While you might think that losing a few pounds before your Big Day will help you look PICTURE PERFECT, crash dieting can wreak havoc on your life, according to Charlie Seltzer, M.D., a weight-loss specialist based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Hilary Silver, a licensed therapist and relationship expert based in Denver, Colorado. Here’s why you shouldn’t cut calories like crazy before you walk down the aisle:
1. It can make dress fittings a nightmare. While normal weight fluctuations won’t drastically affect the way a wedding dress fits, your tailor will want to kill you if she has to take in your dress multiple times.
2. It can turn you into a nightmare. You’ve never met a hungry bride who’s also happy because they do not exist.
3. It’s excruciating for your partner. Crash dieting is like slo-mo self-destruction. “It’s painful to watch someone you love not know their self-worth, make poor choices for their health, and not take good care of themselves,” Silver explains.
4. You have enough to stress about. As anyone who’s ever gotten married will tell you: Wedding planning is a pain in the ass. If seating arrangements, bridesmaid drama, and honeymoon planning don’t put you over the edge, calorie-counting almost definitely will. And stress hormones, which muster up killer cravings for rich comfort foods, can make it extra difficult to stick to a diet.
5. You need your energy. Many people say wedding planning is a full-time job – and you need extra energy to make ends meet. But a super-low-calorie diet deprives you of energy by definition. So it won’t really help.
6. It could make your workouts less effective. If your paltry diet leaves you without energy to lick invitation envelopes, you won’t stand a chance at the gym (which is an awesome place to blow off steam from wedding stress).
7. It won’t necessarily make you look better in your dress. Extremely low-calorie diets might help you lose a few pounds, but that weight tends to come from water, explains Dr. Seltzer. This deflates your muscles, which means your arms could lose that sexy definition that you’ve been working on since the moment you got engaged.
8. It can make your fiancÃ© feel insecure. Your preoccupation with weight loss can seriously impact a partner who never thought twice about his weight. Watching you stick to salads can make him feel self-conscious about his diet and his body.
9. It can mess with your cycle. Paired with mounting stress on the days leading up to your wedding, crash dieting can cause hormonal changes that mess with your regular cycle. When you’re all dressed in white on your wedding day, the last thing you need is to worry about is getting a surprise period.
10. It can make you super needy. As unhealthy as it may be, many people tend to eat for emotional comfort. Deprive yourself of that sweet, salty, or savory crutch, and you may find yourself putting extra pressure (or higher demands) on your partner – who’s probably dealing with his own pre-wedding jitters already.
11. You’ll be that drunk bride. If your crash diet entails cutting out alcohol altogether and you manage to lose a few pounds, you may lose your alcohol tolerance too. So after your first glass of Champagne hits you like a brick, all bets are off.
12. It can seriously ruin your honeymoon – and set you up for health issues when you become a wife. When you cut back on calories for an extended period of time, your metabolism slows down and burns fewer calories. The second you break your crazy-low calorie diet (from the first bite of wedding cake to the last margarita on your honeymoon), you’ll gain back the weight you lost pretty quickly, which can be pretty upsetting for a newlywed who’s been fixated on weight loss for months. And rapid weight gain is unhealthy no matter what your marital status.
13. When you see your wedding photos, you’ll focus on your weight. If you made your weight your top priority every day leading up to your wedding, then it’s bound to remain top of mind even after the big day. Whether it’s “I’ll never be as thin as I was at my wedding!” or, “My arms look so fat,” your preoccupation could easily muddle the memories.
14. There are much better reasons to lose weight. Assuming you can physically walk down the aisle, you certainly don’t need to lose weight for your wedding.
15. It can mess with your memory. You probably want to remember your wedding day quite clearly. But starving your body of calories – particularly those from carbs – can make some people’s minds a little foggy.
16. It could put a damper on the Big Day. If you wake up on your wedding day weighing a few pounds more than you wanted to, you’ll risk feeling like a total failure. (Not a great start.)
17. It distracts you from the fun stuff. A preoccupation with pounds makes you less present and less able to enjoy the fun stuff that comes with wedding planning. For instance: Do you really want to be counting calories during cake tastings?
18. It can trigger serious fights … over food. It can be super hard to support your partner’s weight loss efforts regardless of impetus. But before a wedding, when you’re already on edge, his efforts to help (“I thought you were cutting out sugar?”) can snowball into a hurtful argument – even if it does come from a place of love.
19. It can make you less fun. When you turn down your fiancÃ©’s invitations for dinner or drinks because you’re watching your calories, he might miss the fun girl he used to date before he popped the question.