Today, we’re excited to bring you a guest post from Mariska Breland, founder, co-owner and creative director at Fuse Pilates in Washington, DC. Take it away, Mariska!
Does “bride-orexia” really exist? It’s gotten plenty of media attention recently. A Cornell University study, published in the journal Appetite, shows that while extreme weight loss may not be the rule among brides, it certainly happens. Some weight loss is common with brides – whether it’s through diet, exercise, or the stress of having to deal with new mothers-in-law or seating charts. But how extreme is it? Of the 272 brides surveyed…
- Approximately 70% wanted to lose a significant amount of weight. The average was 23 lbs.
- These women had lost only a fraction of the weight (8 lbs on average) in time for their weddings.
- Most women planned to lose weight through healthy methods: drinking more water, eating less, eating foods with fewer calories, and aerobic exercise.
- About 25% of women resorted to “extreme behaviors” to lose weight. These included smoking, taking diet pills, skipping meals, or using crash diets.
- Around 14% of brides actually bought wedding gowns smaller than their current body sizes. (Don’t they know you can get them altered?)
Most brides aren’t overdoing it. And it’s normal to want to look your best on one of the most important days of your life. But what isn’t normal—or healthy—is losing too much weight too fast. That’s a great recipe for fatigue, malnutrition, and yo-yo weight gain after your wedding.
Take It Off and Keep It Off
Let’s say you’re fighting the battle of the bulge. You should aim to win the weight loss war, not the battle. Keep a few principles in mind to lose weight and keep it off for anniversaries to come.
- Lose for the lifestyle, not for the event. A 2009 study showed that 22% of brides gained over 20 lbs in their first year of marriage. Why? They said they lost motivation to keep eating healthy and working out once their wedding day and honeymoon were over. Rather than focusing on losing weight for one day, concentrate on developing healthy habits that you can maintain beyond the big day.
- Stress can contribute to weight gain. Planning for your wedding can be (just a little) stressful. While acute stress may suppress your appetite, the chronic stress of wedding planning can cause your body to produce extra cortisol, a hormone associated with weight gain—and cravings for fatty and sweet foods. Whether it’s an intense workout or a meditation session, figure out what helps you beat stress, and make it part of your daily routine.
- Moderation is a girl’s best friend. Too much of anything—including weight loss—is bad for your body. Skip the aggressive approach, like hours of working out and miniscule meals. Instead, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about creating a healthy meal plan. And figure out a fitness routine (I’m partial to Pilates classes!) that will fit into your schedule and won’t burn you out. Working out should leave you refreshed, increase your overall energy level, and inspire you to come back for more!
Mariska Breland has a comprehensive certification through BASI, mat certification through Power Pilates, additional apparatus, mat and anatomy training through Balanced Body Pilates, Peak Pilates and iM=X Pilates, and a certification in PureBarre. Additionally, Mariska has a 2006 holistic health coaching certification through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is a member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, BASI, and IDEA Health and Fitness Association.