The marriages may not last, but weddings and weight loss are a match that will be together forever.

Every bride wants to look her best on the big day, which for many means a strict diet and fitness regime with little margin for error. Losing weight can be a challenge at the best of times, but faced with a deadline as big as a wedding day, brides are getting creative in the battle of the bulge. Traditional methods are out – drastic measures are in.

One woman, featured in a recent New York Times article, responded to the challenge by taking regular vitamin B shots and making weekly $45 visits to a Medithin clinic. Another woman turned to the BluePrintCleanse, a $65-a-day service that provides six bottles of organic juice. Another spent a week surviving on 800 calories per day, delivered via a feeding tube inserted through her nose. Extreme? Yes. But if mainstream media is to be believed, extreme is the name of the bridal weight loss game for the foreseeable future.

A 2007 study at Cornell University found that 70% of the 272 engaged women who participated reported wanting to lose weight (20 pounds on average) before their weddings. Crash diets are becoming increasingly popular, but so are healthier, more traditional approaches to weight loss. “I’ve been training brides for 12 to 13 years, and the typical weight loss is 15 to 20 pounds,” said a Brooklyn-based personal trainer who worked with a client who was so proud of getting fit that she dropped to the ground and performed push-ups before walking down the aisle.

The article has sparked a fierce debate. “If we needed more proof that American women are cultivating a collective eating disorder,” blogged a writer on the Independent Women’s Forum, “enter the feeding tube bride.” The bride herself hit back at critics, saying “I lost the weight. There was no other consequence. I wasn’t putting myself at risk…..It made sense to me. Why can they say it’s crazy?”

Doctors are also divided on the subject. Dr. Gianfranco Cappello of the University of Rome defended the practice. “The millions of obese patients who can benefit from this treatment outnumber the thousands of people with cancer or neurologic dysfunction that require this therapy,” he is quoted as saying. But Dr. Michael Cirigliano, medical expert for Fox 29 in Philadelphia, disagrees strongly. “It’s mind-boggling,” he said in a segment. “I’m speechless. You should not do anything like this. It’s dangerous. It’s wrong.”

Weigh in on the debate: Would you go on an extreme diet for a special occasion?

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