This past weekend a story appeared in the New York Times about women going to great lengths to lose weight for their wedding day. Women are walking around town with nasogastric tubes, doing colonic cleanses and getting daily injections of hormones, all in an effort to slim down and look their best as they walk down the aisle.
What’s wrong with this picture? There is something so disturbing about going to these lengths to achieve rapid weight loss for cosmetic reasons alone. Granted, not everybody has the luxury of a long engagement or the discipline to lose weight the old-fashioned, eat-less move-more way. Many of these women only want to lose a small amount of weight (say, 20 pounds).
I think it’s time for a reality check. There’s no doubt that we want to look “perfect” on our wedding day, or any other milestone event. The desire to look good is nothing new. Crash diets have been around for years. But how far is too far? Do we really want to look like some artificially deflated, weakened, lesser version of ourselves in those pictures, only to return to our true selves weeks, if not months, later?
There’s something inherently more vibrant about a woman who glows naturally on her wedding day with the knowledge that she’s been eating healthfully and exercising well. She might not be at her lowest weight ever, but she looks confident, and real. And guess what? People look better when they feel better.
I won’t even get into how this quest for skinny impacts young girls and teens whose perceptions of body image are still being formed. We can do better — in terms of liking ourselves the way we are, and maintaining our health every day of the year.
Have you ever used extreme measures to lose weight for a big day?