Got my shoes on, jewelry, make up done, the photographer was ready and everyone was waiting for me to come down. Then, there’s the moment when your helper asks, “Are you ready to put on your dress?” The feeling of excitement begins and then the fear . . . the fear that the dress you had on a month ago ain’t gon’ fit!!!
“Maybe I shouldn’t have had that cake at the office party,” you say to yourself as you pray that the Spanx® and long line strapless bra you purchased from my favorite store, Bare Necessities, will hold in those few inches you psychologically gained between the last fitting and the day you actually walk out in your beautiful white gown. That’s enough to make anyone say, “Man, bump dis!” There are a myriad of emotions for a bride on her wedding day and I got to experience them briefly during a photo shoot for Seven Events Unlimited, an event planning company. No, it wasn’t my wedding day but it was sort of like practicing especially worrying if that dress Michelle purchased for me was going to fit. The gown we chose from Lefty’s Bridal fit perfectly across my back, waist and hips. Since I was wearing a perfectly fitting bra, there was actually too much room in the boob. The truth is though, I had expanded enough in the dreaded spare tire to feel self-conscious about how I looked in this beautiful empire waist cream wedding gown. I began to wonder how I would look on my real wedding day. Would that day’s pictures be an indication of the real day? I was nervous my back fat had grown and was hanging. My chubby arms appeared chubbier than normal or was I really just overreacting?
I had taken a month off from teaching my regular Zumba® Fitness class because of all the singing engagements and band rehearsals that were stuffed into my schedule and I was beginning to feel stuffed into that dress. My long line bra was a 36 instead of my usual 34 band and you know how going up a size can make you feel. I hadn’t completely slacked off; I had done some substitute Zumba® classes, gone to the gym and was really watching what I put in my mouth. What could it be? Am I doomed to this 10/12 destiny? It’s not a bad size but dang, I’d like to show my midriff just once and be proud – at least before I’m showing a pregnant midriff one day.
Guess what next . . . another photo shoot 6 days after the wedding shoot. That is NO time to get that waist line together. I began to panic thinking should I starve myself or workout till I pass out. Then my good sense kicked in. Ain’t no way I was going to lose anything with those tactics and keep my sanity. Wait, sanity. And there it was, right in front of me. I had been running in 6th gear all month, going from rehearsal to rehearsal, to ZIN Zumba® Street Team Party, to Dance Ministry rehearsal, learning new dances and new songs, working on my business legal status, sending my song off to industry reps for review, entertaining my boyfriend, sleeping 4 hours, going to my 9 to 5 everyday and losing track of days. Stress had got me. Not the stress that makes you give up but the kind that puts your body in constant motion and survival mode. I wasn’t eating poorly, but I wasn’t eating on schedule because everything else had taken over my schedule and my body was WAY out of wack. I had to come up with something cute and funky to wear that didn’t show I had gained any weight.
Okay, wait weight. Weight! I don’t care about the number, do I? Keyona had to get a grip. I went to my closet to attempt to find something to wear without crying. I chose a funky little T-shirt I’d purchased from Walmart, a black cropped sleeve jacket and dark jeans. I sucked in as I slid the jeans up and buttoned . . . I’m tripping. These jeans actually fit, why am I sucking it in? The T-shirt, fits. Jacket, fits . . . arms not screaming from suffocation. You see how our brains can fool us into thinking something is real and it ain’t? I really thought I had lost control but it was the stress of everything else throwing my normal schedule off balance that made me second guess how sexy I still was!!! (Sorry, had to toot my horn a little).
We panic when some special occasion is coming up. We go on crash diets – grapefruit diet, cabbage diet, fruit only, no carb, low carb, who carb? and anything else we can think of but really, it’s the time we take 6 months prior that counts. Remember the episode of the Cosby Show when Claire was trying to get into this SUPERBAD sequined dress and needed to lose about 5 lbs (I think it was 5)? No one can lose 5 lbs in a week unless you are exercising half a day, every day for an entire week and eating barely enough to survive – you’ll be sick and dehydrated in no time. We have to stay on top of our game. If I hadn’t been on my game those months leading up to the photos shoot, my practice wedding day really could have a disaster (WHEW, thank God for Zumba®!!) I say this to say, do it now while you have the time, before you have to panic, before you buy a dress two sizes smaller in hopes that you’ll be motivated to lose the weight (yeah, I watch Say Yes to the Dress, so what).
Until next time, take care of the body you got, keep your stress down and smile! “You look so much better when you smile” (Kirk Franklin)