“Brideorexia” is the newest eating disorder on the block. Coined in response to the way brides-to-be are using unhealthy ways to lose large amounts of weight, a brideorexic is a bride who risks her long term health in the attempt to look slim and svelte for her wedding day.
Most recently the Brits became concerned when Prince William’s then fiancee, Katherine Middleton seemed to be rapidly slimming down in front of their eyes. After watching William’s mother, Princess Di, and her fight with eating problems and its co-morbidities, seeing Katherine Middleton (now Prince William’s bride) losing pounds almost daily in the tabloids became a concern.
Today’s brides (royal or not) are bombarded with advertising for ways to weigh less and slim down for their wedding. If they were hovering on the edge of anorexia, getting engaged can push them over the edge into Brideorexia and possibly long term anorexic behaviors in an attempt to fit into a bridal gown sizes smaller than they usually wear. To add insult to injury the makers of bridal gowns size them so if you are usually a size eight, their dress only fits you in a size 12. Talk about making a woman feel fat!
We also have television shows like Shedding for the Wedding and new exercise programs designed just for brides known as ‘bridal boot camps.’ In prior years you saw articles about ‘losing baby weight’ in women’s magazines, but bridal magazines had little or no discussion about weight loss. Now bridal magazines have taken up the ‘lose weight’ chant. They’ve also picked up advertising dollars by littering their ad pages with ads for everything from exercise programs (like the aforementioned bridal boot camps) to ads for products like liquid diets or ads for your local gym. Wedding magazines also have articles encouraging brides-to-be to lose those pre-wedding pounds and suggesting ways to do it.
A research group at Cornell said approximately 70% of brides-to-be are concerned about losing weight for their weddings. Most want to lose about 20 pounds, but some want to lose more. Some brides-to-be don’t just want to slim down; they want to lose an unhealthy amount of weight using unhealthy means. The 10% who tip over into Brideorexia use things like extreme liquid diets, laxatives and extreme exercise programs that are designed to work off every calorie they consume and more.
A healthy bride is a beautiful bride. Brides-to-be need to concentrate on healthy eating habits. If this results in weight loss because they’ve corrected poor eating habits and late night pizza binging that can only result in a healthier bride. But the brides whose new food group is laxatives are on a slippery slope to full blown anorexia after the wedding. Brideorexia can take a formerly slightly overweight bride and turn her life into one that mirrors the that of Karen Carpenter and other famous anorexics.
So if you’re planning on getting married be aware of the pitfalls of Brideorexia. If you want to lose pounds (and dress sizes) find a healthy eating program and combine it with a healthy exercise program. Talk to your physician and have him monitor your weight loss and suggest appropriate life style modifications in eating and exercise. And speaking of exercise(even though I’m not getting married…I’m off to the gym! Bye!