Being asked to be a bridesmaid is ones of the biggest honors. There is nothing more exciting than being a part of someone’s big day. Last summer I was asked to be a bridesmaid in my college roommate Jocelyn’s wedding. Of course I gladly accepted! I can only imagine how beyond gorgeous her wedding will be and how stunning she will look walking down the aisle. My roomie is a looker! Such a beauty, and her future hubby is just the same!

roommate baking timeThrowback to the good ol’ college days circa 2007: Jocelyn (the bride!) and I baking with our bff Betty Crocker! Classy as always Catherine… way to go!

Lakers gameLakers game circa 2007 with Ryan, Jocelyn, and her now fiance Ryan!

Along with the bridal showers, bachelorette party, and wedding weekend festivities to look forward to, there is a little something else… the bridesmaid dress. I’m sure if you have been in a wedding before, you can definitely relate to my battle with THE bridesmaid dress. Luckily, my friends have exceptional taste, so I’ve never been disappointed with the bridesmaid dress selection! However, I am ALWAYS disappointed in the bridal salons and brands who sell bridesmaid dresses. You’ve heard the spiel, “please give us the measurements for your bust, waist, and hips and we will order your dress accordingly.” In a matter of seconds you go from your usual size 26 jeans to a size 10,000 dress. They assure you that due to your measurements, size 10,000 would be the best fit. Umm I think not! Well, let me tell you that this just happened to me.

I sent in my measurements, and was told that I would be in a size 20 dress! After accomplishing and maintaining my weight loss and recovering from my eating disorder/body image issues, this was probably the last thing I wanted to hear. I know I know, the size of your clothes shouldn’t matter… But sometimes, it’s just upsetting. Especially after all of the hard work you put in. Of course I started tearing up, and my mind instantly went into ED mode again. All over a stupid number. Jocelyn was pretty surprised about the dress size that the salon wanted to order for me, and she was so sweet about the situation. Apparently I’m not the only bridesmaid with an odd dress size!

Bridesmaid dress designers often make garments that run extremely small. I totally understand that it’s all about the bride. Duh! But do they need to make the bridesmaids feel insecure and bad about their body in the process? Oh, and for the record they should make all wedding dresses a size “awesome,” so everyone call feel freaking awesome on their big day! These companies make the process of ordering a bridesmaid dress so unpleasant sometimes. Not only do they make you feel like a whale, but once the size 10,000 dress that was “selected according to your measurements“ arrives, it’s ginormous and needs hundreds of dollars in alteration$! Bridal salons must be making a killing off of alterations!

The entire situation of ordering my bridesmaid dress got me so down. I was talking to my friend Taryn, and she was telling me almost the exact same story about a dress that she had ordered. She helped me realize that it didn’t matter what size dress they put me in, it’s going to end up being altered, and beautiful. No matter the dress size, I am so honored to be in Jocelyn’s wedding! She has always been such an amazing friend to me, and I cannot wait for her happily ever after! A silly number is not going to ruin the excitement of this big event!

I’ve caught myself getting down on myself over numbers recently whether it be the scale, measurements, or clothing sizes. When this happens, I have to take a step back and look at all of the accomplishments that I’ve made. A scale cannot measure passion, ability, strength, compassion, or your potential. A number cannot define you or tell you how beautiful you are. A number is just… a number, and you are so much more than that. So no matter how far you have to go on your journey, or how many times you have fallen off of the wagon, know that you are beautiful, and worth so much more than a silly number.

Positive Motivation Scale
Positive Motivation Scale 1

You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” – The Help

Question: Has a number ever made you upset?

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44 Responses so far.

  1. The number on the scale always gets me down, i have been struggling to lose weight for a while now. I realized though, the number is always going to move up and down. I need to remember that i am more than a number! Great post today, definitely made me think in a positive way :)

    Response from Jessa
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  2. I have been enjoying your blog since I found it a few weeks ago. I love your style of writing and your fierce spirit that comes through.

    Today I had to comment on your graffiti’ed scales, they were the best thing I have seen in a while. They really made me smile. We need to watch our waist lines for our health and well being, but it’s good to be reminded that if we fall short of our goal it should not destroy our day (and future progress).

    Really, an excellent post. Your friend is lucky to have you for a bridesmaid!!

    Response from PattiNYC
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  3. I just had to do the same thing today. Call to order a bridesmaid dress and give my measurements. I was just married two weeks ago so i know that my measurements are realtivley valid . When i passed them along they told me i needed to order a plus size dress. My wedding dress wasn’t plus size! I am a size 12 jeans and size 12 dress.. I ended up arguing with the woman and told her to just order me a size 12 and I would deal with the consequences if there are any.

    What is funny is when I went on their website , their size chart showed that the measurements i gave should be put me in at about a size 12 anyway. So why they were trying to get me to order a 20W is beyond me!

    Not to mention I am training for a Tough Mudder competition. The wedding is in October and I plan on losing a significant amount of weight by then in training for Tough Mudder :)

    I agree numbers are not important!

    Response from Lauren Ciulla
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  4. As MOH. I am going through the same thing… :( I love my friend. But I do NOT love that I am a size 12 in the real world and a size 26 in the bridesmaid dress world. I took a huge hit to my self esteem with that.

    Response from Colleen
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  5. Beautifully written, and oh so true.

    Response from Tori @ In Love and Peanut Butter
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  6. Wow Catherine I want to grab coffee with you sometime. Your post really spoke to my soul lol! I have felt this way so many times and it is such a terrible feeling, but you are right weight, dress size, it’s all just a number. I believe this so much so that I never weigh myself anymore. I judge my health based on how I feel and my happiness. After years of dieting, and being scale-obsessed; it wasn’t until I focused on my happiness and quality of life did I really lose weight.

    Thank you for such a motivating post.

    Response from Amanda
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  7. I totally feel your pain! I’m getting married in a few months and I’m a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding this summer, so I’ve been to my fair share of bridal salons. I normally wear a size 8 dress and size 6 jeans. I work EXTREMELY hard to stay fit and maintain those numbers. I was advised to purchase a size 16 bridal gown and a size 14 bridsmaid dress! It’s crazy how small the dresses run! I agree with your advice, Catherine. Don’t let your clothing size affect how you feel about yourself. We are all gorgeous. :)

    Response from Joanna
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  8. having recently fallen off the wagon myself, i can’t thank you enough for your incredible honesty and impeccable timing :) this post helped bolster my determination to see myself in a better way. i struggled with an ed a few years ago. a commitment to a positive, fit lifestyle is worth more than the number on the scale.

    Response from dria
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  9. Yes!!!! Numbers are constantly making me upset. ALWAYS the scale and sizes but in my job we work in sales so even there numbers are a constant reminder to me how I don’t measure up to everyone else. I just try to smile through it but it really sucks to be summed up to a number. I am going to Florida this weekend for a wedding and I bought a dress that was a few sizes too small (I got a GREAT deal on it) and after 6 weeks of killing myself via exercise & depriving myself I still couldn’t even zip the dress =( As devastating as that was I have a wonderful friend who took me out shopping to help me find something that fits and looks beautiful. I feel amazing in the skirt even though it’s a size 10,000 (lol). You are totally in the same boat as many people and I LOVE reading your blogs cause you are so real! Thank you for being honest and sharing your stories!!!!

    Response from Sabrina
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  10. Dear Catherine,

    isn’t it crazy how a number can totally bring you down ?

    I’ve been living for about 10 years now without a scale, and I realize my weight doesn’t fluctuate (expect for the normal 4 pounds on and off during the month). Since last month I’ve been staying at my parents’, who do own a scale, and those fears and insecurities totally kicked me in the butt like a boomerang… I decided to stay away from it, and strangely my anxieties are gone.

    I wish you the best on our common journey to self love…

    EMilie

    Response from emilie
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  11. I’m on my 8th week of a really consistent exercise routine and healthy eating. I’ve been dieting and working out since Thanksgiving, but it wasn’t till February that I really got into a consistent routine. I have been doing great, my clothes fit way better, and I am liking what I see in the mirror. However, every time I have weighed, it’s showing that I have GAINED! There is NO way this is accurate because I can now fit into jeans that I haven’t worn in 2 1/2 years. I try to tell myself it must mean I’m gaining muscle, or maybe it’s just water weight, etc. But it still gets me down. It’s ridiculous that I can look in the mirror and like what I see (although I still have a ways to go!), but still feel down and depressed over a stupid number! I am trying to get away from the scale because it is just not helping! I totally feel you on this issue!

    Response from Emily
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  12. Thank you for this! It relates exactly to how I’ve been feeling the last few months! I’ve been on a weight loss journey for the last 3 years, and have dropped +/- 70lbs… my goal weight is another 20 down from here… and as I am now engaged (found THE dress in December, was beyond excited… but since then I’ve experienced a huge setback/depression/exhaustion), just got my engagement photos done, AND am the MOH in a friends wedding next month… I’ve been looking at my weight and the numbers far far too much – it was really getting me down! But what you’ve said here is exactly what I need to keep reminding myself of! Even though I’m not dropping the last bit of weight super fast, I have come so far and no number can express or illustrate how much life and love I’ve gained!

    Response from Melody
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  13. I love your blog and I think you are amazingly beautiful! You are creative and have great ideas and your thoughts are so very real and valid about the nightmare of picking out a dress that you will NEVER wear again and are so worried about looking fabulous in… it is a difficult thing us bridesmaids deal with and most of us dread! I wish everyone could see themselves the way the rest of the world really sees us and we would have a lot more confidence in ourselves!

    Response from erin g
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  14. Thanks for this post Catherine. I too have struggled with an eating disorder since childhood, and lately I have been getting really caught up in the number on my scale. Last summer I got married, and the number of the dress size the bridal salon ordered for me upset me so much that it my triggered ED behavior. I lost a bunch of weight by basically eating next to nothing. I was so obessed with shrinking, that I almost didn’t have a wedding dress. It needed to be re-altered several times, including the day before me wedding! Since the wedding, depite working out daily and clean, healthy eating, my weight has gone back up. I am not happy with the number, but I am trying do things in a rational, healthy way this time. It is frustrating that the illogical part of my brain is fighting with the logical part over something as small as the digital reading on a scale. I truly appreciate the honesty of your blog, I love your recipes, and I think you are beautiful. I am going to go home and write a similar reminder on my scale.

    Response from Nicole @ A Wild Hope
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  15. I’m so glad to see you post this.

    As much as I love health-food and fitness blogs, I sometimes worry about the ladies who write and read them. It seems like a lot of times the focus is on the numbers and self worth is measured in numbers and…that just makes me sad. Because they’re beautiful ladies no matter what the numbers are.

    Response from Melody
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  16. Thank you for this, I’m sure many of us can relate. When I first found my dress I was measured and told I had to order a size 18 (I’m a real world size 12). I had to pay an extra $200 for a larger size. I worked my butt off for months after that! When my dress came in 6 months later, I had lost so much that I needed $400 in alterations!! According to the seamstress I should’ve ordered a size 12/14 dress. Ridiculous! I didn’t want my bridesmaids to have the same experience so I went with a stretchy super adjustable dress that comes in xs-L… no alterations needed! My bridesmaids were so happy :)

    Response from Fiora
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  17. My husband and I had a last min wedding so I needed a last minute dress obviously. We only had 4 days to plan, to make sure all our friends and family were still going to be I town after winter holidays. I went dress shopping with a friend and it was incredibly frustrating the expectations they hold women too. I went into one shop to try on some stuff and the women was extremely rude! She kept asking if I was going to drop 20lbs before my “big day” and I said no, there isn’t enough time for me too. Then she scuffed and told me she couldn’t do anything for me then. It wasn’t about alterations, they simply didn’t have anything my size. She suggested shopping at a plus size store. For the record I am six feet tall and about 190lbs last time I checked that was normal.

    Response from Cherise
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  18. I feel like the number on the scale has been increasing since i started eating healthier (again) and have been trying to lose weight (the healthy way). little bit discouraged here.

    Response from heatherjoy
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  19. Love your blog! I’ve had the same dress experience when trying on bridesmaid dresses. Because of that bad experience I was terrified to go to my first dress appt for bridal gowns. I should have been excited not anxious and scared. I tried to focus on the fit vs. the number and that made it a better experience but it’s hard to get that number out of your head!

    Response from Annie
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  20. I really think that clothing sizes are one of the most subjective things that exist. It really all depends on the store and the designer. It is sometimes so frustrating because women’s bodies are so unique yet they feel that they can define them using one number. I am always puzzled that when shopping for men’s jeans, the size is determined by length and waste yet most women’s jeans only consider the waste. The truth is, we have to remember that it’s all a production and companies are simply going to do what’s efficient and by understanding that, we can realize that we cannot let these numbers ruin our soul. Thank you for your post.

    Response from Alessia
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  21. wow. it really does sound like there is something going on with the alterations industry. Do the prices go up when one gets into the larger sizes like they do with street clothes ??

    Response from brenda
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  22. I went hiking all last weekend carrying a 20kg pack up and down mountains, so I was shocked to see when I got home that I had gained 1.5kg (3.3 pounds)! I was so devastated, but I really think it must have just been a glitch in the electronics or something, because when I weighed myself 2 days later, after normal eating and no exercise, I had dropped that weight and more! I can’t believe I let myself get so upset over a number that didn’t even reflect reality at all. I should have just been proud of myself for surviving a tough weekend and pushing myself mentally and physically.

    Response from Michelle
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    • The immediate impact of weight gain post exercise is due the interactions of muscle cells and water retention. When the muscles heal a few days after the exercise session, they don’t hold onto the water in the same way, and this is when a more accurate “number” is seen on the scales.
      This also explains why drinking water is great for weight loss – it balances out metabolism and excretion of waste!

      Response from Sandy
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  23. Catherine,
    You have no idea how many other women feel this way! I went through this in August when I had to order a size 16 for my sister’s wedding (I’m used to being a 4-6 and then my thyroid quit). At the beginning of September I kicked my diet and then exercise into over-drive. I lost 45lbs before her wedding in March and had to get 8 inches taken out of my dress. So the point of my story is that the great thing about bridesmaids dresses is that you have to order them waaaay in advance, so you have plenty of time to get lean/loose weight/feel comfortable in your skin.
    Thanks for sharing your struggles! XOXO

    Response from Sheena Banker
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    • how are you dealing with our thyroid issues? Asking for personal reasons. Have you had ups and downs with thyroid nos along with the weight ups and downs? it is a total pain to find professional help when it keeps going up and down or are you finding better help???

      Response from brenda
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  24. I really can empathize with this post. I’ve been in three weddings and each time I fear the size they are going to come up with based on my measurement. And yes. it seems like it’s done just so they can make more money off of the alterations. By the second wedding I realized that I’m getting my regualar dress size and didnt have to do any alterations, saved a bundle of money. It’s crazy how numbers can have such an impact on us. For a while I just had to stop stepping on the scale because I was doing it every morning and would let it dictate my self worth for the day. I really enjoy your blog for the healthy outlook on life that you seek to convey and the honesty to put into it. Thanks for reminding me that i’m not the only one struggling nor am I the only one moving forward :)

    Response from Becca
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  25. Such a wonderful post! I am the MOH in my sister’s wedding in September and a bridesmaid for another friend in July. I went through the same exact issue TWICE when bridesmaid dress shopping for both weddings. This post definitely hit home because I’ve been feeling pretty bad about my body ever since. Thank you for reminding me to look within myself instead of obsessing about my dress size. We are all beautiful in our own way, no matter what size we are. Thank you for being such a inspiration to women everywhere!

    Response from Rachel M.
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  26. Maybe bridal dresses are all European sizes and that’s why they’re so different! Maybe they’re Antarctican sizes! Because clearly, if they’re that different then it really has nothing to do with what size you actually wear.
    (Which of course, has nothing to do with how lovely of a person you are, but you did such a good job pointing that out I won’t repeat it(: )

    Response from Lizzy
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  27. great post today! <3

    Response from amber
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  28. ohhhh goodness. Trying on dresses for my sister’s wedding, I was told that I was “the last size they could possibly make in that dress” …. I’m a size 10. Excuse me? They fit me for a 20 or something like that and told me “Try not to gain any weight”

    Sometimes you just gotta keep telling yourself that no matter what people say, what the scale says or what size pants you can wrench yourself into, the only person whose opinion matters is your own. and you have to keep your own self esteem up!

    Response from Kristen
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  29. Absolutely, numbers help keep me on track but they also drive me to extreme guilt and anxiety more often than not. I fluctuate between the same 15 pounds every year or so and I torture myself by this. I’m just learning that no matter where I’m at on the scale, I am still beautiful and loved, even if I feel otherwise. Its a slow process, but I’m working on it! Reading your experience reminds me that I’m not alone, and I want you to know that you are not alone either! We are all so, so, so much more than a stupid little number. You are gorgeous and an inspiration. Thank you for posting this!

    Response from Strong Fits Well
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  30. Hi Catherine! I totally understand your fight with the scale. I’ve felt the same way over and over again. It’s disheartening when you’ve put in a bunch of work only to feel like you’ve been hit in the face with depressing results. How have I remedied this? I do not keep a scale around. I found myself focusing SO MUCH on the numbers and obsessing that I need to be at or under x to feel good about myself and that’s not a good thing. Nobody can put into qualitative form how good HEALTHY makes you feel (not SKINNY!). You do so much and your passion is really inspirational! I bet if you went into another dress boutique and got a dress you’d be so much smaller than a size 20! I recently just purchased a cute LBD from Victoria’s Secret and it was a size 8. I was very proud and had almost ordered a size 10…the 8 fit perfect. ;)

    Response from Emmalee
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  31. Sure the number on the scale has made me upset, the dress size, pant size, shirt size, etc… If only we all saw ourselves as strong and beautiful as others around us do. I’ve fallen off the wagon a time or two as well. It’s the perseverance and deciding I’m worthy to get back on the wagon that makes the next fall just a trip. Great post though, you really hit the nail on the head with your last bolded statement. Love those scale pictures, too!

    Response from Claire @ https://healthnutclaire.com
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  32. I think the only time a number should matter is when it is dangerously out of range that your health is actually in jeopardy. Most people focus too much on it when they are in perfectly good health to begin with!

    Response from Sandi
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    • well we grow up with airbrushed images in all sorts of media from magazine covers to merchandise packaging. Those things are not real and who could ever look like those things?? and yes I am just as guilty of striving as a lot of people.

      Response from brenda
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  33. I know what you mean, girl! There’s been so many times when I’m a at a store who’s clothes run small and I get down on myself for not fitting in a size I can normally wear. You’re gorgeous and inspiring- never forget that!

    Response from Jamie
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  34. You are a stunning girl. Very beautiful. No number can define you. You made my day by saying the words you did :) Every girl I think needs to be reminded that the scale is just a number. I too have fallen off the wagon. I’ve actually gained weight which is sometimes brings me down BUT you only have to get back on focusing what is important and push forward! I am also in my best friend’s wedding in June! I’m very excited and it really is an honor!! No matter what, you will be a beautiful bridesmaid!

    Response from Ashley Atencio
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  35. Hey Girl! I often think dress/bridal salons tell you an outrageously large number on purpose for the one reason of making more money. Please don’t let the size get you down. There is no way on God’s Green Earth you are a 20 (I’M not even a 20 – I was once) because you are way smaller than me! Make sure you show us a picture of your in your dress so we can prove just how dumb those salon’s are! Remember, you are GORG!

    Response from Karen
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  36. Sometimes though you are perfect but still the occasion like the marriage ceremony or some parties ask you to shrink more. This is unhealthy for your body makes you miserable. Seriously the number can’t change your lifestyle.

    Response from Liam Rubel
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  37. I just found you and I love your blog!! When will you be getting more t-shirts made? I want one!! :)

    Response from Melissa
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  38. Thank you so much for writing this blog post. I was recently broken-up with because my boyfriend thought I had gained too much weight. Seeing the quote from the Help helped me to remember that I’m more than what the scale says. You are extremely inspirational.

    Response from Megan
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    • oh I can feel your pain and know that the words that “you are so much better off without someone that would be so artificial” cannot take away the pain right now. I hope you will remember them during your healing process like looking in the mirror everyday and saying them to yourself until you really believe them. God Bless You.

      Response from brenda
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  39. So can relate, that number gets me down constantly even when i know it shouldn’t

    Response from yvonne
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  40. I recently graduated college, and realized not only did a gain a degree, but I also gained some weight. I was always active in high school, and I was just not motivated once I got to college. My weight is always fluctuating, and I realized that eating healthy won’t only make me look better, but also feel better. I love this blog, and it is basically my bible. In a month i’ve lost 12 lbs. and i feel better then ever.

    Response from Emily
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