When Mary Jane O’Toole’s partner proposed to her in December 2016 she knew she wanted to lose weight before her big day.
“I had a pretty good idea I didn’t want to be big as a bride. Growing up I told myself, you’re not going to be a fat bride,” she said. “But I don’t want to take away from anyone’s experience being a plus-size bride. Every bride is beautiful,” she told the US TODAY show.
But her weight lose goal wasn’t just about appearances. She knew from year’s of plus-size shopping experience that clothes could cost her more, what she calls a “fat tax”, simply because what she was buying a bigger size.
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After the proposal, Ms O’Toole and her groom downloaded a fitness app and started to track their eating.
By the time she started shopping for dresses she told TODAY she was a “street size 12” but when she found a dress she liked it wasn’t available in her size.
“They had to put extra fabric in the back, so I could get a better sense of what it would look like closed,” Ms O’Toole said. “I found the dress I loved and they said if we have to order it in my size, it would be $600 ($A850) more.”
Despite loving the dress she was determined to avoid paying extra and stepped up her exercise program, training up to five times a week. She went on to lose 61kg and found another amazing dress all before walking down the isle on November 19 last year.
In a before and after Instagram posted just before her wedding last year she wrote: “I can’t believe how different I look from one October to the next.”
The young newlywed said she now fits into clothes she never thought she would be able to.
“Amazing what drive, trust in the process, and stubbornness can get you!”
In her wedding day post she wrote: “I’m in a dress I NEVER thought I would be able to wear.”
While she is proud of the kilos she shed, Ms O’Toole hopes to see more clothing manufacturers practice fair pricing.
“Big girls want to look good too and it doesn’t help our self esteem to go into a store and not find our size,” she explained to TODAY. “Women spend money. If most of the female population is plus sized, wouldn’t you want to accommodate the people who want to buy your clothing?”
The decision she says, is better for business adding, “Make these accommodations and make people happy in their clothes. And then business will be cyclical. They’ll keep coming back to buy more.”