Broke-Ass Tag: weight loss


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.

Real bride shannon justin alexander wedding gown

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.

Like a sad stock photo || Real Bride Shannon: Losing to Win

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.

mike vacanti weight loss coach


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!

In a pinch to purge some pounds? What’s working for you? Let us know in the comments below!

  • 4/26

    Got a question for Liz? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

    Dear Liz,

    So I am getting married in one year out of state, but we are having our reception in August 2014. My dilemma is that I have two sisters that are VERY heavy set. I want them to feel amazing in their dresses with out making them spend loads of money (trying to keep it below $100). David’s Bridal doesn’t have the color I want so I’ve been searching the web for something that is up to my wedding standard in the right color and within budget, and I haven’t had any luck. My question is: since they don’t need the dresses until August, should I not worry about it until next spring?  That way if they lose or gain some weight we can have a better judgment. Would it be totally inappropriate if I asked them to both try to be healthier and lose weight, as nicely as that can be said? They both need to, not just the 10 to 15 pounds most of us want to lose –  they are only in high school and they weigh over 200lbs each. Should I say something?


    Uh, huh. Find them something that they can work, you know?

    Little Sister

    Dear Sister,

    First of all, yes, you should wait until this winter or next spring to order their bridesmaid dresses, you have plenty of time.

    And now, the second thing: Yeah, it would be inappropriate, especially in the context of, “you should lose weight so you can look better in your bridesmaid dress.” I get the overall healthiness part you’re concerned about, too, but good luck getting them to hear that, there is no way that can be said nicely. A Come-to-Jesus, Get to Jenny Craig moment is most likely not going to happen, and I wouldn’t even try. Accept what it is not up to you to change.
    I would focus on finding them dresses that they are going to make them feel amazing right away, as opposed to ones that would take effort to look amazing in. I have worked with, and know well, many a plus-sized woman who’s been able to rock a formal dress. But you need to make your sisters part of that process – send them pictures of dresses worn by plus size models, Take them shopping. Make sure they find something that they, personally, like and feel that they look good in.

    Dear Liz,

    My summer wedding is going to be held in a super rural small town. I am planning the event from several time zones away and one of the most difficult decisions I am facing is my hair and makeup plan.

    I have two very good friends that are both attending and each has cosmetics experience. They’ve both offered to assist me on the big day.

    While I haven’t said yes to either of them, I haven’t said no either. I’m not very makeup savvy, but I am worried style differences between the girls will lead to bad blood at our intimate ceremony.

    Should I divide tasks or just choose one over the other? Part of me wants to just blunder through the beauty process by myself just to avoid the drama. Please advise!


    Beauty Under Stress

    Dear Beauty,

    The good news is that even though you’re planning what’s essentially a destination wedding in your home town, the biggest thing you’re worrying about is hair and make-up. Go ahead and brush that dirt off your shoulder, there.

    Divide the tasks. Pick one to do your hair and one to do your make-up, and I’d recommend doing a trial with each of them the next time you go out, even if it’s during the week of your wedding. That way, any worries you might have about style will get taken care of, especially if you give them pictures of what you want to look like at your wedding.  Think of it as an opportunity to hang out with them a little more, too.

    So, where did you find your plus-size bridesmaid dresses? And, how did you pick YOUR hair and make-up stylist? And, most of all, what do you think of my advice? Let me know in the comments below! And if you want to find out more about me and my little part of Wedding World, go to

    See you at the end of the aisle,

  • 4/9

    Okay, okay, I'm not talking about the big "IT", as in getting my V-card swiped.  I'm talking about losing some poundage!  If you remember back to my Wedding-Induced Ugly Duckling Syndrome post you remember me mentioning that I wanted to lose a few pounds in order to look my best for my wedding.  I know I was far from alone in wanting this.  I totally…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!


    Confession: Wedding planning has turned me into a way more superficial brat than I used to be. There's nothing like imagining walking down the aisle with all those eyes on me, plus getting professional photographs taken of myself, to make me worry like crazy about how I will look. Yes, I know everyone says brides ALWAYS look beautiful.  I know I have dreadlocks so I…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!