If you are feeling sucked towards the social pressure of “sweating for the wedding”, I get it. I was there 4 years ago. It feels suffocating at times.

But I want to remind you that the amount of happiness you will experience on your wedding day will have nothing to do with how much you weigh.

The pressure you are feeling to begin a crazy regimen of restrictive eating and cardio binges or starting out on a new fitness program is beyond common. When I was preparing for my wedding, I constantly felt torn between wanting to enjoy the time with my then fiance planning the wedding together and feeling the need to start an intensive workout program to lose some weight. No matter what we were doing, I felt that I couldn’t enjoy it fully because I should have been working out. And I felt guilty for every alcoholic beverage I indulged in for celebration.

For some reason, there is this understood myth that we should all look our fittest and best at our weddings. Probably because they are supposed to be the happiest days of our lives. As if looking a particular way will define the amount of happiness we experience. Sigh.

But this reminder is everywhere for brides! Every bridal magazine. In the stores. On bridal t-shirts. All over Pinterest and social media with hashtags like #sweatingforthewedding and bride-themed workouts (whatever that really means!). It was all constant reinforcement that for some reason, if you are a bride, you need to be working your butt off- quite literally- to look your “best” at your wedding.

No wonder we feel so damn miserable leading up to our wedding days! 

The good news, however, is that you can very well have a wonderful wedding day without making any changes to your body :). Once I had a long conversation with my husband-then fiance, I realized that I needed to focus on enjoying this time with him and our family, since it’s not something that happens too often. I gave up the pressure I was putting on myself to lose weight. I felt freed. Like an enormous pressure was lifted off my chest.

And guess what? My wedding day ended up being phenomenal. I wore a huge smile on my face the entire day, and felt every ounce of happiness I had imagined I would.

Exercise will not make your wedding the happiest day of your life.

Losing that extra weight you think needs to disappear will not actually provide the glow that you see in the pictures and videos of brides on Facebook.

Slaving away at the gym to burn off any extra snacks you consumed thanks to your new severely restricted diet of chicken and broccoli is certainly not the answer.

It’s tempting, I get it. For some people, this pressure will lead to a host of erratic, destructive behaviors to achieve some image they have in their heads of what their ideal body would look like. For others, like myself, it will just make you miserable because you feel that you should be pursuing this notion of looking your fittest or slimmest for your wedding.

No matter which category you might fall into, both can make you completely miss out on one of the most amazing parts of the wedding, the excitement and months prior. Instead of basking in the love you and your significant other have for each other, you’ll feel preoccupied with exercising and restricted eating or with thoughts that you should be exercising and eating more “clean” to lose weight. Either way, it can become an obsession causing you to miss out on so much of an amazing part of your life. Can it really be that worth it? 

BUT, what if you approached it differently with an entirely different mindset?

What if, instead of training for your “perfect wedding body”, you decided to train because you want to take care of yourself and feel your best on your wedding day? 

Let’s take a moment to think about all the work you would be putting forth in this pursuit for A SINGLE DAY. All the time, effort, commitment, and sacrifices. Wouldn’t you want those to provide effects that last far beyond one single day/event in your entire life?

What if you could just commit to goal of exercising a couple times a week, to start a habit of regular exercise? It’s totally possible, but requires a healthy mindset FIRST AND FOREMOST.

Below are 5 things to think about as you approach exercise during the months leading up to your wedding.

5 reasons beside what your body looks like, that you may benefit from exercising in these coming months.

1. Start of a Healthy Habit

There are no arguments that we all should be partaking in some form of exercise a few times a week for the rest of our lives if we want to live life to its fullest extent. Why not use this as an excuse to start a healthy, sustainable form of exercising?

It can be the start of a lifelong committment- in more ways than one!

2. Stress Relief

Let’s be honest. While planning a wedding with the love of your life is amazing, it can be stressful at times. You may begin to feel overwhelmed, understandably so with all the details that are involved. One of the best things you can do to take out some stress is through an intense cardio session or taking it out on the iron.

3. Confidence Booster

No, this confidence isn’t stemming from changing your body. It’s deeper. It’s coming from pushing outside of your comfort zone. From setting weight-lifting goals and crushing them. From feeling empowered that you are taking care of your body.

A well-structured exercise program is one of the best ways to get out of your comfort zone. And pushing outside your comfort zone is the path towards improved confidence. Gaining strength and watching your progressions and accomplishments is rewarding and confidence-boosting. This confidence will radiate positive vibes all over, from your wedding day and beyond!

4. Feel Better

Your sleep quality will improve. You’ll have more energy. You’ll feel happier and more pleasant.

What more could you want?

5. Relationship Builder

Maybe this is something you and your significant other can enjoy together. What better way to begin a lifelong committment to each other, than beginning a lifelong committment to yourselves? You can keep each other motivated and accountable and use the time to enjoy each other’s presence. Sometimes, there is nothing better than watching your significant other crush some goals! Learning how to support each other in the gym will extend far beyond it in your relationship. 

Closing Thoughts

Notice how none of those benefits have anything to do with how you look! There are many benefits of exercise. When we detach from our thinking that exercise is only a tool to lose weight or work off a cookie we ate, we become free. Free to really tap into the other benefits of exercise, and reap those rewards. Free to enjoy life to its fullest.