When I got engaged six months ago, I had never planned on becoming a girly bride and was not fussed about a traditional wedding. However, as soon as that ring goes on your finger, something strange happens. They start to call to you...the bridal magazines.
I was finally part of an exclusive club that could rightfully look inside the cover of those blissfully loved up mags without fear of looking desperate. Being someone's fiancé allowed me to pore over unashamedly mushy pages about invitations, photographers, shoes, dresses, all guilt free.
The best part was, they gave you access to the holy grail of voyeurism - other people's wedding photos. Believe me, you can tell a lot about a person from their choice of seat cover.
However in my bridal naivety, I scoffed at why some of these real women hadn't lost weight for their weddings. It was supposed to be the biggest day of your life. Why wouldn't you want to be thin?
Like most brides, I had instantly decided upon getting engaged to ditch all my unhealthy eating habits and lose buckets of weight. Being an obsessive yo-yo dieter all my adult life, I figured if I couldn't stick to a plan of action for this, I was never going to do it. So I cleared out our kitchen cupboards of anything fun, gave up carbs, took up power plating, and started to shift some unwanted pounds.
It was a personal decision to ditch the doughnuts, but as soon as we announced we were engaged, the questions from other women started to flood in. Not just about where and when we would get married or our views on releasing doves (we didn't if you're wondering), but what diet was I planning to follow? Had I sorted out which exercises to do so I had toned arms? Was I going to order a smaller dress size so I had to lose weight in order to get into it?
Women everywhere, even those I didn't really know or indeed had just met, seemed to be obsessed with what I was doing so I didn't wobble my way down the aisle.
Was I ditching carbs or sugar? Had I heard about this wrap you can have that makes you drop a dress size in an hour? Had I considered going on a bridal boot camp? And if I did slip up and give in to the odd chocolate brownie, people thought it was ok to comment -'should you really be eating that?'
The pressure was enormous. I was scared that if I didn't reach my dream weight, it would somehow hamper my day and I wouldn't enjoy it as much. I was staying awake at night worrying that people would laugh at me if I wasn't as thin as I should be, or that my new husband would be disappointed if I didn't look as good as I could have if only I'd tried a little bit harder and turned down that extra glass of wine.
In a new survey, 8 of 10 brides reported to feeling there was too much pressure on them to be slimmer, with the average UK bride losing 11lbs 3ozs. 1 in 10 of us shift a whopping 4 stone before we say 'I do'.
I managed 19lbs.
But was it worth it? Definitely. I felt confident and happy on my big day - pleased that I had never been as thin as I was at that point. But would my wedding have been any less special or would I have enjoyed it any less if I'd not lost any weight? Absolutely not.
I have a new found respect for those real life wedding magazine brides that put their foot down and somehow manage to ignore all the pressure and just stick to the belief that if your partner liked the look of you enough to propose, he will be happy to have that exact person for the rest of his life. And if he's not - you probably shouldn't be marrying him anyway.
And now the wedding is all a distant memory, I'm sure of two things. Firstly, that I will become part of another statistic that 1 in 3 brides put all their weight back on. And secondly, that you will NEVER see my pictures in a wedding magazine. Can someone pass me a cheese bap?
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