Like so many brides, when Jill Kurrle got engaged she immediately decided she needed to lose weight to look her best for her wedding day. Then she started taking classes at barre3 Los Altos and her entire outlook shifted. Read on to find out how she went from focusing on looking great on one day to being healthy for her whole life. Here’s Jill in her own words.
Are you prepping for a big event—maybe a wedding, maybe a reunion, maybe a beach vacation—and putting your body through the ringer to be “perfect” for it? Crash dieting, intense sessions with a personal trainer, obsessively checking your fitness tracker to make sure you hit your daily goals, all with one deadline in mind?
It can be so tempting to overwork your body to get fast results, but what happens after the event is over? When there are no more dress fittings, no more concerns about the photographs that will be displayed on your mantle forever, no more beach time in a bikini, what happens then? Many people breathe a sigh of relief, drop their strict regimen, and then go to another extreme of letting go and indulging in foods that don’t nourish their bodies—which is just as unhealthy.
So what’s the alternative? Instead of having tunnel vision toward one single event, what if we broadened our lens to see the bigger picture: shifting our focus from one day of looking great to a life of feeling our best. That’s what barre3 taught me.
A year ago, I was staring my August wedding in the face, thinking, “I have to lose 20 pounds!” I wasn’t even unhappy with my body, but like every bride, I wanted to make sure I looked my best when I walked down that aisle. A friend recommended barre3, and to be honest, I was skeptical. I’m a marathon runner, so I exercise for free all the time. Paying for gyms (or any type of exercise) felt wasteful to me. But I figured I’d just do it for three months to get wedding-ready, and then I’d go back to my normal routine. I’m a big morning person, so I told myself “OK, anytime I’m home and not traveling for work, I will commit to going to the 6 a.m. class.” In other words, like so many brides, I was doing this all with singular focus: my wedding day.
I stuck to my plan, and even did barre3 while I was traveling—in the studio if there was one nearby, online in my hotel room if not. Almost without my even realizing it, my perspective changed during those months before the big day. Barre3 went from being something I was doing for my wedding to being something I was doing for myself. Anyone who has ever gotten married knows how intense it can be to plan a wedding. Going to barre3 became my time to focus on me—not the flowers, not the seating charts, not the guests—just my own well-being, both mentally and physically. At the same time, my focus on a goal weight disappeared. Instead, I shifted my perspective and didn’t watch the scale. I stopped worrying about being the perfect version of the bride and just focused on how I wanted to feel in my dress and on that day. Letting go like that is so unlike my personality, but barre3 helped me get there—and it felt amazing.
We live in the Bay area, but our wedding was in San Diego. I went there two weeks before the big day for final wedding prep, and I had the weirdest feeling, like something was missing. Then it dawned on me: It was barre3. I missed that calmness I get from doing a class and that sense of support I got from being in the studio. I went to class at the UTC/La Jolla studio, and it was like pressing the reset button. Immediately I felt great again.
My last fitting for my dress was the day before my wedding, and you know what? I loved what I saw. I hadn’t crash dieted—in fact, I hadn’t dieted at all—I had just focused on eating healthy and keeping up my barre3 practice. I was never hungry and never felt deprived. And standing there looking in the mirror with my wedding dress on, I was so happy and so confident.
When I got back from my honeymoon, I couldn’t wait to get back to the Los Altos studio. I still go every day at 6 a.m., and if it’s possible, I love barre3 even more now than I did before my wedding. Now there’s no deadline, no looming dress fitting, no honeymoon-in-a-bikini to think about it. It’s just me, giving myself an hour each day to better myself.
And that’s why I don’t see this as a story about my wedding. It’s a story about my life. Yes, I started barre3 to get in shape for the big day, but what I got was so much more important than that. I learned to make myself a priority, not just so I could feel good on one day of my life, but so I could be my best self every day. If I could offer one piece of advice—to brides, but also to everyone—it would be to commit to yourself today. Don’t wait for a big event to give you a reason. You are the reason, and you’re worth it.