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Here comes the bride... and she’s dozens of pounds lighter

Losing weight for your wedding is a long-standing tradition for brides-to-be. But for brides with a lot to lose, finding the right wedding dress can be a real challenge. It can also be the motivation many need to embark on a strict weight-loss regimen.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

After getting engaged, Beth Wheeler found her dream wedding dress. The only problem: It was 18 sizes too small.

At 309 pounds, Wheeler was determined to lose weight. She joined Weight Watchers in April 2009, and set a goal to lose 140 pounds. Just four days before her wedding in southwest England she reached her target.

“It felt like a real achievement to be wearing that dress knowing what I'd gone through to get there and I received so many compliments,” Beth, 36, told the Daily Mail. “I did start slimming before we got engaged but it was the real motivation and it gave me something to aim toward.”

Losing weight for your wedding is a long-standing tradition for brides-to-be. But for brides with a lot to lose, finding the right wedding dress can be a real challenge. It can also be the motivation many need to embark on a strict weight-loss regimen.

Actress Sherri Shepherd recently told People magazine she lied when ordering the wedding gown she'll wear in August — and gave the dressmakers a "fantasy size." Now, she told the mag, she's on the South Beach Diet and starting Zumba classes to fit into it.

When Isabel Dunklin went to try on dresses after she got engaged, she found that nothing in the store fit her size 16 figure. Dunklin weighed 198 pounds at the time, and knew she wanted to slim down for her wedding. She started exercising regularly, but quickly grew frustrated.

“My goal was to get down to a single-digit size for my wedding,” Dunklin told TODAY.com. “I really wanted to be — at most — a size 8. But although I had started exercising, I didn’t change my eating habits and it made little difference. I was lucky we had a four-year engagement so I had time to try different options.”

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After several months, she decided to take her cousin’s advice and try Weight Watchers. Two years later, Dunklin had lost 58 pounds and was down to a size 4.

“The next time I went shopping for my wedding dress, I wanted to try on every dress in the store,” said the California native. “I fit into every dress there, and what a difference it made to me. All of a sudden, I was looking forward to dressing up on my wedding day instead of dreading it.”

Dunklin ended up walking down the aisle in a sleeveless dress, a style she had not even considered before losing the weight.

“I never thought I could wear a dress without sleeves because my arms were so huge,” said Dunklin. “After losing so much weight I knew exactly what I wanted to wear. But the best part about losing the weight is that now I know what I need to do to be comfortable. I have built a foundation for the rest of my life. It’s been a struggle, but it’s been worth it.”