Is Dieting to Fit Into Wedding Dress OK for Former Anorexic?

By November 9, 2012

 I am a 23 year old college student who has been engaged for a little over 6 months. My wedding date is fast approaching, and I have some concerns on wanting to shed a few pounds or inches before the wedding. Back in high school I was hospitalized with anorexia, and I don’t want to lose control over trying to put some control back into my eating habits. I just want to look good on my day. Do you have any helpful hints of what I can do to safely diet (eat healthier) and exercise? I only exercise Monday evening from 8:30 – 10:30 during cheerleading practice, the rest of my time I’m sitting in class, doing homework, or resting/checking the internet. Thank you for you time, help, and support! – Kathi

Dear Kathi,

I really want to acknowledge your willingness to honor your own growth by not returning to anorexic tendencies.  I hear that you want a beautiful wedding day. And I hear that you want to avoid losing control just to get a little control.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to fit in to a special dress or lose a pound or two.  When it becomes our “all in all” then we are no longer losing weight; we are trying to gain something the pounds were never intended to give.

I would strongly encourage you to consult a dietitian familiar with disordered eating and seek one-one-one consulting.  The reason?  I think that person could give you verbal feedback, in person, that you are eating a healthy diet and alleviate fears of restricting too much or over indulging.  I think it would be most beneficial for you to have another voice (beside your own inner voice) speaking truth to you about food and your body.

Next, resist the urge to fall in to that shallow trap of feeling compelled to say you are dieting to get into “the” dress.  I think at times it is almost a compulsion for us to feel like dieting is the immediate activity we commit ourselves to after engagement–even before wedding planning.  Your future and your hope are not in the wedding album picture.  It will capture but a moment in time. A literal bleep. 

What I want you to be most mindful about is the stress associated with weddings.  Most women underestimate the amount of developmental milestones and anxiety that can occur when planning their special day. And those stressors can trigger some to return to old habits to cope.

I strongly encourage you, especially with your history of hospitalization for anorexia, to not go this road alone.  Marriage brings changes–really good ones–but they are changes. And you will need mature, soulful support to go this road “safely” on many levels. 

By reaching out and writing this panel question I assume you are already experiencing some level of anxiety rising.  The way you wrote about your daily schedule seems as if you are beginning to judge yourself for “sitting all day” and only exercising during cheerleading.  There is no reason to judge yourself. It reads as if you are doing your job–being a good student, team member, and responsible fiancé.  Good job.