Before we kick off with Esme, who is back with more words of wisdom…let me introduce something exciting for all us bookworms.
It’s the AOW Book Store!
In our Book Store (which you can access on the right-hand side of the page), we’ve added every single book we three or you, our readers, have recommended through our Books That Made Me Me and Book Club posts. Go browse, buy…and enjoy! I’ll be adding Kindle versions in slower time, and also announcing the Great AOW Book Swap details over the next few weeks. Back to Esme…
In Esme’s Real Married column so far, she’s tackled a humanist ceremony, the minefield that is bridesmaids, and now she’s taking on the Demon of Skinny. I love this post, because Esme writes about a topic close to many womens’ hearts in a frank, funny and matter-of-fact way that makes us realise that the whole thing is a charade, but that, you know, we’ll probably do it anyway.
(I also want to punch Esme’s ex-colleagues’ lights out and stand over their fallen bodies scoffing Dairy Milk but that is by the by.) Over to Esme:
When Tom and I got engaged I was a size 12 and felt good because I knew my boy loved how I looked. On my wedding day, I was a slim size 8. Not exactly a huge difference and certainly not enough to be life changing (or even really that noticeable in most outfits). So, the question is, why on earth did I lose weight for my wedding?
The first reason was that I bought a sample sale dress that was a bit tight. In the interests of being completely honest with you all, here is an incredibly unflattering picture of me in the first time I tried on my wedding dress (please be kind!):
I fell in love with the dress straight away and had to trust my Mum when she said we could easily alter the dress to fit me. Right there, in that shop, I realised that I was going to have to go back on the one rule I had set myself – that I wouldn’t lose any weight for my wedding. I was happy the size and shape I was and I knew Tom loved how I looked. I have never dieted, never really cared about my weight, always been able to eat sensibly and not had to worry about having an extra slice of cake. I had promised myself that this was how I was going to look on the day. But then the dress came along and I told myself that it would be alright to just lose half an inch around my waist. That was it.
So a few months after finding The Dress (and discovering that we could make it slightly larger by moving the A-Line skirt up a few cms, which made me feel a lot better) I started to get used to the idea that loosing a few pounds would be fine.
And then I started to feel The Bridal Pressure.
Nine months before my wedding day I had started watching what I was eating (more on how I did lose the weight below) and so had everyone else. At coffee breaks at work, my colleagues started asking me whether I really should have another biscuit. When it was someone’s birthday and there was cake, nobody asked me if I wanted a slice. There were comments along the lines of ‘it’s so nice to look your best on your wedding day. How much weight are you going to lose?’, ‘Who’s going to do your hair and make-up – it’s so important that you get a professional’ and ‘I didn’t lose enough weight for my wedding and now I look back at the pictures and wish I’d made more of an effort’. I really felt the pressure and started to criticise myself. Tom hated it – he thought I looked great and he started to worry that I was going to starve myself. I’d always been the girl who had a really healthy attitude with food, so much so that I took it upon myself to try and help my friends who had food-related issues. When one friend who has struggled in the past with her weight noticed that I had lost a bit of weight, she took me to one side and warned me not to take it too far. I was worried about myself, I didn’t want to get addicted to losing weight and start the long spiral down to endless dieting and always thinking about what I eat.
Looking slim after our registry office ceremony
Finding a happy medium
The crunch point came about two months before the big day. I knew I had lost all the weight I wanted to and I just wanted to maintain it. I had had my final fitting and felt amazing in my dress. It fitted beautifully and I was feeling confident. My friends were commenting that I was glowing and Tom thought that I looked better than ever (although he made sure that he emphasized he would love me however I looked). One day at work someone was leaving and there was going to be my favourite cake. I had been “good” all week (gosh, I hate that phrase!) so I decided to have a piece. Slices were being offered round and I very loudly said that yes, I would be having a piece of that one, thank you very much. Silence. Finally, one person said ‘Are you sure that’s a good idea?’. I laughed it off, but I was mortified – did I look awful? Did all brides virtually stop eating months before their wedding? Was I going to regret how I looked at my wedding for the rest of my life? I text my Mum and got the reply ‘F*** ‘em and eat three pieces’. So that was it, no more weight loss for me.
I felt absolutely amazing on my wedding day. I looked beautiful and I’m proud to say that. I am glad that I lost a little bit of weight because my dress looked even better than I had hoped. Four months on I’ve put on a few pounds but am still slimmer than I’ve been in years and I will admit that I do like it. I wish that I hadn’t bowed to the pressure because I thought I was above all of that rubbish, but turns out I was like pretty much every bride and worried about how I was going to look at my wedding. The irony is that the one thing everyone commented on was that the best accessory I had on all day was my massive smile. I was the happiest woman alive on that day and would have felt like that whatever size I was.
How I did it
Are you ready for the big reveal? How a girl who already ate sensibly and was pretty active dropped about two dress sizes in eight-ish months? Drum roll please…
I ate less food and drank less wine.
Seriously, that’s it. I consciously decided to really cut down on drinking (only having one glass of wine a week usually), had slightly smaller portions (which is not difficult in my house as Tom will eat everything I leave on my plate) and only had biscuits or sweet treats when I REALLY wanted them. Simples.
Right, now I’m off to buy a whole new wardrobe because none of my clothes fit me anymore…