At 35 years old, I’m one of the last of my close friends to get married. I remember watching each and every one of them whittle themselves down to their thinnest selves for their weddings. So when I finally got engaged a little more than a year ago, I relished the idea of planning my workouts and meals and getting in the best shape of my life before the big day. I would shed as I’ve never shed before! I had a month-by-month plan to do so. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
I’m not overweight, and I’ve always been a relatively healthy person. However, once I got engaged, I went down a rabbit hole. I spent hours staring at willowy Instagram models in formfitting wedding dresses and googling terms like “wedding diet” and “bridal boot camp.” Even when I went wedding-dress shopping, both I and the woman working there held the assumption that I would lose weight before the wedding. I liked the way the dress looked when I tried it on, but I wanted to love the way it looked months later.
I started off 2020 trying to outline what my weight-loss plan would be. I chose a workout studio I’d go to religiously and splurged on a pricey unlimited membership to get the results I desired. Then, my shedding-for-the-wedding plan came to a halt. My favorite workout studios shuttered, and even the wedding planning itself was put on pause.
Months before our scheduled September wedding, I knew in my gut we would have to reschedule. My concerns shifted from planning a wedding to finding a new date that would work for our vendors and letting our family and friends know about the change. I wondered when normal life would resume. As my anxiety about the future grew, the progress I had made on my fitness goals came undone.
What I want so much more now is to be able to hug my friends and family. To be able to dance close with everyone I love.
We pushed our wedding to Memorial Day weekend of 2021. Now that the new year is here, there’s still uncertainty about whether we can have the wedding we want. When I envision my wedding, I imagine myself looking toned and beautiful. However, what I want so much more now is to be able to hug my friends and family. To be able to dance close with everyone I love. To be able to take photos with my arms wrapped around my friends. I want to celebrate finding my person and be able to do so with the many special people in my life. I’d gain weight if it meant we could have the pre-COVID wedding we imagined.
I’m starting this new year focused on my health, as opposed to weight loss. I’ve always used exercise as a means of stress relief, and I need that now more than ever. I work out to feel better. I lift weights so I can get stronger, prepping to one day lift up the children I hope to have. Instead of restricting calories, I’m eating well so I can stay healthy during this continued pandemic.
I’m nowhere near my initial goal weight, but just yesterday, my fiancé turned to me and told me I looked beautiful. Sweatpants on, hair undone, makeup-free. Isn’t that what getting married is truly about? Feeling loved and beautiful, no matter the number on the scale.