Self-love, body positivity, being confident in the skin you’re in – this stuff can be a huge roadblock for many of us and it can really rear its ugly head when you get engaged. With this new column, we’re tackling things head-on, with some inspirational yet actionable advice from some of our favourite writers, experts and influencers in this area. First up is Renae Saager of The Ballsy Broadcast podcast.
One of the bigger events in your life is coming up. Not only are you trying to juggle all of the planning for your wedding, but now you have the stress of Aunt Linda judging you from across the table while you add that extra spoonful of delicious mashed potatoes to your plate. All the while, she hasn’t stopped talking about how she is already cutting carbs for your big day.
“I guess you’re not shredding for the wedding then?!”
Before you see red, your eyes roll into the back of your head or you cry into those delightful mashed potatoes (FYI, nothing is worth crying into good mashed potatoes for!), I’m here to help you out with those RIDICULOUSLY fatphobic, diet culture-y comments, expectations and/or people, so you can not only have the most relaxed holiday season, but go into your wedding day feeling more confident than ever.
This whole idea that you should be perfect in every single way for your wedding day is frankly a whole lotta stress that most women never asked for! Do you know what really makes you your most radiant, confident, stunning self?
✨ Having food.
✨ Enjoying the friends and family there to see you.
✨ Eating the amazing things that you specifically ordered.
✨ Dancing your butt off and making memories.
That’s what’s hot. And it’s really hard to do any of that when you are sucking in, underfed, dehydrated and worried about someone getting a side view of your stomach in your dress. If you break up with all of that nonsense, the months leading up to your wedding can besome of the best of your life because you are actively making the choice not to fall into the trench of ‘shoulds’.
Real quick, back to Aunt Linda. Even though you may have wanted to shove her delicate little face into the pumpkin pie, the reason she was side-eyeing you or making comments about carbs, or sugar or weight probably isn’t because she wants to. No woman enjoys that conversation. No woman leaves a table of other women talking about their body or new diet plan and feels better about themselves. It’s terrible! The reason she is doing it is because she thinks she should.
Women have been indoctrinated by our society to tear themselves apart. To always need to be working towards being better, thinner, younger versions of ourselves, and you, my sweet angel face, can opt-out.
How to get started with breaking the food/body talk:
? Say no to it!
Very clearly state you don’t want to have food/calorie/body talk. It doesn’t have to be weird or aggressive, but you can say just that. “Hey, I’d love if we could not talk about weight loss and body stuff.” As I mentioned above, most people will be relieved!
? When the conversation gets brought up, change the topic to something else.
“Guess who’s going to make the wedding after all?” Or “Let me tell you about the flower girls’ dresses!” Your friends and family will be excited to talk about any of it and they will often follow your lead. I think wedding culture has its own special breed of diet culture. Sometimes people don’t know what else to talk about because they assume you are dieting.
? Confide in your partner before a gathering.
Having a support person there is so helpful! Maybe it’s just sharing eye rolls with each other from across the room when annoying comments are made, or maybe they can be the person to help shift the conversation. It’s nice knowing you aren’t alone.
? For the friend/family member that just doesn’t get it, you may need to make it more of a boundary than a request.
This could look like, “Hey, I’m happy you’re enjoying your weight-loss journey, but this is hard for me to hear about. If this is the only thing we can find to talk about, we will need to spend less time together.” Or intentionally keep your space from them. It’s not rude, it’s self-preservation, and sometimes being a little rude is actually OK!
? Don’t go to certain events.
Yup, full-on say NO. You will think you can’t and you will worry what other people will think… but that’s OK. You can still not go. If you are terrible at saying no, believe me, it is insanely liberating, give it a try. Some things just aren’t worth the worry and anxiety spike.
Remember, your dress can always be altered! Be honest with whoever is doing your alterations about the stress you are feeling around your body. Tell them you don’t want to feel pressured to squeeze into anything. You want to be able to eat and exist as normal until you shimmy your way down the aisle. You are not the first, nor the last bride who has had anxiety about this.
At the end of the day, your friends and family love you so much and want you to feel amazing – and of course, your future spouse does too! They don’t care what you do with your food or workouts leading up to your wedding, they are just so excited to be a part of the celebration and witness you move into the next chapter of your life. How women should eat, behave and appear for their wedding is frankly made up. So, you go and do it however the hell you want to!
Renae Saager is a certified health and life coach and an emotional eating expert who teaches go-getter women around the world how to start living a powerful, authentic life free from food and weight obsession. Undoing the crazy you feel around food is Renae’s speciality, the confidence and clarity gained is the guilt-free icing on the cake. You can find her podcast, Ditch the Binge wherever you get your podcasts.
- Photography: Kartsie Photography