From the first few moments the ring was on your finger to the hours just before you say, “I do,” it’s likely you will intermittently experience some body negativity. Women everywhere suffer from intrusive thoughts about their bodies — that they are not slim enough, not toned enough, not tall enough, or simply not good enough. It makes sense that you should be nervous about how you look at an event where all eyes will almost certainly be on you.
On one hand, if your wedding finally motivates you to begin a healthier lifestyle, then you should embrace that desire to get fit. On the other hand, even the fittest women experience poor self-esteem. Instead of focusing entirely on how you look compared to others, you should strive to feel more confident in who you are.
Unfortunately, gaining a positive body image is a bit trickier than spending two straight hours on the treadmill or eating salad exclusively. Fortunately, this guide should give you the best tricks to loving yourself long before your Big Day, so you will look and feel confident the day you say your vows and beyond.
Replace Negative Thoughts
Psychologists call this practice cognitive restructuring and use it therapeutically to help patients reduce anxiety, think realistically, and cope with difficult thoughts and memories. Ultimately, the goal is to replace your negative thoughts with positive ones to gain a healthier outlook on issues that cause you stress.
The process is relatively simple: Whenever you have a negative thought, interrupt that thought and exchange it with a positive one. For example, when you think “My shoulders are too wide,” you can replace it with “My shoulders are strong and help me carry heavy burdens.” Cognitive restructuring requires mindfulness, which means you need to practice paying attention to potentially harmful thoughts. Your body negativity can come in many forms, including jealousy of other people. However, if you are diligent about supplanting your negative thoughts with positive ones, you will likely be much happier with who you are.
Stop Weighing and Measuring
Say it with me: “I am not a number.”
Because every person is utterly unique, data from scales and measuring tapes mean almost nothing. Two women might both weigh 145 pounds and look completely different; they might both have 30-inch waists and feel completely different about their bodies. Numbers do not define your worth; they do not explain your kindness or humor; and they will never help you feel better about yourself in the long run. Weighing and measuring quickly becomes an obsession, and you will feel much better by ending that mania right now.
Invest in Your Dress
It’s amazing what a well-fitting dress can do to boost your confidence levels. Truly, it isn’t the numerical size that matters in a wedding gown, but the comfort and contentment you feel when you slip it on. Thus, you should invest time and energy into finding the perfect dress for your Big Day.
It’s ludicrous to put off buying a wedding dress until you’ve achieved your dream body. While a wedding is a great motivator, bodies don’t change in a flash, and the stress of planning your event will likely impede your progress toward your fitness goal. Instead, you should work to find a dress that makes you feel radiant in the skin you’re in — which starts with choosing dresses that fit.
You can peruse pages of gorgeous plus-size wedding dresses online if you don’t yet feel comfortable trying them on at a boutique. While you shop, you should remember your goal of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones and bear in mind that measurements are simply tools, not designations of your worth.
Practice Power Poses
While Amy Cuddy’s famous Ted Talk about power posing might have been misrepresentative of the truth, effecting confident stances does have some impact on how people perceive you. You don’t want to look meek and unhappy in your wedding photos, but if your shoulders slump and your head hangs, you will come off as miserable and insecure. Even if power poses don’t make you feel any more self-assured, they will make you look poised and in-control — which is the essence of beauty.
In the weeks leading up to your wedding, you should spend some time looking into the mirror and getting comfortable with how you look. During this time, you can practice striking poses. It may feel silly, but it will familiarize you with your best angles and expressions, so your wedding day photos will look amazing.