The New York Times reported today that brides are increasingly going on crash diets—they’re fairly late on the “trend,” but I’ll give them this: They found some incredibly horrifying examples to make me feel really depressed about weddings, women and body image. The worst being a 41-year-old Florida woman who went on a new “K-E diet,” an 800-calorie-per-day, zero-carbohydrate “diet” administered via feeding tube. As in, she paid her doctor $1500 to insert a feeding tube through her nose.
The Times article is not incredibly illuminating; it reads like a litany of common crash diet methods, including juice cleanses, the Dukan diet and HCG, weighing out the health risks and false claims of each method, and concluding that in the end, crash diets might not be so great (ya think?).
The article’s blase conclusion isn’t the only frustrating part; it’s also incredibly glib about the problematic reasons that so many brides crash diet to lose weight for weddings:
A 2007 Cornell University study by Lori Neighbors and Jeffery Sobal found that 70 percent of 272 engaged women said they wanted to lose weight, typically 20 pounds. So brides are increasingly going on crash diets, inspired by seeing celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker or Gwyneth Paltrow, cowed by the prospect of wearing a revealing and expensive gown and knowing that wedding photos (if not the marriage) are forever.
The Times doesn’t seem to see the problem with women feeling bad about their weight in the first place, or the fact that grown women feel compelled to mimic celebrities on their wedding day. Sure, crash dieting is bad, but that just means a bride should get to work sooner:
“I don’t want to tell a bride she shouldn’t look good for the wedding,” Dr. Aronne said. “But we tell them, ‘You can get to the same place if you started earlier, instead of waiting until the last minute and doing something drastic.’ ”
Look, they’re right: Women—brides included—can lose weight without developing eating disorders or having pathological body image issues. I get that. But crash diets aren’t any more mentally healthy than they are physically healthy, and the quest for physical perfection—even for just a single day—is just cause for general concern. Fitness coach ChiChi Kix succinctly noted the conundrum on Facebook earlier today:
Isn’t it funny, that the moment you find someone who loves you EXACTLY for who are you and who adores what you look like, we suddenly feel a desire to be perfect?
Who are we really losing the weight for? The lady or fella who’s already in love with us? The friends & family who don’t give a hoot? Or is it the pressure to make ourselves ”perfect” on our ”perfect” day?
Photo: ABC News