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Sweating for the Wedding

The idea of “sweating for the wedding” was something that I never thought I would partake in when it came time to get ready for our own wedding. To best explain this I have to back up about 8 years, so bare with me.

When I was in high school, I began doing beauty pageants. While I realize that this in and of itself has a lot of stigma attached to it, I had grown up in theater and dance and I thought that it was something that I would just pick up. The public speaking, talent, and formal wear categories were no big deal— the bathing suit category was another story.

I wasn’t overweight by any means, but I was definitely not comfortable donning a bikini in front of strangers on a stage either and so the dieting began. As it turns out, I have incredible self control when it comes to dieting. Before long, I was living off of turkey sandwiches, celery sticks, and oatmeal. No carbs after 3:00, workouts twice a day, and no vegetables that weren’t green. The pounds starting coming off and I was ecstatic. What I hadn’t prepared myself for, was how I would cope when the pounds eventually returned.

It didn’t happen all at once. I participated in one pageant and the another, and loved all of the compliments that I began to receive. Something triggered in me along the way however, and I began to believe that people hated the way I had looked before and that I had to do whatever it took to not look that way again.

Well surprise surprise, one thing led to another and I developed an eating disorder. I met with nutritionists, trainers, and counselors and was taught completely new ways of eating, thinking, and living in the years that followed— but the damage had been done. I had learned what was effective for my body to lose weight fast, even if I knew it was unhealthy.

This internal battle is something that I have struggled with for the years that followed, and even still today. So you can imagine the issue that arose when I wanted to lose weight for our wedding without backsliding into a life of counting calories and countless tears.

So this is what I did.

I went to the gym, but I didn’t go everyday. Life is busy, and as much as I tried, I simply couldn’t get there as much as I wanted. On those days that I didn’t make it, I tried to always do some sort of at home 10-15 minute workout (there are probably 100 to choose from on Pinterest, so take your pick).

I stopped drinking beer. I didn’t give up red wine because I am not a saint— but beer is full of carbs (delicious carbs), so I put it aside. Plus, someone somewhere said that drinking a glass of red wine is the equivalent of going to the gym for an hour so that’s good enough for me!

I substituted Diet Coke with La Croix. Fortunately for me, La Croix flavored club sodas became trendy this year so everyone just thought I was super hip (doubtful). Unfortunately for me, I don’t think that I can ever drink Diet Coke again because I am fully aware that as soon as I sit its sweet elixir I’ll be done for.

I bought workout clothes. I know what you’re thinking— any opportunity to shop with this girl (and you’re not wrong), but hear me out. You know the phrase dress well test well? I’m all about that life. While I have been known to show up to the gym in a big t-shirt and leggings, I tend to feel more out of shape and self conscious when I do. I found myself staring at all of the women in their awesome workout clothes thinking “man, I wish I were as fit as them” until I realized that many of them actually weren’t— they were just dressing the part! So I went to the ole reliable clearance rack at Marshalls, bought myself some workout separates, and BAM! Jillian Michaels. Ok maybe not, but you get the idea.

And the last thing I did, and you’re gonna want to write this down because it’s a doozy….

I reminded myself everyday that Lee was marrying me for who I am now, not who I was in high school. He didn’t get down on one knee in front of a size 0 Victoria’s Secret model look alike, he got down on one knee in front of me. 5’2”, size 6 (sometimes an 8), sassafras who sometimes hides new clothes in the back of her closet and is always down for a Starbucks run.

Ladies, hear me when I say— your fella loves YOU. Big booty, little booty, short hair, long hair, and everything in between. Was I as small as I had hoped to be on my wedding day? No. Did Lee still cry when I walked toward him down the aisle? Like a little girl.

So if you want to change your eating habits and get a little healthier, do it! But don’t do it because the world tells you to be smaller, or to look like the girls in all of the wedding magazines. However you look, and whatever you weigh on your wedding day— that fella of yours will love you no matter what!

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