Mallory Schlossberg says that her relationship with her body, like most women's, is pretty weird. Growing up, she was super self conscious and obsessed with being thin.
She says there were also times later in life when she would indulge herself, but she never gained so much weight to "look truly heavy."
Eventually, she reached a happy, zen-like state when it came to her mindset about her body. She ate healthfully, exercised regularly and got enough sleep — the triple threat of a healthy lifestyle, right?
But then Mallory got engaged, and that body-positive imagery went out the window.
"I had to get a #bridebody," she wrote on Redbook. "There is no other industry on earth that is simply built around telling women that, sure, you are pretty enough to get engaged, but are you hot enough to have ten thousand photos taken of you? Don't you want to spend the next 14 months of your life morphing your body into an alien version of yourself, depriving yourself of all the joy that led you to this very moment so that you get to be a dress-size smaller for five hours — all before gorging yourself on your honeymoon?"
Click through to read more about Mallory's journey to her bride body.
So Mallory set out to get her bride body.
"Convinced that I wouldn't look like a true bride unless I dropped a dress size and could cook a pancake on my stomach, I attempted to diet," Mallory wrote. "Whole30? I tried it. Paleo? You bet. MyFitnessPal? Downloaded. And while every week would start off pretty well, I'd usually cave into something before Friday, whether it be from hunger, functioning as a human being, or simply celebrating. I wanted a glass of wine at the end of a long work day. I craved sweet potato fries when I was about to get my period. And chocolate? That looked – and yep, tasted — pretty damn good."
Much to her frustration, the months flew by and when it was time for her dress fitting, she hadn't attained her "bride body."
"At first, I was furious with myself. How could I have had no self discipline? I was disappointed that I, unlike brides that have been and brides that would come, was not at my thinnest, my most sculpted, my most plastic."
But guess what? Mallory realized that although she wasn't as toned and sculpted as she set out to be, it didn't matter.
"Much like the body-positive adage 'all you need to have a bikini body is to put a bikini on a body,' I told myself that I already had a bridal body. If I was a bride and I had a body, then I was ready for the dress."
Mallory says that if she could go back and change her diet habits or workout routines leading up to the wedding, she wouldn't have changed a thing.
"In retrospect, I wouldn't have taken back having celebratory drinks. I wouldn't have taken back nice meals out. And I wouldn't have taken back the fact that I didn't obsess over every little thing that went into my mouth, or mask myself from society to become a gym rat," she said.
"No, I'm not as thin as I was in high school, but guess what? I'm not in high school! It would be weird (and, honestly, sad) if I was still stuck in that time capsule."
After Mallory obsessed over her wedding photos, she said her body "looks different depending on what photo it is — sort of like how those #fitspo posts on Instagram tell you it's all about ~angles~. It's true!"
And all in all, Mallory writes that your wedding day should be about how you feel.
"I still remember how I felt that day: god------ gorgeous, without a single worry about what my body looked like. Instead, I was floating around on a high, marrying the man I love, surrounded by people I care about."
At the end of the day, Mallory wants other engaged women to take some pressure off themselves and stop obsessing over the perfect "bride body."
"There shouldn't be an emphasis on skinny or, really, becoming someone you're not," Mallory says. "Rather, it should be on being the healthiest version of yourself. Because, yes, I work out and some days think about what it'd be like to be a little more toned. But I'm so much happier on the days I decide not to punish my body for not being like somebody else's."
"And ultimately, the reason it was so hard to get my 'bride body' is because — spoiler alert — it doesn't exist. It's simply an idea that you, as you are, aren't enough. Which, in my very honest opinion, is bull----. I am enough, my body was enough on my wedding day, it's enough today, and it will always be enough. Even when I need help getting to the bathroom someday."