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Brides Share Why They Said "I Don't" to Weight Loss

I Wanted More Than a Temporary Fix

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For Stephani Johnson, feeling her best on her wedding day meant a lot more than weight loss—especially since she suffers from a gluten and dairy intolerance. Plus, she knew dropping major pounds was unrealistic for her. "Diets for a specific occasion have worked for me in the past—temporarily," says Johnson. "But once I started making lifestyle changes, that's when I saw my body transform." Besides a three-day juice cleanse to refresh her healthy habits a few months before the big day, eating whole foods and walking her dog helped her feel great—on her wedding day and beyond. "The wedding day is not about how much you weigh," she says. "Our bodies are beautiful the way they are made, and if we treat them right, we'll be just where we should be."

Photo: V Square Media

It's Just One Day

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If there's one thing Laura Tiffany is sick of hearing, it's that all women are expected to be physically perfect on their wedding day. "There's a notion that you should be working out and dieting constantly leading up to it, and then suddenly let yourself go as if a wedding was the only thing you had going in your life," she says. Tiffany keeps that in perspective by finding balance—not just in her wedding prep, but in her everyday life. She loves fruits and veggies, but isn't afraid to admit that she'll happily scarf down a doughnut or bowl of pasta. "A wedding is not the 'be all, end all,'" she says. "It would be a waste to think that the big day is going to be the best day of your life and everything else is downhill."

Photo: Dana J Photography

I Love My Curves

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Flavia Wilson's reason for not giving in to "shedding for the wedding" mania is simple: "I want to look normal on my wedding day," she says. Blessed with curves for her entire life, she's learned to embrace them, and she doesn't see a need to alter her routine of swimming and eating a protein-packed breakfast to lose weight—especially for a day she'll remember forever. "I want to be as authentic as possible," she says. (Read these 10 Celebs on Body Image & Aging Beautifully for more inspirational quotes on body love.)

I Didn't Want to Give Up Desserts

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Carly Ferry loves dessert—and that was not going to change just because of her impending nuptials. "I probably wouldn't have been a nice person leading up to the wedding if I was cutting those out of my diet," she says. A firm believer in the idea that how you feel is much more important than an actual number on the scale—coupled with a regimen of yoga and running she did to handle the stress of planning the wedding—weight loss was the last thing on Ferry's mind leading up to her walk down the aisle.

Photo: Jonny Edwin Photography

My Husband Loves Me the Way I Am

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"Before we got engaged, my husband and I dated for 10 years," says Amanda Welshons. "That eleventh year certainly wasn't going to be about my weight." Instead of focusing on losing weight, she decided to tone what she already had through barre classes. But that, she stresses, was about making a commitment to herself, not pleasing the people who attended her wedding—or her now-husband. "Be proud of the person your significant other fell in love with," Amanda says. "If you can't do that on your wedding day, then what are you doing? No one can love you if you don't love yourself first."

Photo: Studio 220

It's Not What the Day's About

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Whenever Jessica Chung felt the temptation of Pinterest and the expectations of the bridal industry to have the "perfect" wedding day over the course of her three-year engagement, "my partner and I had to remind ourselves it was about a celebration, the gathering of our communities." She applied that same philosophy to pre-wedding weight loss. Instead of a strict diet that would be hard to maintain, the budding chef cooked simple homemade meals, and rather than accept an "economy that runs on us not feeling like we are enough," she chose to continue loving and caring for her body as she had pre-engagement. "I believe it's important for women to embrace their bodies every day," she says.

Photo: Lumen Photography

I Already Live a Healthy Lifestyle

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When Emily Anderson got engaged, she was already adhering to a four-day-a-week workout routine, so she couldn't imagine adding to the stressful wedding planning process by upping her time at the gym. Instead, she stuck to her cardio, strength training, and core workouts, and although she's a sucker for sweets, she firmly followed the mantra "everything in moderation." Her healthy lifestyle also made it easier to unwind with her bridesmaids, guilt-free, when needed. "If I had a weekend of wine and sweet delights with my girlfriends, I was not going to stress out about it—having fun and enjoying your relationships are important too!" she says. (In fact, here are 12 Ways Your Best Friend Boosts Your Health.)

I Wanted to Enjoy the Planning Process

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When Sarah Nienaber first got engaged, she considered all kinds of weight-loss strategies—from shakes to fitness groups. But once she examined her established routine of running 20 to 30 miles a week and swapping processed foods for nutrient-rich items, she quickly realized that she was putting too much pressure on herself to lose weight for the wedding day. Plus, between all the parties and events that come along with being engaged, she didn't want to miss out on any of the fun—or the carbs. "I totally saw myself freaking out about it," Sarah says. "Then I came back down to earth and realized that my wedding day is all about enjoying everything leading up to it. Being on a crazy diet would not be so enjoyable."

Photo: Mataya Creations

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