The nastiest question too many newly-engaged brides hear is, “How much weight are you planning to lose?” Um, are you saying I NEED to lose weight? What if I don’t plan to lose any? What if I plan to put a little on? It should be out of bounds, but apparently, it’s not. Here at BAB, we like to promote a body-positive image. We love brides of all shapes and sizes and I sit here writing this not to tell anyone they should lose weight, but how they could lose weight if they’re so inclined. I got stuck in a situation where I kinda needed to drop a few pounds (more on that in a bit) and have had some noticeable, yet healthy progress, so I thought I’d share some of my journey and what got me to this point. If losing weight isn’t a desire, rock on, baby! If you’re looking to peel off some pudge, hopefully you’ll find some help here.
Several months back, I fell in love with a gorgeous Justin Alexander dress that fit comfortably within my budget. I shimmied into that sample size 10 and as my kick-ass stylist zipped it up, it was a perfect fit. I bent and twisted and paraded like a proud peacock in front of that mirror until I said an emphatic “YES!” to the dress. Now, originally I hadn’t planned to post pictures of my second-favorite yes (“Will you marry me?” totally gets first), but I’m going to sneak one from the back to make my point.
I’m pretty hard on myself, but even I said, “DAMN!” at that back angle. As I placed my order, I remembered that bootylicious, but still reasonably modest, view and checked the size 10 box.
Several months, lots of stress, Thanksgiving, 30th birthday, Christmas and Valentine’s Day later, my dress was in! I was thrilled to slip that gorgeous gown on again, but as I began to pull it over my hips, I immediately noticed a … erm … problem.
I didn’t think I’d gained that much weight. I didn’t think I had much weight to lose before I was perfectly fitting into my favorite frock again, and I didn’t take enough consideration into the fact that sample dresses can stretch out from multiple tryings-on, but the fact of the matter is, that dress was NOT going to zip.
The weird thing is, once I made my weight loss intentions known, I got the reverse side of the Body Positive movement. “You don’t need to lose weight!” even, “You don’t have any business losing weight,” and the strangely shame-y accusation that I was body shaming brides (or people in general) who were bigger than I was. I suddenly felt guilty because of a personal decision to do something with my body and I let it keep me from trying. Hold on. Full stop. Autonomy is, like, a very real thing, and as long as you’re making healthy decisions about the manner in which you whittle that waist, no one gets to tell you what you can and can’t do any more than anyone gets to tell a curvy gal they don’t need to gain any weight. Cool? Cool. Anyway, I accepted the discomfort being shoved my way a while, but the closer I creeped towards my wedding day, the more reality sank in: I need to drop a few pounds or drop a few hundred (dollars) on alterations.
I already confidently re-routed the spare cash from being under budget on the dress into my super spendy shoes, so finding the funds for those alterations was going to be tough. I can’t just trade my dress for a bigger size and I have zero interest in trying to sell it to afford a new one that already fits. It boils down to the fact that losing some weight was the broke-ass way to handle the problem.
I joined my local community center’s gym. I drew up diet plans that had worked for me in the past. I counted my calories and weighed and measured my portions, but I knew I needed a little help. I looked into the best breakdown of calories in terms of carbs, fat and protein to burn fat (turns out, there really isn’t one) and Google introduced me to my (nutritional) soul mate: Mike Vacanti.
I immediately appreciated his candor in explaining there are no speedily-skinny secrets. As I read on, I found nothing but science-based knowledge mixed with humor and one of the most appropriate and hilarious Harry Potter references in all of blogging. There was no body shaming, no high pressure sales or snake oil promises. I devoured about half his archives in a week and learned a heckuva lot of great stuff, including ways to deal with negative responses to my weight loss intentions.
With my newly augmented knowledge on macronutrients, metabolic rates, and how instantly attractive a man becomes while cuddling a fluffy puppy, I’ve been dieting at about a 500 calorie daily deficit and am generally losing a perfectly healthy, sustainable pound a week. For me, that means around 1,600 calories which I like to divide into 40% carbs, 30% fat and 30% protein. I’ll tell you, from a mental standpoint, counting UP to a certain number of protein grams feels a lot more rewarding than simply counting OUT calories.
I’m no expert, but I know how to apply information and see whether or not it works. If you’re in the dark about the best way to handle your pre-wedding diet (if you have one), you should snag his free beginner’s e-book. You’ll get an email that he totally admits is an auto-reply but promises real person answers if you reply. It’s for realsies, yo! I checked in and had a reply within two days and he STILL wasn’t trying to sell anything (although he does offer online coaching at a monthly premium, but I’m saving too many pennies to ask how much it cost)! So we’re clear: I’m not being paid in dollars or trade to say nice things, I’m just so excited about the cool stuff I’ve learned that I had to pass it on to my fellow BABs who might be searching.
If you’re feeling bombarded with information that sounds too good to be true, remember the rule that it probably is. Giving yourself plenty of time to find your body’s rhythm, its likes and dislikes (my calories probably aren’t your calories) and looking up honest information is going to help. You can be happy with your body and still lose a few pounds!