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Jenice Armstrong: Weighty issue at weddings

THERE'S a new WEtvshow called "Bulging Brides" in which engaged women cut calories and work out like fiends with personal trainers so they can slim down in advance of their wedding.

THERE'S a new WEtvshow called "Bulging Brides" in which engaged women cut calories and work out like fiends with personal trainers so they can slim down in advance of their wedding.

In other words, when it comes to their wedding day, the reality show they most want to emulate isn't "Platinum Wedding," but the "Biggest Loser." Apparently, it's not the dress or the flowers or their guest list that a lot of brides-to-be spend most of their time obsessing about - it's their waistlines.

At a time when so many Americans are overweight and the average woman wears a size 14, most people can relate to wanting to look their best. However, the concept behind this latest TV bridal show is ironic, considering that someone - the groom - apparently thinks someone else - the bride - looks good enough already. Otherwise why would he be going through the drama of being in a wedding?

Let's face it, if you wind up dropping a lot of weight for your wedding, the odds really are against keeping it off much past the honeymoon. But even knowing that, a lot of women still stress out trying to live up to their fantasies of what they feel they should look like on their wedding day. I know someone who bought a wedding dress knowing full well that she would have to lose weight for it to fit perfectly.

And just yesterday the "Rachael Ray" show featured a bride who'd tried to lose weight before her wedding without much success. Afterward, she managed to drop the extra pounds but wound up feeling bad about how she looked in her wedding pictures.

Instead of advising her to accept herself as she'd been on that day, Ray flew the former bride to Hawaii so she could retake her entire wedding album. Ray even flew out the husband and some relatives so she wouldn't be all alone in the photos.

"Most women engaged to be married idealize a wedding weight much lighter than their current weight," Lori Neighbors said in a New York Times piece published earlier this year headlined "Bridezillas on a Diet."

According to the June issue of Fitness magazine, nearly every woman - 88 percent - hopes to lose weight before walking down the aisle. And they're not talking about a pound or two either. The magazine says 33 percent hope to drop a hefty 30 pounds or more before the big day. And a lot of desperado brides aren't all that picky about how they shave off the pounds - 36 percent would take weight- loss pills or supplements; one in seven would fast for a week; 6 percent would resort to plastic surgery, the magazine reports.

And to see just how crazed some brides are about their wedding weight, here's a really scary thought: 29 percent of the 1,000 women surveyed by Fitness said they'd be willing to move in with their mother-in-law if that's what it took to reach their ideal weight by their wedding day.

The Times article about the dieting brides sparked comments from readers on both sides of the issue. One woman wrote that her best friend gave up her crash diet and basically resigned herself to being the size she already was for her big day.

Another warned, "Be careful about losing all that weight just for the wedding. A member of my family did this and promptly gained the weight back afterward. That lovely figure in the photo has never been seen again. And her husband will not let her forget it. Better off not pretending to be what you aren't, for that one day's photo stays around for a long long time." *

Have you peeped a hot trend that hasn't been reported? E-mail and let me know what you know.