The Wedding Diet (For the Rest of Your Life)
When Liz and I got engaged, our thoughts flew ahead to the day of the wedding. Within days of “yes”, we started speculating about what we would do, who we would invite, and (because vanity strikes even the best of us) how we would look.
Now hypothetical wedding planning has never been an idle pleasure of mine, so thinking about the wedding feels quite new. I don’t have a Pinterest board entitled “One day” filled with white dresses. I don’t have preconceived notions about flowers, bridesmaid dresses, or the veil I want to wear. But as I’ve started to reflect, there is one expectation of my wedding that I have harbored all these years. And it’s an ambition that, after watching a cavalcade of wedding photos parade down my newsfeed, I’m confident I share with many other stunning brides-to-be: Whatever outfit I buy, whatever hairstyle I pick out, and whatever shoes I find, I want to look fit, skinny, and frankly, freaking amazing for my wedding.
There, I said it. It’s the definition of vanity (which I find embarrassing), but it’s true.
While fessing up to the ambition of looking ridiculously good on my wedding day, I’ll also admit that it feels strange to limit my ambition to one day and one dress. It’s curious to crash diet to fit into a beautiful dress and then spend the rest of your life on what seems to be an inevitable march to gaining it all back (and more). I have so much dietary motivation driven by this pending event. More than I’ve ever had or likely will again. Can’t I use that to create something better than just a handful of compliments and some fantastic wedding photos? I want to harness this primordial force – this bride-to-be ambition – to create something that lasts. Quite simply, I want a wedding diet not just for the benefit of one day, but one that will support me as I tackle the rest of my married life. I want to use this energy to fight against the dietary challenges that will come with age, childbirth, life with children, and, frankly, the complacency of getting hitched.
Enter my lifestyle experiment: “The Wedding Diet (For The Rest Of Your Life)” The idea is to use the months between my engagement and my wedding to figure out what works for my body long-term. My goal is no longer dieting in order to show off an enviable figure for one, glorious day. Instead, my more ambitious goal is to use this in-between time to reset my eating patterns for the rest of my life.
Each month until my wedding I’ll give up a different food selected from the category of “things-that-are-incredibly-delicious-yet-alleged-to-do-something-horrible-to-your-body.” Yes, you know what I mean: dairy, meat, carbs, sugar, processed foods, alcohol, ya da, ya da, ya da. Basically all the good stuff. I’ll cut that category out for the first twenty-five days, then slowly reintroduce for the tail-end of the month, evaluating how it makes me feel. Do I feel lighter or heavier? Do I gain weight, lose weight, or stay the same? I’ll admit now that this won’t be the world’s perfect lifestyle experiment. I’m not going to control for every variable and I’m not going to live in a vacuum for the sake of blog-worthy science. But I am going to do a sincere investigation while still living like a normal human being. I’ll attempt to eat, sleep and exercise ‘normally.’ And on the honeymoon, I’ll put it all together into a diet that’s tailored to me.
The whole idea here is that a diet should be individual. As a Californian, I’ve variously heard friends praising the virtues of vegetarian, vegan, paleo, gluten-free, sugar-free, high fructose corn syrup-free, raw, and everything else possible. Do I believe they have seen results? Absolutely. And do I believe that they would work for me? I frankly have no idea. Since our bodies look different, act different, and feel different, it seems curious to think that the same diet would make sense for all of us. Instead of subscribing to someone else’s formula for health, I’m going to find my own.
And with that, welcome to July, hereby dubbed “The Month Without Dairy.” I look forward to keeping you posted; in the meantime, feel free to leave comments about what you suggest giving up – from your personal experience and/or the scientific/pseudo-scientific diet reading you’ve done.
With love (and, from here through August, always without cheese),