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When Rebecca Dobson first married the love of her life and father of her children, Andre, in 2004, she wore a size 20 ivory gown. She said her groom told her she looked beautiful, but she wasn't convinced. She was "just happy to finally be his wife." But when they decided to renew their vows seven years later, the mom of two was determined to do it in a size 14 instead -- even though she was wearing a size 30 at that point. The answer: Gastric bypass surgery, which her doctor recommended.
Rebecca, who told her story to the U.K.'s paper, The Mirror, said her initial reaction to the weight loss surgery wasn't a positive one ...
I was horrified. My food obsession was killing me. I’d always said I would lose the weight myself. The thought of going under the knife was terrifying but I had to go through with it. It had become so much more than just fitting into a wedding dress.
For Rebecca, it was about doing what she needed to do to be a healthy woman, mom, and wife. Her doctor even warned her she needed to do it if she wanted a greater chance of living past the age of 40. Wow. But while Rebecca's story is an extreme example of "getting fit to wed," the pressure she faced and put on herself to be as thin as possible on her wedding day(s) is something every bride faces. And it's getting worse. Recent research even showed that 80 percent of women feel there is too much pressure on them to be slim when they take the aisle.
As a bride who is six months out from her wedding day, I can definitely attest to this! I've always been hyperconscious and up and down with my weight, grappling with thyroid and adrenal issues since adolescence. But there's never been a time in my life when I've been more aware, focused, and in some ways, stressed about it. Because how you look on your wedding day is a Big Freakin' Deal.
While I'm determined to do everything in my power to be the fittest bride I can be (which currently includes following the Weight Watchers PointsPlus plan, working out with a trainer and on my own, trying to be more active overall, and cutting way back on sugar and simple carbs that just aren't worth it right now), I won't let the scale determine my ultimate happiness. Of course I want to look amazing, but I also want to feel amazing, and reach my own personal best. Not necessarily a size X or BMI Y or whatever anyone else dictates is best.
As for Rebecca, thanks to having the gastric bypass, she reached her "magic number" and eventually renewed her vows in a size 14 dress. Today she's a size 12. Amazing! But the most important part is by far how much healthier she is now -- and that she got "fit to wed" (again) in the way that was best for her.
What do you think of Rebecca's story? Do you think there's too much pressure on brides to be super-skinny?
Image via Francisco Osorio/Flickr