Altar’d For Life

There’s a new show on Z Living called Altar’d which premiered LAST NIGHT, January 17th, at 8 pm ET. The show features wedding couples who are looking to make big life changes in the form of dropping extra weight, past relationship baggage, and to set themselves up for a healthy future together. They are separated for 90 days while they go through their transformation with the big reveal at the altar.

Altar’d is meant to inspire others through their stories of self-transformation with the help of mind-body wellness and fitness expert, Erin Stutland and Chris Marhefka, founder of B3 Gym in Gainesville, FL.

Now, I have held strong opinions towards the whole wedding diet trend for years, well before I began my career in the event industry. My opinion of course correlates completely with my usual dieting outlook that you are so used to hearing about here on the blog.

An upcoming wedding date often leads people down the path of extreme dieting, crazy weight-loss plans and intense exercise routines in an effort to look as perfect as possible in their wedding pictures.

These wedding diets can lead to unhealthy behaviors, added stress and then of course, binge eating to make up for the lack of calories.

I have seen it happen. Women follow some restrictive diet and exercise plan, lose a significant amount of weight for their big day only to revert to old habits, gain all of the weight back (if not more) and then hate looking back at the pictures and video from their wedding day.

Of course they do. The wedding album is loaded with pictures of a person they barely recognize as themselves thereby making their current selves feel all sorts of terrible for not being as thin as they were in the photos.

Wedding planning is stressful enough but combining that with a restrictive and unrealistic diet plan is a recipe for disaster!

Every bride instinctively looks at her wedding photos and remembers what she was thinking and feeling at the time. Do you want to remember being hungry? Do you want to remember starving yourself to fit into that dress that wouldn’t even get up your leg now?

Do you want to remember bingeing the night before because you ate nothing but carrot sticks for weeks during your planning while running 10 miles a day only to briefly look that a skeletal version of yourself?

I look at this wedding picture of myself and although I think I look beautiful (all brides are allowed to gloat, okay?) I also see two very important memories that will stay with me forever:

1) My dress almost didn’t fit me because I slowly gained needed weight back after dealing with amenorrhea. I was not eating enough prior to being engaged and it slowly caught up with me during the wedding planning process.

2) I ate way too much cereal the morning of my wedding because I had completely lost touch with my appetite after being in starvation mode for so long. I remember having a bagel for lunch and then taking out the box of Cinnamon Chex cereal, just munching endlessly because I didn’t even know what hungry and/or full really felt like anymore.


wedding dress


Don’t get me wrong, I know there is another side to this. I know there can be a happy medium. There are plenty of people who can take the New Year or an upcoming wedding date as major motivation to finally get their life and health in order, empowering them to find a fitness program and diet.

I just wish that people would make this choice as a lifestyle – not a short-term routine that only sets them up for failure.

Even if it means you only drop 10 of the 25 pounds you wanted to lose, finding the right balance in the form of a realistic exercise routine you enjoy with enough calories to support it is key to keeping it up long-term, rather than long enough to pose for wedding photos.

Altar’d  attempts to help people develop healthier habits for the long term. My hope is that the people who are lucky enough to have this great assistance from the experts on the show, embrace the opportunity.

I hope these wedding couples learn the importance of nutrient-dense foods and how to fuel their bodies for wellness, and that it’s not so much about dieting and weight loss but about forming a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

I also hope they can find a fitness routine they want to continue well beyond their wedding day and gain a new level of self-esteem in the process.

See Channel Listings here

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Did you follow a specific diet plan while planning your wedding?

Did you catch Altar’d last night on television?!

If you are married, are you happy with how your wedding photos came out? Did you make your albums yet?

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  1. says

    I remember that I was injured in the months leading up to my wedding and didnt start running again until about 2 months before. I was in this confusing place of trying to let my body heal but also wanting to stay in shape for the wedding. I ended up focusing alot on strength training and when I look at my pictures I think my arms look toned, more so than they ever do when I’m running alot. I was just glad I ate as usual during that time and got to run on my wedding day!
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  2. says

    I guess that’s a good thing about getting married in a rain forest with no one else around- I was able to wear a flowy dress that would conceal if I gained a few extra pounds! I didn’t follow any kind of diet or change my lifestyle at all before I got married, but while we were in Belize we did a lot of outdoor activities and sweating in the sun which probably helped me lose a few pounds last minute!
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  3. says

    My wedding dress ended up being too big on me! I started training for my first half and even though I was dieting, I lost a couple pounds. I kept asking my bridesmaids to pull the inner corset tighter! But ultimately the day wasn’t about the dress and it was such a minor detail on the happiest days of my life.
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  4. says

    I love this! I’m getting married this year and am not doing a single thing differently than normal–I’m eating food that nourishes me, exercising because it makes me happy, and treating myself just like always. Of course I want to feel beautiful but I also want to look like myself!!
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  5. says

    Interesting! I’m so out of touch with TV; I had no idea this show was even on. You already know this about me but while I was growing up, my mom was always on a diet and having that type of food obsession and oppression really steered me away from any sort of food-focused way of life. I was very much a tomboy and into every sport imaginable. I married my best friend when I was 20 and we hung out, watched Chris Farley movies and had farting competitions so you can imagine that our wedding day was far from girly and glamorous. His family is wealthy so the wedding was gorgeous but I didn’t plan any of it; I just showed up. My dress was plain, I did my own hair and makeup and just made sure that I was able to go for a run in the morning before the day started!
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  6. says

    Totally agree. It really does have to be about overall lifestyle vs making drastic changes with one goal in mind only to rapidly have it come undone later. Not worth the effort and not healthy for the mind or body!

  7. says

    You look beautiful in your wedding picture! I just got married in June, and while I do wish I had lost a little weight ahead of time, with all the stress that goes into wedding planning, I just wasn’t able to. I think society puts way too much pressure on brides in general!
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  8. Anne says

    You look fantastic in your dress!! I didn’t diet or anything before my wedding (I just ran and ate like I normally would), but as usual, everyone told me I was too skinny. I’ve suffered from anorexia most of my life, and even when I’m not actively restricting or over-exercising, I’m pretty thin (even if I feel really round). I was not restricting or anything around the time of my wedding; that’s just how I look eating and working out normally. I’m divorced now (definitely for the best!), but I still love the photos of me in my dress that my mom keeps around! And I don’t care if people said was too thin–I thought (and still think) I looked great!

  9. says

    I’ve never heard of this show. I really don’t watch a lot of television unless it’s Food Network, Cooking Channel, or HGTV! haha! But, I share your opinion – I hope that the participants are learning healthy habits and how to be successful in keeping them. I’m an old married lady (21 years next month) and I was actually pregnant at my “wedding” at the Justice of the Peace. I have one photo that a friend took and I LOVE it. 🙂 And you look beautiful in your photo!