Shine a Little Light: Axis of Fat

I started this series full of irritation at the casual and thoughtless ways that bodies are negatively brought into the conversation. As documented, it makes me bananas.

However, by solely highlighting the fat-phobic, I’m only telling part of the story. There are several wonderful websites dedicated to life outside the strict constructs how the media tells us to look. Today, I want to shine a little light on the awesome Axis of Fat and, specifically, their Fat Bride Survival Guide.

As we know, I’m all atwitter about weddings, so this article really spoke to me. It’s far too easy to get caught up in a stream of unhealthy and unproductive thoughts about your body while planning for the most photographed day of your life. No, I did not come up with that “most photographed” modifier on my own. I read it somewhere. Likely somewhere where they were trying to sell me something so I’d look better on this very documented of days.

Looking your best and looking your thinnest quickly become synonymous.

In the aforementioned article, Natalie shares the tips that kept her sane whilst wedding planning. The first guideline jumped out at me:

I also told my bridesmaids that I would not entertain negative body talk during the fittings. If they waited until I was out of the room, that was fine but I didn’t want dress fittings to be railroaded by unproductive and negative discussion!

I was recently in a House of Brides fitting room trying on bridesmaid dresses. I remember not fitting into the sample sizes. I remember feeling like total crap about not fitting into the sample sizes. I’m sure I spent some time vocalizing this crap-feeling.

I’ve noticed lately the effect my complaining about my weight has on those around me. I probably don’t need to tell you that this effect is not positive. Understandably, there’s only so much you can listen to someone else complain about their self-image before you start to question your own. My neuroses are contagious.

Body image is a struggle for me. It’s not easy. I have a hard time staying positive.

Baby steps, right?

For now, at least, I can watch what I say. I can take control of the vibe I put out, the comments I make, the frustration I show. Not just for others whom I may influence, but for myself.

9 thoughts on “Shine a Little Light: Axis of Fat

  1. renita

    Those sample dresses never fit anyone. That’s why alterations are almost always needed. I realize that’s cold comfort, but it’s very rare that anyone fits perfectly into a wedding dress off the rack. So try not to let it get to you too much :)

    Ironically, I WAS at my skinniest-adult-weight ever on my wedding day. My seamstress at my final fitting actually told me to stop losing weight. But it wasn’t because I was dieting or working out like crazy. It was because I was so stressed out and anxious that I could barely eat. As life got less crazed, I gained it all back. It wasn’t healthy or sustainable.

    1. Helena Post author

      Yeah, the sizing of every bridesmaid dress I’ve had in the past has always been a little “off” – larger than normal and then too large when it arrives (not because I’ve changed but because the dresses are cut for very proportional bust-waist-hips and we don’t all have perfect hourglass figures). I think it’s a racket to get you to do alterations.

  2. Erin

    What I keep telling myself is that nobody else knows what the little number on the inside of the dress says.

    If I’m legitimately a size 10, it’s not going to do me any good to buy a dress in an 8. I won’t look or feel good in it. But if the 10 fits me perfectly and I look dazzling in it, nobody is going to be saying “Oh man, look at that size 10 bride”

    They’re going to be saying “Damn girl, you look amazing in that kick ass dress!”

    I think that everyone struggles with body image to some degree, but I would never assume that I understand how hard it is for someone else.

    My only advice it to keep positive words (unrelated to weight or size) about how you want to look in your head while shopping (mine were “vintage movie-star glam”) and let the lady who is zipping, clipping, and measuring worry about what size to order when you find The Dress :)

    1. Helena Post author

      That’s a really great idea (the “positive words”). Hmm, I have to think what mine are! Thanks for your input!

  3. bethany

    I was at a wedding this weekend, where my best friend was the maid of honor. I realized as I watched the bridal party get dressed that they were all making those negative comments. It was sad that on such a happy day, there was so much self-abuse going on. My girls, thankfully, were a healthy balance of encouragement to each other.
    And I don’t know anyone that could fit into those samples. I certainly did not. Solidarity, my friend! Trying on samples is never glamorous.

    1. Helena Post author

      Once you start paying attention, it’s surprising how frequently we put ourselves down. I’m really going to try to change.

  4. Kristin

    The problem isn’t just about not fitting well into the samples. For many of us we can’t even try anything on, and then the sales staff have the gall to suggest that you order a dress without any idea how it will look on you.

    I was a size 18 when I got married and I got treated like crap by the people in the bridal shops. I didn’t get into the body bashing but it still affected me to be treated so poorly. Fortunately, I wound up in a bridal consignment shop with a lovely woman and the perfect dress. But everything leading up to that was pure unpleasantness.

    I made a conscious decision not to diet for my wedding. I wanted my wedding photos to show me as I was, not to be a testament to body shame and desperate dieting.

    1. Helena Post author

      Very well said. I’m sorry the experience at the bridal salons was so poor. Wedding dresses are expensive – the idea of purchasing one with no idea what the result will be is insane.


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