weddings

'I was feeling great about my body. Then a friend told me to lose weight for a wedding.'

"You should try to lose some weight before the wedding."

I was catching up with a family friend when she offered that advice. 

“I’ll be right thanks,” I replied swiftly and then we sat in deafening silence. 

Watch: Taryn Brumfitt - I Am. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

Like most people I have a few weddings coming up. 

Weddings that have been postponed because of pandemic restrictions that are now suddenly happening, and like most people I have gained weight during lockdowns from less incidental exercise and also because Arnotts keep releasing limited edition flavours of Tim Tams and I live near Messina. 

Gaining weight isn’t a good or bad thing it just is. I’ve worked really hard not to attach emotion to my weight. 

I no longer base my life around diets or wondering how much sugar is in a piece of fruit. 

I no longer use words like ‘deserve’ or ‘earned’ when it comes to food and I don’t exercise to punish myself. 

I just live my life and eat as many strawberries and treats as I desire and I try to go on regular walks for my mental health. 

Gaining weight this pandemic hasn’t led to me feeling bad about myself. 

I still feel attractive, healthy and sexy and while some of my wardrobe might feel a little tight right now, I’m enjoying buying new clothes and I’m fine with the way my body is currently. (Plus, if I ever feel stuck for fashion inspiration I just google Lizzo.) 

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I’m not in any kind of urgent rush to change my body or shed any kilos. I’m happy plodding along and just enjoying the fact I can go to Ikea again just for fun! 

Still, when my family friend recommended I lose weight before a wedding it threw me. The first thing you tend to think is, “Do I look that bad?” The answer is always no.

When people make comments about your weight it is never about your body. It is all about the relationship they have with their own bodies - but that doesn’t mean it won’t hurt your feelings and no one wants to be told that their body currently isn’t worthy of attending an event. (I was receiving the same treatment Julia Roberts’ armpit hair copped in the 90s). 

When I was younger, I saw big events as a chance to debut the ‘new’ me. 

To offer up a new, smaller and more palatable version of myself that would make everyone happier. 

I come from a family where conversations about weight are as common as “pass the salt,” and I’d attempted diets before I’d even got my first period. 

So it has taken a lot of work to not constantly feel the urge to be smaller and to actually enjoy the stretch marked skin I occupy.

These days instead of trying to shrink myself before an event I just try to find an outfit that makes me feel fabulous. 

I focus less on depravation and more on designer. 

Speaking of, have a listen to this episode of What Are You Wearing? Mamamia's podcast for your wardrobe. Post continues after audio.


Yet the suggestion I should lose weight before a wedding stayed with me. 

I think partly because it reminded me diet culture is alive and well. While I have done the best to unfollow triggering Instagram accounts, it’s much harder to unfollow people that have been enmeshed in your life since you are a child. 

Even if you manage to disengage from mainstream diet culture, some women are still the foot soldiers for this culture and will find you and attack you with the theoretic regardless.

We’ve all worked with the woman that remarks on what you are having for lunch, or been friends with the girlfriend that gently suggests you try to be ‘healthier’ which always just means skinnier. 

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I think it also particularly bothered me because after lockdowns I was met with an influx of friends feeling bad about their bodies and needing reassurance that they still looked great with a bit of extra weight. 

You only have to log onto Facebook to see there’s been an influx of weight jokes surrounding the pandemic from, “Gaining The COVID-19,” to diets and workout plans now being targeted at, “losing lockdown weight”. 

Women are constantly being told to change and to shrink themselves and it feels like a more vulnerable time for body image than usual. Diet culture now has ammunition it knows women are feeling a bit more touchy. 

So, this is a time where the only advice we should be giving other women is how to love themselves and sharing the TikTok cheese pasta recipe - no criticising please. But if I’m honest, I think it bothered me the most because it made me feel bad. 

It made me go home and look in the mirror and feel extra critical of myself.

It made me angry at my thighs and my tummy and pretty much my whole body. 

It made me spiral for a few hours - wondering if I should maybe try a diet or a cleanse before the wedding and I felt angry that someone’s stupid words could have so much impact - even now. 

Even after therapy and changing my thinking and moving away from diet culture and into self acceptance and self fabulousness. 

Still, I’m lucky enough to have learned the tools to pull myself out of this spiral. To take deep breaths, to go for a walk, to say affirmations to myself. 

Lucky enough to remind myself that I am happy and healthy and my body is functioning and beautiful. These tools mean that when I attend this upcoming wedding without losing any weight, I will still feel fabulous and gorgeous and I’ll know my original, dismissive response was correct. 

I WILL be all right thank you very much. 

I’ll look so bloody right it might actually look like fabulous!

Feature Image: Instagram / @maryrosem

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