“My wedding dress weight”

Evolution: 1996, 2000 (pregnant in Paris : ), 2005,
2009, 2012, 2016, 2019

If I’ve heard it once when it comes to a woman talking about her body, I’ve heard some version of this at least 100 times:

“When I got married in 2012, I weighed 122 pounds. If I do this right, I could get back to my wedding dress weight again.” 

If it’s not a wedding dress, then it’s a reference to the years they were single, had a different job, a completely different kind of schedule, and no children.

The toughest stories to dismantle belong to those clinging to the weight they lost (and gained back) when they were on a fill-in-the-blank diet — which, by the way, is a $60+ billion-dollar industry designed to thrive on your failure.

Ample research shows that diets have anywhere from a 90 – 95%  failure rate.

My clients have plunged into diets (also disguised as “nutrition plans” or “lifestyle programs” — or a weight loss turned “wellness” plan that now goes by initials that apparently stand for … nothing); they’d lose weight, and then trail off and struggle with what is “required” to keep up that regimen for the rest of their lives, where they’ll no doubt have to grapple with pasta, birthday cake, Chicago-style pizza, homemade bread and butter, and fried chicken.

They got tired of counting points at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

There were times when they bowed out of breakfast dates with friends because it was during their fasting window.

They totally “f*#%@ed up” Keto — too much protein … unbalanced macros … they ate too few calories … or they ate too many … too many vegetables … not enough vegetables.

What a bunch of bullshit.

These are brilliant, vibrant, creative women — and they’re measuring themselves by whether or not they can someday fit into a dress they wore one time, and keep up with rules for eating that never stop changing. 

It’s wasted brain space. Wasted power. Wasted fun. Wasted opportunities.

Here’s what I want you to consider: 

Do not compare the body you have now to the way it was in another era of your life. 

It’s one thing to look back at your life and see evidence that you were taking care of yourself in a way that felt good to you.

You liked how you looked.

Your energy levels were humming along nicely.

You could do things physically that you aren’t sure you could do now.

And … that was years ago before you and your body did magical things like created a relationship, had babies, built a career, etc.

THIS body is your new adventure.

The body and life you want can be about right now — not a bygone era when you were mentally and physiologically different.

Grasping for a specific physical circumstance in a body that is changing every day as you get older and wiser … is madness.

You are changing on a cellular level every single second — you can’t help it. It’s not my opinion. It’s science.

That collage of photos represents the past 23 years of my life. I am 25 years old in that first black and white photo.

From the time I gave birth to my daughter in 2000 and gained 70 pounds, until 2011 when I decided that I was going to live my life and live in my body differently — I always looked at that 25-year-old-me photo and wanted to get back to that weight.

I’m 5’8”. Currently, I’m hanging out in the mid to high 140s in terms of my weight. I call it my “natural weight” because I don’t struggle to stay there; it feels right. I have my plan and I work my plan.

It’s not the number that feels good — I feel good.

In that 1996 photo, I probably weighed a little less than 125 pounds — give or take.

I can remember looking at that photo in 2005 when my daughter was four years old and thinking, “Could I please just get back there? I was there once; surely to God, I can be there again.”

Never mind that I was in the middle of a devastating succession of miscarriages in an attempt to have a second baby. Four of them in less than two years.

I desperately and shamefully thought that if I couldn’t have a baby, could I at least have my body back and look like that again? What was it going to take?

In 2009, I still gazed at that photo and wanted that 25-year-old body — the way the belt on that dress cinched around my waist. Where had I gone wrong? I felt so uncomfortable and frustrated with myself.

Listen up, though …

I was dismissing something very important when I looked nostalgically at that photo of my 1996 self.

I can tell you exactly what was going on at that time.

I can even remember the photographer coming into my classroom to take my photo while I was reading with my students.

It was my first teaching job, and I was a wreck.

I wanted to quit before I got there every single day.

I cried in the car all the way to work and started up again as soon as I was on my way home.

No one knew my secret. I was all alone.

Weeks before, I had been over-the-moon excited about my new career and my life, until an early August evening when my parents sat down with my two brothers and me to tell us they were separating after 25 years of marriage.

I was gutted.

Completely devastated.

Everything I thought I knew about my life had turned upside down.

I was also told I had to relinquish my apartment for the separation and move back home.

So the one anchor I had to get my bearings — my own space — was taken from me (I would never put up with that bullshit now, but when you’re in shock and feel like you’re about five years old with the uttering of one heartbreaking sentence, you just do it).

Body-wise, I was already a slim woman  — I didn’t really consider my weight very often. I was young, didn’t have much money and was working two or three jobs until I got my teaching post. I was on the move all the time and probably didn’t eat a lot then anyway.

But when all of those forces crashed together — my first teaching job coupled with the dissolution of my family … I really didn’t eat.

I am one of those people who almost completely abandons food when anxiety takes over.

That fall, I would go all day without anything to eat and get some kind of fast food at the end of the night because I was starving and it gave me a little comfort. That would be it, and for days in a row.

I probably dropped over 10 pounds in less than two weeks, and maybe even more after that.

What I saw as a “goal weight” in 2005 was the result of a family crisis, a brand new job and moving all of my shit out of my apartment and back into my childhood bedroom for an undetermined period of time.

I weighed 125 pounds in 1996 because I felt fucking awful.

It was one of the worst times of my life.

And that, my friends, is the bar I set for my beautiful self in 2005 when my body was going haywire from hormones and the secret tragedy that comes with miscarriages.

Look at what we do to ourselves.

We cling to old eras and tell ourselves we were better then than we are now; and why can’t we just do now what we did then and get our act together?

As women, our bodies change year after year after year. We are not meant to stay the same exact number the scale says, or measure our worth and how “good or bad” we are by that number.

I look at those 2005 and 2009 photos and I remember such a sense of longing. Something — and it wasn’t just physical — was dying to come forth.

Well, you can keep longing or start living.

I started living with a lot more intention, creativity, wonder, vulnerability, and determination.

Look at your life now.

How can you embrace and support your wise and wonderful body now? 

More importantly, what kind of life is that body going to experience? 

As for me, my wedding dress is in a vacuum-sealed box in the basement, and it’s going to stay there.

I figure I’ll be here for another 40 or 50 years, and I’ve got a lot of ball gowns I want to wear.

Mind. Movement. Momentum. 

Simple and significant. 

Consistency and commitment. 

30 days. 

Let’s go. 

It’s been over a month since I’ve introduced the Level Up program and women are choosing change, transforming new habits into commitments and seeing themselves like this: 

“This is what I do now. This is who I am.” 

Watch this video to find out how and why Level Up was born and what it could mean for you.

I deliver as much education, hope, motivation and inspiration as I can in my newsletters, blog posts, Facebook and Instagram.

Transformation doesn’t come from the read-and-scroll, though.

Putting it into action does, and that is why people work with me.

I am the one who can guide you to applying it — not just admiring it or wishing for it.

I am the one who can show you that you can go to greater depths than you’re letting yourself believe.

I am the one who will coach you to:

“Do it again and again and again until this becomes who you are.”

Ready to go beyond the read-and-scroll?

APPLY within:

30 Days. 

NO excuses.

NO beating yourself up.

NO one-size-fits-all plan.

NO “cheat days” (hate that term).

NO food jail (the restriction / elimination /  “dangerous” food mentality).

NO to being a “good” or “bad” person as defined by what you put into your mouth.

NO “I hate” …. “don’t have time for” … “can’t do”… “am too tired for” … “it’s boring” exercise lies.

NO putting yourself and your health so far on the back burner of life that you ain’t even on the stove — you’re still in the dark cupboard with the other pots and pans.

And what if, in 30 days, you would be able to say: 

YES to your plan for your life.

YES to small steps resulting in big changes.

YES to now versus someday.

YES to trusting yourself.

YES to consistency and commitment.

YES to progress versus perfection.

YES to resilience — because life happens, and there’s a distraction, disruption, drama, and disappointment. You will train your brain to remember your “why” and keep going.

YES to an appreciation for your body — love for your body — and what it gives you every day versus it not being enough or taking too much space.

YES to discovering that maybe — just maybe — you might be an athlete. I became one in my 40s when, up until then, I never even considered it to be a possibility.

YES to having someone champion you, guide you, encourage you, teach you and motivate you (that’s me! I’m all yours!).

It’s time to Level Up.

In my practice, I offer 15-minute free phone consultation for prospective clients.

Almost every single conversation is a rundown of challenges and pain points where women need my help:

They are seeking overall happiness and fulfillment.

We’ll talk about their careers, partners, children, grief, money or loneliness.

And quite often, in those last five or six minutes of our conversation, she will say something like this:

“And also …”

  • “I hate my body.”
  • “I’ve never felt or looked worse in my whole life.”
  • “I overeat to make myself feel better. Then I feel angry and ashamed. Then I do it again.”
  • “I hate exercising. I start with the dedication and then I let it go.
  • “I’m eating (or sometimes drinking) more than I really want or need to. I don’t like how that feels.”
  • “Exercise is for people who have more time than I do. I am so smothered by my career and family obligations that there is no way I can make time for it. Everything will fall apart.”
  • “I did the ____________diet, and all I did was obsess over counting points/carb cycling / the number of almonds I could eat / macros / the number of pounds I gained back after I “finished” the program.”

Don’t get me wrong, the other issues people bring to me are important, but what I have learned by working with clients for thousands of hours is this:

If we only address those other issues and I’m not asking you if you have a plan for taking care of your health and how you put that into action, then everything else is really just a house of cards.

My experience has shown me that the reverse doesn’t work — or at least doesn’t hold up long.

The job, the baby, the money, the kids being raised or the perfect partner aren’t always going to make you take excellent care of yourself.

It’s not about perfection or being happy all of the time; life is full of ebbs and flows and ups-and-downs.

Let’s talk about the exercise you love, food as your friend, time for self-reflection and fun as the foundation of your growth and happiness.

THIS … THIS is what women are really calling me for most of the time:

“Please help me learn how to take better care of my body.”

“Please help me figure out how exercise doesn’t have to suck.”

“Please help me get off the diet train and do something sane and sustainable when it comes to food.”

“Please help me figure out how to stay motivated.”

“Please help me be able to like my body. Is it even possible to love  my body?”

So I’m coming to you with something that’s all about that — coaching, challenges, support, accountability, love, and toughness around how to live in your best body.

I’ve created a 1:1 coaching “express” package for you called LEVEL UP.

Level Up with courage with tenacity.

Level Up with love and patience.

It’s a laser-focused program that focuses on putting your health on the top shelf.

This is what I do. This is my best work.

Yes, I can help you with stress, depression, grief, anxiety or divorce, among other things.

What I know for sure, though, is that if you take care of your body and your mind supports that, you empower yourself to work through anything that is thrown at you in life.

It’s the first order of business with every single client I serve.

My personal experience has also taught me that taking exceptional care of myself has saved my ass. I know I can handle the rough waters if I stay physically and mentally strong.

I offer you my tools, guidance, and knowledge through social media and blog posts; thank you for the comments, messages, and emails where you let me know how they inspired you or helped you create change in your life.

However, there is nothing like having me all to yourself in your life. Scrolling and reading cannot compare to having an accountability partner who knows your history, your goals, where you need the most encouragement and what your lifestyle is like.

The depths of personal growth happens best when we connect with someone to be our champion, coach, counselor, teacher, and guide.

That’s what I did nine years ago when I got tired of going it alone with diets, self-help books and my stops-and-starts with exercise.

I hired a coach, decided who I wanted to be, and how I wanted my life to reflect that.

That 1:1 work inspired me to stop making promises to myself and become deeply committed. A promise is different from making a commitment.

When you get married, you make promises to one another to create a life together no matter the circumstances.

A commitment is deeper than the promise, and that comes with the day-to-day living.

When we’re committed to something, we find a way to appreciate ordinary life. Being consistent and committed is about loving what goes on in the in-between, not just the end result.

That’s what I want to teach you on this journey to take your health and fitness level to greater heights.

I want you to enjoy the process.

I want you to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and embrace the feeling of pushing yourself.

That’s when you become the woman you want to be and make self-care a priority. It will become as normal as brushing your teeth.

Level Up is a 1:1 coaching program that includes:

  • Extensive pre-work from me (lots of questions for you to answer) so I know where you’re at and what you want before we dive into the first session.
  • Three 1 hour sessions that are ideally scheduled no more than 10 days apart within the 30 days of the program. You can see me in person or we’ll have phone sessions.
  • Those three sessions are scheduled right away so you have a solid commitment set up right away. That way, you can’t drift into weeks or months beyond the program. It’s an intensive, so the continuity of the time we meet is important.
  • Plans, challenges, and homework designed specifically for your goals. Whether we’re focusing on your relationship with food or fitness (or both), I’ve got an arsenal of the best tools I’ve created and used with my clients for the past seven years. These are my “greatest hits” and some new things, too.
  • Every Level Up participant can expect to work on the importance of their mindset and how this is the foundation of transforming anything in your life.
  • In between those hour-long sessions, you can message me, text me or email me to share the progress of what we’ve designed for you in each session. If I don’t hear from you, I’ll come lookin’ — but it is your job — your commitment — to connect with me in this process. I am here to serve you; don’t take that for granted.
  • You will be required to move your body during this process. Exercise. I will work with you to find a way to move your body that you look forward to — I want you to love it. You will go on a fitness scavenger hunt to find those treasures, whether it’s daily walks, working with a trainer, yoga, Zumba, aqua classes, Pilates — I’m loaded with knowledge about what’s out there, the results you can expect to get, and how to integrate movement into your life on a regular basis so it becomes who you are — not inconsistent or non-existent. It’s a non-negotiable, If you don’t think you have time, you’re just lying to yourself. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

All of my skill, devotion, knowledge, care, guidance, inspiration and motivation in Level Up is available to you for $599.

Once I see your registration come through, I will send you your Level Up pre-work and we will set up your 1:1 appointments.

First come, first served — between my private practice, my work as a fitness coach at my gym, having a family, and taking care of myself (practicing what I preach), my calendar is filling up.

I challenge you to find a licensed therapist …  who’s also a life coach … who’s also a group exercise instructor … who’s also a personal trainer  — an ideal professional combination to help you get to the heart of this and get things done.

I challenge you to find a woman who has all of those professional qualifications and has also:

  • I lost over 35 pounds eight years ago and changed her relationship with her body forever.
  • who trusts herself (not a plan designed by a company whose goal is to profit from me gaining and losing the same weight over and over again) to eat for energy and take pleasure in food (both can co-exist.)
  • who loves to move her body and has tried and embraced many forms of exercise — it should be an adventure to find out what you and your body love — not a burden.
  • whose 48-year-old body is stronger and healthier than the woman she was in her 30s with a 70 lb. postpartum weight gain and the battle scars — physically and emotionally — of four miscarriages in less than two years.

When you’re done looking, and you realize that I’m the one —  let’s get going.

Want to connect with me and share where you’re at and how I can help you before you sign up? Connect with me via email at laura@laura-wagner.com or schedule a free phone consultation with me here.

Eight of the 10 spots I’m offering have been claimed since September 1st.

Don’t spend all of your time ruminating and reading this email 45 times.

Come with me. I’ve got you.

It’s never too late, you’re never too old, and nothing is too good to be true.

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