Pressure from family and friends is wedlocking women into weight gain. New research from Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, shows that the demands of those nearest and dearest to the brides-to-be encouraging her to lose weight actually had the opposite effect.
Although many newlyweds pile on the pounds post-nuptials once the stress of the big day is over, men and women will be surprised to hear that dieting is also a key factor in increased weight gain.
Ivanka Prichard, the lead researcher in the study, explains what the findings mean for women who are trying to slim down for their special day.
Where does the pressure for brides to lose weight come from?
Our research shows that it stems from a number of sources — mothers of the bride, their fiancé, friends, bridal dressmakers and the media.
How do these findings differ from past studies on post-wedding weight gain?
They highlight the importance of pressure from others to lose weight for a wedding: Women who had been told to lose weight for their big day actually gained closer to 9 pounds in the six months afterwards.
How did women who weren't under peer pressure fare?
They gained less weight – on average 4 pounds.
So, apart from pre-wedding dieting proving to be ineffective in the long term, what are the other dangers of extreme dieting?
Extreme dieting prior to the wedding could lead to eating disorders that continue later on. Any dietary changes in the lead-up to a wedding should be focused on healthy eating and something that is maintainable after the early days of marriage.
Is pre-wedding dieting actually detrimental to long term weight loss?
In general, research shows that weight gain is common after dieting. The best way to achieve long-term weight loss would be to modify health-related behaviors, such as increased physical activity and healthy eating, and maintain this change in the long term.