Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Wedding Diet. Guaranteed to Change Your Weight.

Hard to tell, but it really was pink!

I lost a bit of weight then, but it was unintentional. It’s hard to recall the details—it was 25 years ago—but I certainly recall my pre-wedding jitters, my perseveration over details of this NY Wedding’s menus and seating and flowers, and the stress of commuting to work 3 hours daily. And then there was the wedding gown hype (Imagine Say Yes To the Dress; I bought it at the same Kleinfeld’s of TV fame).

But as PJ points out in her guest post below I was not typical—I did not try to lose weight before the big day. And who buys a pink wedding gown, like I did, anyway?

Who Is PJ Anyway?

First and foremost, she’s a bright, sweet, thoughtful, determined Follower of this blog, who I adore. She’s an Aussie, a mother of three young children and an adult new to acknowledging and tackling her own long-standing eating disorder. And she’s approaching her recovery with gusto, true to her nature. She’s using her resources 100%, while painfully honest about her struggles and her slips.
Welcome PJ, who miraculously knew I’d be in a bind this week, unable to write a timely post.

Read her fabulous blog, Recovery, PJ Style, for more honest writing, incredible wisdom, and support.

The Truth about the Wedding Diet

Ever planned to lose weight for a big event? How did you get on? And, probably more importantly, what happened after? Well, let’s start by seeing what Lori has to say on the topic. In her post the Graduation Diet, Lori describes a woman named Amy determined to lose 15 pounds in the 6 weeks leading up to her son’s graduation. But despite Lori’s warning/prediction:

“Dramatic changes in eating and activity are rarely sustainable. And they never occur without a cost”

We never did find out how Amy fared. What do you think?

At the recent conference for the Australian and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders, a researcher named Ivanka Pritchard from Flinders University, gave us the answer. Pritchard recruited 343 brides-to-be from a bridal expo and asked them a series of questions; including whether or not they planned to lose weight before the wedding and whether or not they had been told to lose weight (this pressure came from a variety of sources such as family, friends and even the wedding dress saleswoman!). Pritchard reported that over 50% of brides-to-be wanted to lose weight before the wedding (approx 8kg) and around 13% had been told to lose weight.

Pritchard also collected data on starting weights and then followed up at 1-month pre-wedding and 6-months post-wedding.

Of the first group (those that wanted to lose weight), what do you think the average weight loss was? Nothing. That’s right, at 1-month pre-wedding there had been no change in the weight of this group. However at the 6-month post-wedding follow-up there most certainly had been a change. This group had gained an average of about 2kg. Pritchard called this the ‘oh-thank-god-that’s-over-now-I-can-eat-what-ever-I-want’ effect.

The second group (those that were told to lose weight) did show some slight weight loss pre-wedding but gained significantly more post-wedding than the first group.

Pritchard concluded her presentation by highlighting the need for awareness campaigns to reduce the pressure on these woman to fit some societal ideal for the perfect bride – especially in the face of the competition they are up against: both Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, as well as a selection of health clubs all had stalls at this expo.

So there’s your answer. And although in the scientific world we don’t call it proof, merely evidence, you’d have to agree it’s pretty compelling evidence to say the least.

The Wedding Diet will NOT result in weight loss. But it will result in weight GAIN. Darn. Oh well, at least we still have Drop it and Eat.


  1. I just have to tell you I just found your blog yesterday and I could not have found it at a better time! I have been trying the non diet approach since June only realizing on Tuesday that I am definitely still dieting. I have gone through a bunch of your old posts and I am just loving them. This post hits home with me since I am leave on a week long boat trip in 10 days. Even though I do not have a Vacation date weight loss plan I am definitely hesitant to attempt to eat "normally" when I will be in a swimsuit for a week. I know this process is going to take time and baby steps. I just wanted to thank you so much for giving your opinion and take on things in such a public way. It means a lot. I know that the non diet road is the one I want to walk on. Thanks for being so inspiring.


  2. Great post, PJ! I love the study results, and it's so important to keep in mind. When I was bridesmaid dress shopping, the saleslady was trying to sell me shapewear. I realize now she's paid on commission and so she has a huge incentive to make me feel fat and ugly so she can sell me a modern-day girdle.

    The irony was it was one of the triggers of a massive relapse and I ended up returning the shapewear because it didn't fit anymore. Sigh...

    Another reason why I think I'm going to pick a mate from the Humane Society: no wedding. LOL

  3. Thanks Carrie - so glad you liked it! You are absolutely right about a lot of the saleswoman pressure being down to commission. The researcher even described a woman who had tried on a dress that didn't fit and the saleswoman still tried to sell it to her because "surely she could lose that weight before the wedding".
    I mean imagine spending $2000 on a dress that doesn't fit. Can you imagine the pressure? Just awful. And so unnecessary - surely that's not what the big day is all about!

  4. Hey PJ!! Great post. Good to see another study proving what we already know. :D

  5. Thank you for posting such a useful, impressive and a wicked article./Wow.. looking good!

    Pre Diabetes Diet

  6. Thanks KateBurns76 - and so brilliant to see such a great study coming out of little old Adelaide :)

  7. this post makes me so sad! i hope when i'm getting married it'll be to someone who loves me unconditionally- my weight at the time we're married shouldn't matter at all! if i don't feel good enough at my natural weight for my wedding with my spouse to be, how will i EVER feel comfortable porked up with a baby inside?! this is a great post about how crash diets always fail- and a reminder that weight doesn't REALLY matter anyway :)

  8. Wow, does this ever bring me back! I bought a dress off the rack. I loved it but I could have done with one size smaller, unfortunately there were two left in the store (the other was even larger). Bought it anyway because the corset style back allowed me to nip it in (and it was also a great deal). Anyway, all I heard the next 3 months till the Big Day were questions about how my "wedding diet" was going. Suddenly the whole world assumed I was dieting, to the point when the girls at work ordered pizza someone assumed I wouldn't partake because I was "about to walk down the aisle". I quickly informed people that there was no special wedding diet and the last thing I wanted was to lose weight and be forced to pay for costly modifications to my gown. I was sincerely shocked at how pervasive this wedding weight loss thing is in our culture. It is sad really, how many people told me they bought a dress that was too small then started crazy diets and exercise regiments to drop the pounds.

  9. Thanks again,, PJ, for this great post. Hopefully bringing this study to light will make people think twice about messing with their eating and their body's regulation, for a special event.
    @ Anonymous-yes, sad is a great word to describe how screwed up our culture is, and the lack of self acceptance so many feel.

    Thanks for all the comments!