As a young girl, I had a dream I would meet my soulmate, fall madly in love, and strut down the aisle in a pretty dress, surrounded by all my favourite people.
Do you know what I didn't dream about, all those years ago?
I didn't dream I'd be standing in the middle of a bridal shop, about to order The Dress, when I heard the words:
"So, how much weight are you planning to lose before the wedding?"
How much what, now?
In that split second, I began to second guess myself. The years I'd spent healing my relationship with food started to unravel.
How much weight am I going to lose?
Do I need to lose weight?
Is she saying I look fat?
Maybe this isn't the right dress.
I really wish I didn't eat that sandwich for lunch.
I should have had the salad.
I composed myself, and turned to face the shop assistant, "I don't intend to lose any weight before the wedding, but I'm not sure what size I'll need. Do you have a tape measure?"
Despite her poor choice of words, I don't hold this exchange against the shop assistant. If online forums, wedding magazines and my friends are to be believed, the pre-wedding weightloss regime is at the top of the to do list for many brides.
But it's not for me. Here's why:
For years, I battled to shrink my body. I counted calories, calculated points, and saved my syns for a weekend binge. I ditched bread, cut out sugar, and avoided nights out with my friends. I threw up when I'd eaten too much. I lost weight, but I was miserable. It didn't matter how much the number on the scales dropped, I was never happy.
Controlling my food had become more than a bid to get healthy and feel happier in my own skin. It was now a coping mechanism for everything else that was going wrong in my life - and it was far from healthy. But I was good at it.
Then one day, something changed.
I fell in love with someone who asked difficult questions, and listened as I muddled through the answers. From day one, he got me to open up about things I'd never spoken about before - and I started to open up to the possibility life could be different.
I wondered, if he could love me as I was, despite my flaws, why couldn't I?
Something in my mind shifted. I decided, not only was I worthy of his love, but I was worthy of my own love, too.
It took me a long time to change the destructive food habits I'd created over the years, but self-love won in the end. I'm in a much better place now. I eat food that nourishes my body, but I'm not afraid to indulge in a little soul food when I fancy. I try to take care of my body, because it's the only one I've got, but I enjoy life too. That's what it's all about, right?
It's easy to get sucked into the glossy pages of wedding magazines, or the endless Pinterest boards. But the truth is, my wedding doesn't have to be Insta-Perfect or Pinterest-Worthy - and neither do I.
Ditching the idea of perfection has been a big part of my step towards more self-love - and it's something I'm still working on today.
So no, I haven't tried to lose weight for my wedding.
When I walk down that aisle next weekend, I get to marry my best friend, and that's pretty awesome. My husband-to-be isn't going to be worrying if I'm carrying a few extra pounds, or thinking about the cupcake I ate three weeks ago.
Our guests won't be, either. Have you ever been to a wedding, and scrutinised the bride's weight? I'm guessing not. But, if you have, I think it says more about your own insecurities than it does about the bride.
For me, a wedding isn't about perfectly coordinated colour schemes, elaborate menus, or shrinking yourself into a dress.
It's a celebration of love. And that's what I'll be focusing on - not the number on the scales.Suggest a correction