Wedding bells and wedding dresses mean a few things; love, celebration, finding a wedding venue and losing weight to fit into that perfect wedding dress. A woman’s wedding day may be the biggest day of her life and she wants to look her best and may even go through extreme challenges to reach her goal. Some studies have shown that 70% of women diet in order to fit into their wedding dress and brides-to-be are more likely to diet than the average woman. Most wedding diets are crash diets meaning that losing the most weight in the shortest amount of time is the ultimate goal. From juice cleanses, diet pills and intermittent fasting to meal plans and “fluid loading”, brides-to-be are going to extreme lengths to look picture perfect for their big day and many are not realizing these dieting techniques have a high incidence for the development of eating disorders.

The relationship between dieting and eating disorders

Studies have shown that dieting is a trigger for the development of eating disorders and popular weight loss trends associated with dieting force individuals to be consumed with calorie counting, weight loss, exercise and food restriction. The National Eating Disorders Association reports that 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting and that 20-25% of those individuals develop eating disorders.

There are many different types of diets and studies have shown that nearly 50 percent of all American adults are currently dieting and 90 percent of individuals who diet will regain their weight within five years.  Individuals who engage in binge eating are consumed with food and many try to engage in dieting and restricting behaviors in order to prevent additional weight gain however developing a healthy relationship with food and body image is a key concept in successfully overcoming binge eating disorder. Food restriction can be viewed as a diet subtype, whether you are reducing your caloric intake, burning more calories through exercise or eliminating specific food groups, it is merely the same thing as dieting. Many individuals view restricting food as eliminating food altogether however this is not true. Eliminating fats, sugars or carbohydrates are all different forms of “restrictive” diets that can trigger the development of an eating disorder or worsen the binge eating disorder at hand.

Eating disorders and the fashion industry

In the fashion and magazine world, dieting to fit into your wedding dress is not only acceptable but also encouraged. Times magazine ran a story in 2012 about a popular new diet plan called The K-E Diet also known as the feeding tube diet. This popular story followed the bride-to-be for eight days while she lived on a nasal feeding tube in order to consume carbohydrate-free, low-calories powder down her nose into her esophagus. The article failed to mention that feeding tubes are only used in live-saving medical settings and diets can be extremely dangerous. The public was outraged but also fascinated that the woman was able to lose as much weight as she did. Individuals who have a history of eating disorders may struggle with finding a wedding dress as society places pressure to lose weight in order to fit into the perfect dress. It is important to keep in mind that no dress or wedding is worth losing your health or your mental stability over.

Shopping for a wedding dress while in recovery

Just like shopping for any kind of clothing, wedding dress can be shopping if you are currently recovering from an eating disorder or even have a distant past with an eating disorder. The most important factor to keep in mind when shopping for a wedding dress is make sure you feel comfortable in the dress regardless what size you are. Do not allow yourself to diet and always keep a strong support system around as your wedding approaches. Your wedding should be a time of celebration, not a time to potentially relapse because of the size of your dream wedding dress.