Ten months before my wedding, I was standing in a floor-length white lace gown, looking in the dressing room mirror, and thinking, "I'm going to be a bride!" Then I heard a woman's voice on the other side of the wall: "Do you have this in a size 0? I'm swimming in the 2." I ran my hands over the formfitting size 8 I was wearing and smiled. In the past, trying on dresses next to a waif would have sent me running for the gym. But not anymore. Three years ago, I lost 10 pounds and was at my lowest adult weight, a svelte 134 pounds. Of course, to maintain it, I had to run four miles every day and shun cookies, pasta, and bagels—basically anything with white flour or sugar. When my motivation flagged, I'd think about how it felt to zip up my skinny jeans or receive a compliment from an old friend.
Then I moved to a new city, and work and socializing left little time for the gym. The scale crept up until it hit 150. At 5'8" I knew I was still within a healthy weight range, but I was mortified by that number. Having slimmed down before, I knew I could do it again; I began getting up early to exercise before work, monitored every bite, and skipped happy hours and parties.
I did drop a few pounds, but it wasn't as satisfying as I'd hoped. Sitting at home alone one Saturday night, I realized I wasn't only depriving myself of my favorite foods, I was also missing out on good times with friends. My old rationale—that socializing isn't fun without a cute figure—no longer worked for me.
Around that time, I moved in with my fiancé, Fred. Supportive and affectionate, he would often tell me how sexy my body was. Soon I stopped obsessing over my imperfections and counting calories. After a month, I stepped on the scale and was shocked to see I was down to 144 pounds—the weight I started at before jumping on this weight-loss roller coaster.
When I think about what it would take to get back down to 134 pounds, I consider the things I'd have to give up, like dinners at cool new restaurants and lazy weekend mornings. It's just not worth it, so I decided to put my dieting demons to rest. I still work out and eat well, but I don't feel guilty for enjoying the occasional ice cream cone. I'm convinced that by relaxing about my size, I've settled into the body I was meant to have.
On my wedding day, I felt beautiful and confident as I walked down the aisle in my size 8 gown. I knew Fred loved me, curves and all—and I can honestly say I did too.