As a personal trainer, I have worked with my fair share of brides-to-be. In fact, this type of client in particular is my favorite.
Their dedication to appointments is unwavering. Losing weight is usually her top priority, and she attends every session. It's a trainer’s dream!
However, on a personal level, I have yet to entertain the idea of marriage (another story for another day). So I, myself, have no idea what the “pressure” these ladies say they are under is all about.
But what I can tell you is body-image issues are a serious problem amongst brides.
The pressure to look and feel good on what society has made us believe is “the most important day of our lives” is unreal.
Fitting in that dress down to the very inch is crucial; no crease is left behind.
My bride clients are my hardest workers, but they are also the most self-critical and stressed-out clients I have. And I train investment bankers.
What nerves me is I come from a profession where women are constantly dealing with body-image issues on a daily basis.
And, as it turns out, your health is a year-round thing, not a six-month crash diet (and I hate to tell you, but most brides gain all the weight, if not more back).
But wedding season, in particular, hits women hard.
The ongoing theme to be super thin on that day makes you take a step back and think, “Why is it so important to look so good on that one day?”
After all, you are going to be with this person the rest of you life, and in time, you and your partner are going to discover that gravity is a bitch and inevitably unforgiving on our bodies as we age.
Although the market’s approach on glorifying “skinny women” is archaic at best, women still buy into it, especially because they're vulnerable.
Thanks, sexist America.
Mainstream America is making money off this, and the market knows exactly how. And this is the problem.
This is what causes the detox, I-don’t-eat, I-run-every-day frenzy we like to call wedding prep.
This is what causes the pressure for women to be skinny. It’s everywhere. It’s on TV; it’s in magazines, and it's on social media.
In my opinion, social media platforms that are image oriented, such as Instagram, have only made the market more saturated.
At the end of the day, the notion that you have to be at your “best” on your wedding day is created by society in order to make money.
Women have to realize they are a part of a much bigger picture than this. You are marrying your spouse, not your wedding pictures.
And, yet, that is still the number one thing I hear: “I want to look great in my photos because I will have those forever.”
One problem with this kind of pressure is that it absolutely permeates the market for those getting married.
It’s everywhere you turn, and eventually, subconsciously, you are going to be affected.
But, what’s more alarming to me is the market runs through a sick process to get you to buy into it.
During this time, women are stressed, physically and financially. And do you know what stress leads to? Vulnerability. And do you know what vulnerability leads to?
Desperation. And, well, in the end? Desperation opens up that wallet.
When the market can sense a weakness in women, it steps in and controls every aspect of it. Where do you think wedding tag lines like, “Bridal Boot Camp,” come from?
It’s all created to instill beliefs and values for wedding day expectations.
Time magazine reports that on average, Americans spend about $31,213 on a wedding. That's a huge expense.
There are so many dress companies and advertising companies that want a chunk of an expense you have to spend. They're fighting for you.
And you have to get married, so they know they will get their money somehow.
Shows like “Say Yes to the Dress” and magazines like Brides maintain the imagery of "thin." It is the only consistent theme in the market.
Women buy into it because it’s all that is portrayed.
I would like to just come out with a public service ad to tell women they are much more than “thin.” But I can’t. I am up against a much stronger beast.
The wedding market is full-force and women fall into it all the time.
So, while I love my brides, it still pains me I never see them after their weddings.