts and making nutrition a priority because things are extra busy right now and workouts and clean, yummy food makes me feel good. Taking care of myself feels good. BUT— I’m not doing it to drastically change the way I look for one day in my entire life.

THIS attitude has been a long time coming. I’ve struggled with body image and similar issues for almost two decades and I’m refusing to let America’s standard of what a “bride” should look like ruin this experience for me. I don’t like that I almost slipped back into that place. I don’t like that I let those comments get to me and make me feel self conscious and sad. I know I’m better than that and if you’re reading this, so are you.

So brides, let’s stop buying a dress that are 2 sizes too small and making ourselves go crazy to fit into them.

Let’s try this;

Buy a dress that fits. Enjoy the engagement. Wear it. Rock it. Be happy. Because that…  is beautiful.

Written by Jenny Anchondo

Jenny Anchondo is a Dallas-based news anchor and reporter who has worked at TV stations all over the country. She's also a certified personal trainer and fitness expert. Her goal is to to empower others to find their own version of happiness and success.

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