10 body positive tips for plus sized bridesHello! If you’re reading this, perhaps you’re engaged, or soon to be engaged, or your wedding is imminent and you’re freaking out.

Wherever you are in the wedding process, welcome!

Just a few short months ago I got married to my longtime honey. Our wedding was fun, special and beautiful and unlike many brides, I actually got to enjoy it.

However, weddings (and preparing for weddings) can be a time of lots of stress and pressure, especially when you’re plus sized. As I’ve touched on many times in this blog, being plus sized (or fat, I like the word fat) can add an extra layer of pressure onto the normally stressful stuff of life. Anyone who’s ever been on a job interview while fat, seen a doctor while fat, purchased clothing while fat, navigated theatre seating while fat, etc. etc. knows that the stress of dealing with other people’s expectations of you because you’re fat can make a tough experience overwhelming.

When I got engaged last year, I felt very excited and, within a week, very stressed out. There were so many decisions to make, so many opinions to consider, so much money that needed to be budgeted for, so many pinterest boards that told me that if my wedding wasn’t a bespoke craftacular then I was doing it wrong. I know that if I had gotten engaged before I stopped dieting 7 years ago, I also would be considering how much weight I wanted to lose pre-wedding. (I am so thankful that I wasn’t in that headspace on top of everything.) But let’s lay all of that stuff out on the line right here and now. I want to give you my top ten tips for plus sized brides. These tips will save you tons of stress and help to make your special day actually special instead of stressful.

1. You Do Not Have To Lose Weight

Say it with me three times, “I do not have to lose weight for my wedding. I do not have to lose weight for my wedding. I do not have to lose weight for my wedding.”

You really, really don’t.

Try this. Take an informal poll of your friends who intentionally lost weight before their wedding and those who didn’t. I can almost guarantee you that the ones who didn’t try to lose weight had more fun leading up to the wedding and enjoyed their wedding day more.

There are a gazillion reasons not to lose weight intentionally (for 25 really good ones, check this out), but one of the biggies is that it will increase your stress and agitation (and possibly, the cost of dress alterations) leading up to your wedding. You don’t have to change yourself to meet some expectation of what a bride should look like. You are going to be the bride, so why not just be you in your current, wonderful body?

2. Practice Enjoying Being The Center Of Attention

When you first get engaged, things can feel very weird. All of a sudden, random acquaintances are yelling, “Let me see the ring!” and doling out advice about what your wedding colors should be and where you should go on your honeymoon. People who seemingly had little interest in you suddenly want to know details about a wedding that you hadn’t even thought about. Closer friends and family are excited for you too and may already be thinking about your engagement party, shower, and bachelorette party. (Not that you have to do any of that, but you may feel pressure to do all of it.)

ceremony image

So here’s what I recommend — enjoy it. Let people make a big deal over you. Soak it up. Because when you go with it, it’s really quite fun. And honestly, it’s good practice for being the center of attention on your wedding day. (But we’ll get to that later.)

3. Try David’s Bridal

When I first got engaged I went to a bridal boutique that was supposed to have a bunch of plus sized dresses. And they did have a bunch, as a in a handful of bridal size 14’s that looked nothing like all of the other really beautiful dresses in their store.

Unless you’re lucky enough to live near a plus size bridal boutique (like these), I really recommend David’s Bridal. In regular clothes, I’m a 24/26 on top, and I was able to try dress after dress during my appointment. I experienced no body shaming at all, and I was surrounded by lots of other plus sized brides. I walked away with a dress that I could actually afford that (I think) looked great on me.

4. Don’t Get Crafty Unless It’s Fun For You (or Stop Looking At Pinterest)
As a former camp counselor, I can lanyard it up with the best of them. Give me some colored thread and I will make you an awesome friendship bracelet. But the idea of making 100 bracelets throws me into a state of panic.

This is the effect that looking at pinterest had on me at first. I thought about making mason jar terrariums for guest favors. I really considered it. And then I realized that I had limits. Temporal, spacial, and emotional limits. And being crafty for my wedding was beyond my limitations.

My bouquet! Not designed by me.

My bouquet! Not designed by me.

Early on we decided that a catering hall was the way to go. I didn’t want to deal with a gazillion vendors. I didn’t want an outdoor wedding that would make me paranoid about weather forecasts for months. I wanted a package deal where we could pick and choose what we wanted and wouldn’t have to worry about details.

In the end, I copied a lot of the work of my wedding mentor (see tip 5 below). We used the venue she used (shout out to the wonderful Verdi’s of Westbury), the stationary store that has produced invitations for my family’s major life events for 25 years (shout out to fabulous J&D’s), the florist who my dad has been friendly with for 25 years (shout out to the amazing Wick’s). In fact, my dad’s friend Tom, who’s a professional photographer but just took pictures for fun at my sister’s wedding, did such a great job that I hired him for mine. I used my wonderful hairdresser of over ten years, Nycki, to do my makeup and hair for the wedding. Using vendors that we knew and trusted made everything easier, as did staying away from getting too crafty when it felt overwhelming.

5. Get A Wedding Mentor

When I first got engaged, I made the mistake of mentioning wedding planning on my Facebook page. I say “mistake” because, for me, it felt overwhelming to get a gazillion different opinions on decisions I was struggling with.

I mentioned this overwhelm to my younger sister, who had gotten married the year before. She told me she learned early on to never post about her wedding planning on facebook. Instead, I started to use her as a sort of wedding mentor. I would ask her everything from how many thank you notes she ordered to what to do about undergarments to how many bouquets to order. She was invaluable, and she allowed me to ask her “dumb” questions without feeling too dumb. I really recommend finding a wedding mentor – someone close to you who was recently married and won’t mind fielding your questions. If you don’t have anyone like this available, consider a small FB group who might give you good advice. I really like, the folks in the Wide Bride group.

6. Compromise On Stuff You Don’t Care About

This is one of my favorite tips from one of my favorite books on not freaking out when you get engaged.

When you first get engaged, it’s a great idea to make a list (or at least think about) what wedding stuff is really important to you and your soon to be spouse and what isn’t. I realized that the most important things for us were: good music, good food, and a laid back, fun vibe. That was really about it. I wasn’t overly concerned about my dress, the flowers, or much else.

I initially didn’t want a shower. I felt like it was a lot to ask of people to give me a shower gift and a wedding gift. But my mom was really into it, and she planned a really fun, laid back shower at a Chinese restaurant. Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun, and it some instances it was the first time that my husband’s family got to meet my family. So while at first I was somewhat against the idea, in the end I’m glad I compromised and had the shower.

7. Splurge On Stuff You Do Care About

I was never one of those people who envisioned his/her wedding from an early age. I probably thought about a potential wedding less than anyone I knew. Getting married, in fact, wasn’t really that important to me until I made the decision to do it. Therefore, I had no vision of the flowers, my dress, or anything else that you’re supposed to have all figured out.

My awesome fat cake topper!

My awesome fat cake topper!

I mostly didn’t sweat a lot of the details, which is one of the reasons why I picked a catering hall that took care of the food, the set up, the cake etc. But for some reason I really wanted a cake topper with a fat couple on it. I looked online and found nothing I liked. Then, one day, I was scrolling through the Wide Bride group on facebook and one of its members posted a picture of a cake topper that she made out of clay. I LOVED it, so I messaged her and paid her to make one for me.

There was a part of me that thought this was so silly. The florist we used included flowers to decorate the cake. I could have just gone with that. But I wanted that darn cake topper, so I splurged. And so many people told me how much they loved it. It’s now on a bookshelf in our living room and it makes me happy every time I see it. In the end, the little splurge was so worth it.

8. Looking Fat In Your Wedding Pictures Is No Biggie

I look totally fat in my pictures! Here’s one!

Fat at the wedding!

Fat at the wedding!

Here’s another. Fat and sweaty!
Fat and sweaty and singing!

Fat and sweaty and singing!

And, like, so what? I’m fat in my pictures. I look exactly like myself, just in a mildly poofy dress and better makeup and hair. I’m so glad I didn’t starve myself just to look a little thinner in my pictures.

It’s really okay. If you need to get okay with being fat in photographs, check out this post!

9. Set Boundaries

Getting married is like an adventure in boundary-setting. You may need to set boundaries with friends, relatives, vendors, etc. about your weight, your time, and a gazillion other things.

It’s really okay to say to people in your life that they can’t talk about your weight. It’s really okay to say to your mother-in-law-to-be, for example, that you’re not losing weight for the wedding and that you don’t want to discuss it with her. It’s really okay to tell your bridal gown vendor that you want your gown to be comfortable and that you need her to order a size bigger (if possible) rather than smaller, just in case. It’s okay to tell your make-up person, if you have one, that you don’t need your double chin contoured (unless you want to). All of it is really okay.

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while (or worked with me in the past) know that I focus a lot of time on ways to set boundaries. So if this is an issue for you (like it is for most people) check out these posts.

10. Relinquish Control And Go With The Flow

Or rather, nothing is ever perfect, but it can be great!

Stuff is going to go wrong at your wedding. People who are supposed to be early will be late. The cake might sag. You might pop a button. You might spill wine on your dress. But, you know what will also happen? You’re going to have fun. You’re going to see a few people you love or many people you love. You’re going to marry the person you’re really excited to marry. Focus on the good. Focus on enjoying yourself. During the preparation process and at the wedding, focus on fun and you will have fun no matter what.

Looking at this list, I think it could help many plus sized and straight sized brides have a less stressful experience, so please pass this on!

Do you have a body positive tip for plus sized brides? Share it below!

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Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. To learn more about Golda and her work, click here.

dreamy moonscape

Image from justdd on 123rf.com

It’s been nearly five months since I’ve written a blog post.

For someone who used to write one every week, this certainly feels very weird.

A lot has changed for me in this last year. I got engaged, got married, and started a new “day job” working as a lawyer again. Because I’m working as a lawyer more, I slowed down my coaching practice quite a bit.

All of the changes feel really good to me at this stage in my life. But 10 or 8 or even 6 years ago, they might not have.

When I started my coaching practice in 2008, I had really big dreams. Dreams of reaching millions of people with a message of body love, making body love a household name, empowering thousands of people to love their bodies and get out of their own way when it came to self approval and their own happiness. I dreamed of working for myself forever; never having a boss or a day job, making a living from coaching.

Under different circumstances, it might have all worked out. Through constant promotion and word-of-mouth, I managed to make about three times what the average life coach made per year. Unfortunately, that was never enough for someone who lived in the NYC area and still had crushing law school loans. I was always almost making it work but I could never stop working. Even taking a week off was difficult for me. Living like this for 6 years was extremely stressful.

As time went on, my dreams changed. I love coaching and I hope to do it forever, but right now, I actually love my day job too. I work with really nice people and some of the nicest lawyers I’ve ever met in my life. I feel challenged and appreciated. I feel glad that I don’t have the option to work in my pajamas anymore. I feel relieved that I don’t need to keep up my social media presence quite so much. This past Chanukah/Christmas, I felt good that I was able to buy nice gifts for my friends and family without worrying about how I was going to also pay my rent in January.

And the thing is, I did achieve some of my old dreams. I probably reached a million people (or, at the very least, a few hundred thousand). I worked with thousands of people as private and group coaching clients. “Body Love” is indeed a household name in certain households, and I see it EVERYWHERE on the internet.

So in the spirit of my old blog, I’d like to leave you with something to think about this New Year. Do your big dreams “fit” anymore? Do you have some new dreams that you want to connect with? Have you maybe achieved some of your big dreams in ways you haven’t thought about? Let me know in the comments section below.

Happy New Year!

Get great body love tips and more when you subscribe:

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. To learn more about Golda and her work, click here.

thigh with bandelette

My not-so-secret chub rub solution. Read on for details . . .

Here it is, nearly August, and I have yet to write a post about the all-important topic of chub rub and how to avoid it.

As silly as it may seem, I think being chub-rub-free has a big impact on your clothing choices. When you’re not worried about your thighs rubbing together, you can pick out clothes that you really feel like wearing. Plus, you can move more comfortably throughout your day!

I’ve spent much of the summer testing different chub rub related products here at Body Love Wellness HQ, located in one of the grossest cities to be in in the summer, i.e., NYC. I’ve spent time on 100° subway platforms and rubbed sweaty shoulders with my fellow denizens of this fair city in order to properly advise you on how to prevent your delicate thunder thighs from feeling like they’ve been hit by lightning.

Okay, enough talk. Here we go! In the interest of brevity, I’ve lumped a few together.

Image of glide anti-chafe product

Glide? More like Reapplide. Amiright?

LEAST FAVORITE: Glide, Vagisil Powder
Both glide and powder are really excellent if you don’t need them to last that long and/or don’t mind reapplying. They’re also perfectly fine, at least for me, if the high temperature is going to max out at 70°F with relatively low humidity. But if you plan on doing serious walking and/or getting on a hot subway and/or just don’t want to worry about reapplying, I wouldn’t recommend these two.

high waisted plus size spanx image

High-waisted spanx a/k/a bodily sausage casing. Image via zappos.

MIDDLING: Spanx, Spanx-like thing from the Avenue
I have a mild-distaste/hate relationship with spanx. I hate that they’re tight. I hate that they’re never on sale. I hate the whole idea that women should wear sausage-casing to smooth out their fat rolls. I own one pair of spanx that I got talked into buying for someone’s wedding or something. I also have a bunch of spanx knock-offs from the Avenue that I’ve probably had for about 10 years. I always bought them a little big because I was only using them for chub rub prevention and not for their sausage-casing qualities.

Here are my issues with these products — they do the job of preventing chub rub, but they also require you to wear a bunch of extra, synthetic material over your underwear (and for me, over my belly, since tucking them under my bra is the only way to keep them from rolling down).

If you don’t mind synthetic sausage-casing, you can probably just stop right here. But otherwise, keep forging ahead as we get into my absolute favorite chub rub products.

cotton pettipants

Cotton pettipants — meh or honorable meh-ntion?

ALMOST THERE: Cotton Pettipants, Luvees Thigh Coverall
Some very smart ladies of the internetz suggested that I try cotton pettipants as a way to avoid chub rub. At first, I loved them! They felt so soft and comfortable! But as the day wore on, they stretched out A LOT. Like, the crotch stretched out by a few inches, and then the legs stretched out and kept bunching up when I walked. They were still more comfortable than other solutions, and I liked that I didn’t have to wear underwear over my underwear (a la spanx) but I felt that for a long day they were not the best choice.

Image of luvees in black and beige

Luvees. They’re not bad!

Then, there’s luvees. Luvees are almost like my favorite (see below), but not quite. They have a lot of things going for them, like the fact that they just cover your thighs and nothing else, thus sparing you from an extra layer of material that can only add to your hotness on hot days. They have elastic on the top, and a satiny, slightly padded side and a lacy side. I find them pretty comfortable, but I noticed a few weird things, like the fact that they sometimes made me feel extra sweaty, and that they caused static cling with certain fabrics, so as I walked my skirts sometimes felt like they were riding up.

THE BEST: Bandelettes

I freaking love bandelettes.

Image of caramel colored bandelettes

The best chub rub solution on the planet — bandelettes.

Here are the many things I love about them:

  • Comfortable — These are the most comfortable chub rub solution I found. They stay put and I barely even think about the fact that I’m wearing them. Because they’re light and small they don’t make me feel hotter than I already am!
  • Unobtrusive — For me, these are just the right length. Even if my skirt rides up for blows around in the wind, the bandelettes are high up enough on my legs that no on sees them.
  • Easy to Wash — I just wash them in the sink with woolite, though, sometimes, I just put some foaming hand soap in my hands and wash them in my hands with cold water. If I wash them at night, they’re dry by the morning.
  • Great Price — They’re only $14.99. I have two pairs and just alternate them. Easy peasy.

One note — if you’re between sizes or unsure, I’d recommend going up a size. I thought I was a size C, but I was having an issue with them rolling a little. Size D fit perfectly even though it was supposed to be big.

So what’s your favorite chub-rub solution? Let me know in the comments below!

400 width banner click here for more infoSummer is supposed to be a time of relaxation and fun. Picture summer and you probably think of spending time at the beach or pool, backyard barbecues, and time off from school or work.

But when you hate your body, summer can be particularly treacherous. You can no longer cover up your body with lots of layers (at least not comfortably). You may want to spend some time at the beach or the pool, but the thought of actually wearing a swimsuit may fill you with anxiety.

If you’re anything like I used to be, you’re probably finding yourself:

  • Struggling to get dressed in the morning
  • Worrying about your weight and what if anything you can do to change it
  • Thinking of ways to cover up your body and camouflage “problem areas”
  • Fighting with yourself over whether or not to wear a swimsuit
  • Wondering if the new folks you meet will judge you for your body
  • Asking yourself when your mother/friend/doctor will stop nagging you about your weight

Being the smart person that you are, you can often identify these questions as internalized messages about what your body “should” look like in order to be socially acceptable and worthy.

And while you can often intellectually acknowledge that these messages are wrong, you may still feel ashamed about your own body.

Wouldn’t it be really wonderful to break these negative patterns and really love your body? What else might you do, be, or have? How would you feel at a party, at work, on a date? How would you feel getting dressed in the morning?

What else could you do with all that time and energy that you normally lose to worrying about your body and feeling ashamed of it?

Whether you’ve been practicing body positivity for a while or just want to dip your toe in and see what it’s all about, I think you should check out my new, super-affordable e-course, Summer Of Body Love! I’ve specifically designed an e-course to give you the body positive, loving support you deserve. All of the content is designed to align with Health At Every Size® (HAES®) and fat positivity.

We get started next week, so don’t delay!

For full details, click here!

Ruth Bader Ginsberg with middle finger up

A fun (but obviously photoshopped) image of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Following the recent, horrendous Hobby Lobby decision, I’ve been seeing a spate of articles talking about why so many women need birth control not for controlling birth but for medical issues like irregular periods.

I find this argument not only irritating but detrimental. I think the argument that birth control is not just birth control but medicine SUCKS as an argument. Why should it matter what anyone uses birth control for? Whether you’re having sex with multiple partners or just want to regulate your period — why is that anyone’s business? Why is that your boss’s business?

It’s your body. It’s your choice. That’s all that matters. Let’s not appease the narrow-minded by telling them you’re not using birth control to control birth.

Maybe I’m particularly sensitive to this appeasement that masquerades as an acknowledgment of rights because it reminds me of an argument that I see in the fat community a lot.

It makes me think of Stella Boonshoft, whose image was hailed as a moment in the body love movement. Yes, it was brave of her to take that picture in her underwear, but her words continually undermined her message: “PCOS makes it incredibly hard to lose weight, and spikes up your insulin levels which can lead to diabetes and other complications. I felt like I was just getting bigger and bigger and could do nothing to stop it. . . . Health and weight are not synonymous, and I know that to be healthy means to manage my sobriety and PCOS the best that I can. I may not ever be thin, but that’s okay. It’s all about progress, not perfection.”

I don’t mean to be hard on Stella. It’s not just her. But I want this sort of argument to stop because it’s not helpful.

It’s not helpful to say, “I’m fat because . . .” because it doesn’t matter why you’re fat. At least, it shouldn’t matter to anyone else. From a rights perspective, whether you’re fat because of genetics, or a medical issue, or constant dieting, or whatever, it doesn’t matter.

Why doesn’t it matter? Because you have a right to be fat no matter what the reason. You have the right to be in the body that you have no matter how or why you got there.

You also have the right to use birth control for medical reasons or for actual birth control or just because you like it. It’s none of my business. Just like your fat is none of my business.

But equal rights and bodily autonomy are our collective business.

You don’t have to apologize for your size or your birth control or your choices. Let’s stop the politics of appeasement when we’re talking about our bodies.

Do you agree with me on this? Let me know your thoughts below!


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