Thousands are lining the streets of London, billions are watching around the world, and celebrities and world leaders are arriving at Westminster Abbey to witness the much-anticipated royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
In the five months between the highly-anticipated announcement and her April nuptials, “waity Katie” morphed into “waify Katie," shedding a reported 20 pounds from her already super svelte figure.
Middleton’s willowy appearance raised eyebrows during a visit to Ireland just prior to the big day, and when one woman told the future royal “not to lose any more weight,” she responded off-the-cuff that it was “all part of the plan.”
Middleton is not alone in her widely-reported quest to become an itty bitty bride. Kim Kardashian’s pre-wedding weight loss regime is now under the microscope. One report has her cutting carbs and hiring someone cooking he special weight loss meals. Another has linked her to the “ice cube diet” in an attempt to shed two sizes. Kardashian has also been tweeting about her double daily work-outs, and when a Twitter follower told her she was off to purchase the weight loss supplement QuickTrim, which Kardashian endorses, the reality star responded: “Take some for me! I'm about to start again! Wedding slimdown."
So is the media and Hollywood’s fixation with wedding weight loss encouraging so-called “bride-orexia” with us average civilians?
“When celebrities and pop culture promote women getting thin for their wedding days, of course this impacts the women who follow these stories and encourages a trend of wedding day weight loss,” body image expert Sarah Maria told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “There is no denying that there is a cultural trend that women should be as thin as possible on their wedding day to fit into their dress and look their best, but all of this puts undue influence on the appearance of women for wedding day. Although ‘bride-orexia’ might not be a scientific term yet, it is used to refer to women who rapidly lose weight and whose weight falls below a healthy level in preparation for their wedding day. It can be a dangerous situation.”
According to the 2009 Health and Fitness Study conducted by TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com, roughly1.7 million American brides each year pledge to whittle their middle before the occasion, with most looking to shed 10 to 20 pounds before they wed.
Hollywood has cashed in on the craze via reality shows like CW’s “Shedding For the Wedding,” which follows nine overweight couples as they attempt to lose their unwanted weight and win a dream wedding. E!’s controversial “Bridalplasty” chronicled engaged women fighting for free plastic surgery ahead of their big day. And WE aired “Bulging Brides” which documented women’s desperate struggle to pop the pounds and “look picture perfect” to walk down the aisle.
“The tendency for women to be overly concerned about their appearance for their wedding day has been around for a long time. The obsession with being thin, however, has increased as a trend as the overall obsession with being thin has grown into the culture,” Maria explained. “If our culture can be less appearance-obsessed, it is a good thing. This includes becoming less appearance-obsessed for brides on their wedding day. Celebrities can make a positive impact by choosing not to adopt and promote the culture obsession with thin is better, especially on your wedding day.”
But not everyone thinks the wedding weight loss industry is dangerous.
“The fanatic need to be slim on your sacred day is just human nature,” argued celebrity life strategist, Suzannah Galland. “I don’t care how self-confident you are, it is every woman’s nightmare that she won’t fit into her dress. These behaviors are not expressions of an eating disorder but choices to which we are for this one time in our lives fully entitled…Every eye is upon you. Everyone has shown up for you, and this is your day to shine. It is a moment that will literally be locked in time.”
However, if that “bride-orexia” behavior continues beyond the cutting of the cake, then perhaps it is time to turn to the pros.
“Thankfully, the honeymoon is almost always right around the corner, and gives one time to relax, de-stress, eat well and deep sleep. At this point the bride should settle into a healthy routine and weight for her,” said JJ Virgin, nutrition and fitness expert and co-star of TLC’s “Freaky Eaters.” “But if she continues on the bride-orexia path during the honeymoon and beyond, it is time to seek medical help.”
Hollie McKay has been a FoxNews.com staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay