Every woman wants to look her best on her wedding day. All eyes (and camera phones) will be focused on her as she walks down the aisle or attempts to look elegant being fed a crumbling hunk of wedding cake. There was a time when brides prepped with a spa day and professional make up and hair styling; now, according to a report by the New York Times, they are turning to extended juice fasts and radical weight loss plans such as the K-E Diet which involves being administered mere 800 calories a day through a tube that runs from the nose through the esophagus and into the stomach. And like overpriced wedding dresses and caterers, it all comes with a hefty price tag.
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"People think I'm sick, I'm dying," Jessica Schnaider, 41, of Surfside Florida, told the Times referring to people's reaction to seeing her wearing a nasogastric feeding tube attached to a portable plastic bag of low-cal liquid nourishment. During the program, she skipped picking up her daughters at school because she didn't want to scare the other children.
Still, Schnaider stuck with the K-E diet for a cost of $1,500 for 10 days, in order to slim down for her June wedding. Her weight loss guru, Dr. Oliver R. Di Pietro explains that the tube administers a solution of protein and fat but no carbohydrates. This puts the body into a state of ketosis, which can lead to quick weight loss because it starts burning fat instead of sugars (carbohydrates) for energy. Other diets such as Dukan, South Beach, and Atkins operate on a similar principle-but with more calories, actual food, and no nasal tube.
While nose tube diets have been popular in Spain and Italy for years, they are relatively new in the United States. They are popular with women preparing for weddings and other big events because they promise to help you lose as many as twenty pounds in less than two weeks. "I see a lot of brides," Dr. Di Pietro told the Times. "Nervous eating."
For brides who prefer to take their liquid diets orally, a number of companies home deliver juice fasts that are purported to cleanse the body of toxins and melt pounds for $60-80 a day. Blueprint Cleanse, which is based in New York City, advertises a "platinum plan" that provides thirty-six days of juice fasting to be done over the course of a number of months. And, if a bossy bride-to-be really wants to alienate her sister-in-law, Blueprint suggests having the entire bridal party do a 3-6 day cleanse before the wedding. What ever happened to cupcakes and champagne? "Do you notice they never tell you what the toxins actually are," Dr. David Gorski, of Wayne Sate University in Detroit, told the Times. "There is no science to back them up."
A weight loss fad that has made a comeback from its heyday in the 1950s, is injections of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a pregnancy hormone. Although the Food and Drug Administration has deemed it illegal for over the counter use and called weight loss claims associated with its prescription use fraudulent, diet centers like the MediLean clinic in Rolling Hills, California, still offer it as part of their program. For a cost of $950, patients such as Lindsay Gardner, who lost fourteen pounds before her wedding, self-administer injections and meet weekly with a registered nurse. The fine print: participants are also restricted to a 500-calorie a day crash diet.
Dr. Scott Shikora, the director of the Center for Metabolic Health and Bariatric Surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, points out that all of the diet crazes employed by brides-to-be have one thing in common: cutting back drastically on calories. "It doesn't matter if it's through a tube, a straw, a meal plan, he told the Times. "They all work, if someone goes from 3,000 calories a day to 800."
While Schneider and other brides-to-be who engage in extreme weight loss plans often do shed pounds prior to their wedding day, critics warn that crash diets can cause side effects such as kidney stones, headaches, dizziness, vitamin deficiencies, and dehydration. They can also lead to weight cycling-when you gain back more pounds than you lost. About two-thirds of people regain all or more weight than they initially shed within a couple of years.
Like marriage, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is a marathon, not a sprint. Its no surprise brides want to look gorgeous on their wedding day, but being skinny for photographs certainly won't prevent a divorce.
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