Matrimonial metamorphosis

Today’s pre-wedding glow comes from a strict diet of air, water, and the prize is a lifetime of matrimonial bliss
Express illustration used for representational purposes
Express illustration used for representational purposes

HYDERABAD: “It’s all about the photoshoot,” cynics say, indistinct chatters at weddings. It’s surely more than just that. Vankat Subbaiah, a psychologist at the Institute of Mental Health, Erragadda, says, “The glow that was a result of happiness is now dependent on external appearance, thanks to social media. Weddings have become a big deal. It’s not just economic pressure, but the pressure of looking good, slim, and perfect.”

He further adds, “Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have become an integral part of Indian weddings. Couples and guests sharing photos and videos of the events have led to a competition for attention, with individuals feeling the need to look their best in these posts. Most are going for crash diets, some only relying on supplements, air, and water to lose weight, while some undergo surgery to grow facial and scalp hair.”

Nandini*, name changed a 28-year-old IT employee, decided to lose weight quickly before her wedding last year. She chose a crash diet that promised significant weight loss within two weeks. It involved sweating equipment, supplements, and medication. Although she lost weight, she also experienced extreme irritability, mood swings, and fatigue.

Her obsession with losing weight led her to become socially withdrawn, and she eventually developed an unhealthy relationship with food. After the wedding, she gained back all the weight she had lost, plus a few extra kilos, which further affected her mental health, says nutritionist Dr H Gayatri, who works at Apollo Hospitals, Hyderguda. She added, “Diets are healthy, but diets that promise weight loss or gain within eight weeks or less cannot be trusted.”

“Atkins, Keto, and Intermittent Fasting do work in three months or so, but only when guided by professionals,” said Dr Gayatri. When asked when to stop, the nutritionist added, “The severe restrictions placed on food intake during a crash diet can lead to heightened anxiety and stress. Individuals may worry about not being able to stick to the diet, regain the lost weight, or experience feelings of guilt when they inevitably give in to cravings. That’s when they quit or see a professional for guidance.”

Many individuals before weddings feel self-conscious about their appearance. They may worry about being judged by others, which can cause stress and negatively impact their motivation and self-esteem. “The key here is understanding that no crash workout will help get lean within weeks. The right balance of nutrition and workout, based on the body type and needs, will help in months, but never in weeks,” says Venkatesh, a vegan bodybuilder and coach.

“On average, two hours of rigorous workout will help burn 600-800 calories, which can lead to weight loss if the consumption is reduced by 600-800 calories a day, close to around 100-120 grams a day, which means no less than a kg a week,” the coach said. Some people feel pressured to achieve an ideal body image or reach specific fitness goals. This pressure can lead to an unhealthy obsession with exercise and the development of a negative self-image if the desired outcomes are not met, he added.

Atkins, Keto, and Intermittent Fasting do work in three months or so, but only when guided by professionals

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The New Indian Express