“How Much Weight Are You Losing for the Wedding?”

Gillian Sisley

A complex history of physical self-acceptance as a woman about to become betrothed.

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Photo by Spencer Dahl on Unsplash

Here’s something that gets under my skin — the number of people who, after asking when my wedding is, go on to say:

“Oh, and how much weight are you planning to lose by then?”

Funny thing is, I didn’t realize it got under my skin that much until my fiancé and I got into a little spat this weekend.

It didn’t escalate to a fight, because the comment that set me off had me saying, “Well that’s f*cking rude of you” while leaving the room to go angry-tidy the kitchen.

A few minutes later, my partner came down the stairs and apologized for upsetting me.

He then asked for clarification of why his comment triggered me so much.

“All I said was, ‘I just want you to be healthy.’”

Different lifestyles under one roof.

Here’s a visual for you.

When I was crushing hard on my partner before we started dating, I would scroll through his Instagram account multiple times a day.

While he was in the gym lifting weights, I was on the couch lifting a handful of popcorn into my mouth.

I fall below the “average” size for a North American woman. At a size 8-10, 5’8 at 160 pounds, I’m a very in-the-middle kind of build. My muffin top reminds me that I’ll never be cut out to be a model.

And that’s quite okay, because I’m very happy with my body.

That said, I have a complex and messy history with fitness, as most women do.

Starting from junior high, when my only motivation to exercise was to get skinnier so that the popular kids would like me, my self-image was negatively skewed most of my adolescent years.

I did dangerous crash diets that weren’t good for me just to achieve an ideal body shape that always seemed a little too far out of reach.

It was in the last years of my undergrad that I started pursuing fitness for the right reasons.

I started pursuing it for my health and happiness, and for the satisfaction of my soul. These days, I've very happy with where I’m at, and really, truly have a lot of love for my body.

I never thought I’d get to this place of acceptance in my lifetime.

Weddings bring out the worst in people.

I was bracing for myself to fall into an unhealthy, crash-diet obsessive state as I prepared for my wedding.

Instead, I looked at myself in the mirror the other day, sitting at about 153ish with the wedding 3 months away, and thought to myself,

“Yeah. I’m super content with how I look right now. I could totally get married in this body and be completely happy.”
That was a massive moment of self-love for me. I’m pleasantly surprised to see that I’ve come along way in terms of being comfortable with my body.

I’m happy with my current weight. According to my blood tests and doctor’s opinion, I’m in perfect health.

But that doesn’t stop people from being surprised when I tell them that I’m not actively looking to drop much more weight before the wedding.

Their shock, and disapproval, with my own comfort in my body, is always a punch in the gut.

That all played a role in why a simple comment became an argument this weekend.

Now, back to my fiance’s triggering comment.

My partner’s biggest hobby is fitness and health. All year ‘round, he’s hitting the gym at 5 am, summer or winter, rain or shine.

As for myself, I’m a jogger. I jog from spring to fall, and hibernate in the winter.

This is a fact he has a problem letting go of, because I’m not consistent with fitness all-year ‘round.

Since we’ve been engaged, our lifestyle has changed quite a bit. I’ve written about it in more detail in the article below:

I’m a Feminist, But Feel Like a 1950s Housewife

Is this reversed-misogyny in action?

medium.com

The current issue now is that my partner will not get off my case about why I’m not jogging yet, even though it’s already spring, nearing summertime.

His tagline until now has been,

“I challenge you with this because I care. I just want you to be healthy.”

This weekend was the final straw for me.

I’d heard that phrase one too many times.

“You need to stop with that. I AM healthy. I cook the both of us well-balanced meals every damn day, and eat zero processed foods. My blood tests and my doctor can confirm that I am an exceptionally healthy woman.
And for the first time in my life, I have a positive relationship with my weight and my body. It took a hell of a lot of work to get to this point. I am HAPPY. I will start jogging WHEN I AM READY to do so. As I have done every single summer, for the last 5 years, plenty of time before you came along.
You need to stop nagging me, stop telling me that what I’m doing isn’t good enough and just let me be ME and do my own thing. Everytime you pick at me, you’re making my fitness about you, and you’re telling me I’m not doing good enough at loving myself.”

My partner, as a privileged white male, has not encountered the same societal pressures as I have as a women.

The pressures which are essentially telling women we should hate ourselves, and never be satisfied with our own bodies.

At times, it can be very difficult to get it through to him that before anything else, my mental health needs to be well-aligned and founded in self-love in order to pursue my fitness lifestyle in a positive way.

And that by nagging at me, he’s actually deterring me from hitting the concrete.

“Just let me do me. Give me the space to do that, as I’ve done years before you came along to nag me about it.”

Final word.

Why have I not started jogging yet, despite the warm weather?

Easy — as the wedding approaches, I am ever aware that when I think about going for a jog, there’s a little voice in my head that is encouraging me to go do it for the wrong reasons.

That little voice, bridging off of the voices of people in my life and society’s unhealthy expectations, is prompting me to go for a run so that I can get SKINNIER before I get married.

I promised myself years ago that I would only ever work out for the right reasons. Those reason being:

  1. for my own self-fulfillment
  2. to be healthier overall
  3. to practice self-love

After years upon years of exercising for the wrong reasons, I refuse to reinforce negative thoughts of behaviour.

And as long as exercising exists in my life and nudges at me for the wrong reasons, I will not enable it.

That’s why I just need my partner and others to stop feeding into this negative and vicious cycle of guilting myself into exercising for reasons which compromise my mental health and own self-love.

Because I would love to get back to jogging… but I only want to be doing it for the right reasons.

I want to be jogging for myself, and not for anything or anyone else.

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