Singer and Weight Watchers spokesperson Jessica Simpson married fiancé Eric Johnson over the July 4th weekend—and though we’re still waiting on the photos, we know for sure that her body was slamming: In the months leading up to her wedding, she reportedly lost 60+ pounds (!!!). Yes, some of that was weight she’d put on with her second pregnancy, but she’s also said that the wedding was extra incentive to stick to her diet and workout routine.
And no wonder: These days, even women who aren’t on magazine covers are feeling the pressure to drop as many pounds as they can before walking down the aisle. From a reality TV series called Shedding for the Wedding to Buff Brides boot camps, it’s as if losing weight is as mandatory for marriage these days as the groom.
As a bride-to-be myself, I’ve been asked numerous times whether I’m going on some crazy diet in preparation for the big day. My answer: Nope. Could I stand to lose a few pounds? Absolutely. Would I like to look tiny and toned in my wedding photos? Totally; I admit it. But I refuse to live on kale and quinoa for the next few months just to fit into the smallest dress possible. Here are five reasons why:
I’m stressed enough.
Planning a wedding (and a honeymoon!) on top of a full-time job is hectic as it is. The last thing I have time for right now is upping my hours at the gym, adopting a whole new eating plan, or counting every single calorie.
I’m older and wiser.
I’ve been overweight since before I can remember, and have spent my whole life battling issues of self-worth as a result. It’s taken more than 30 years for me to finally learn that being smaller doesn’t necessarily equal happiness: I’ve been super insecure when thin, and now that I’m at my highest weight ever, I also happen to be at my most confident. I never want to tie my self-esteem to a number on the scale again.
I’m already living a healthy lifestyle.
Don’t get me wrong—I don’t sit around eating burgers and fries all day. In fact, I go to the gym 3 to 4 times per week, have normal blood pressure and cholesterol numbers, sleep well, floss daily, wear sunscreen, and am handling my wedding stress pretty well (at least I think so!). Even though I have weighed less in the past, I know some of the pounds I have on me now are due to the muscle I’ve put on through strength training—not a bad tradeoff, as far as I’m concerned.
I love food.
Some people say that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. You know what? Cheese tastes pretty damn good. Sharing a bottle of rosé on a rooftop with my best girlfriend feels good, too. Sorry not sorry. To me, eating healthy means balancing the essential good-for-you stuff (salads for lunch, fruit as a snack) with the food I love (bagels on Sundays, veggie pizza for dinner). My philosophy is, “Everything in moderation.” Nobody’s perfect. Why drive yourself nuts trying to pretend you can be?
I don’t think how I look should be the most important thing about my wedding day (gasp!).
Starving myself to fit into a single-digit gown size would just make me hangry and irritable, and the last thing I want to be is a dreaded Bridezilla. I’m healthy and happy. I make an effort every day to eat right, stay fit, take care of my body, and accept myself as I am. I may not be the skinniest bride-to-be, but I’m about to marry the best guy in the entire world. And that makes me the luckiest.
Camille Chatterjee is the Deputy Editor of Health magazine.