The dress has been seen, the vows have been said and now the Duchess of Cambridge (née Kate Middleton) is off to start her life of waving and breaking champagne bottles over ships, or whatever royal people do. And as wedding season is well underway for regular folk, it’s safe to say that common-people brides still want to look just like Kate for their big day. But perhaps that’s not an entirely healthy aspiration.
In my web travels today, I came across this article in Time Magazine that explores the idea that the freshly-minted princess might have been suffering from "brideorexia". That’s a new term for me, but it’s defined in Urban Dictionary (my go-to source for made-up pop-culture words) as, "When a bride goes overboard trying to get skinny for her wedding day." Kate reportedly dropped from a size 10 in university to a size 6, and has received much media praise for her "streamlined" figure.
No matter how much the press scrutinizes Kate’s every body part, we can’t know if the reason for her reported weight loss was, in fact, the biggest wedding on Earth. However, pre-wedding weight loss is de rigueur for many brides-to-be. Want proof: Just look at the dozens of bridal boot camps that pop up in your neightbourhood every spring. Then there’s the plethora of wedding weight-loss shows, the most alarming of which is the slim-down competition, Shedding for the Wedding.
But is losing weight for your wedding unhealthy? Peter Wehrwein, editor of the Harvard Health Blog, interviewed a researcher who studied the bridal weight-loss phenomenon and found that 70 percent of the bridal-show registrants he interviewed reported that they wanted to lose at least 23 pounds. still, he told the blog, ‘I think brideorexia is hyperbole…We didn’t really see it." That’s because most of those women wanted to lose a "healthy” amount of weight and reported doing so in reasonable ways such as exercising and eating less food, Wehrwein writes.
But here’s the problem as I see it: 70 percent of brides-to-be polled for the study were not happy with their bodies. That’s a lot of women who are striving to change their looks, and that’s what’s most worrisome for me. Perhaps one could argue that these women were all overweight and used their wedding as inspiration to live a healthier lifestyle. But I tend to think that, with all the pressure on brides to trim down, most of them were striving to look princess-perfect for their big day. More disturbing still: 14 percent of those brides confessed to using unhealthy methods, such as diet pills and starvation to drop the pounds.
Do you think it’s healthy to want to lose weight before your wedding, or do you see brideorexia as a troubling phenomenon?