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The Shapewear Dilemma

As a teen, I was athletic and petite. I played tennis almost every day and ran about 10 miles during the week. In college, I watched what I ate and exercised when I could. I felt great and never feared about going into the dressing room. How silly!

Now, in my 30s, certain trepidations hinder my daily decisions about what to eat and what to wear.

I’ve been married for almost 6 ½ years. The husband is my partner in crime when it comes to food. We enjoy restaurants and eat out way too often. In our family, food unites us. It makes us feel comfortable and happy. It’s a celebration of love.

I had two kids in 3 years. When I found out I was pregnant with our oldest daughter, I thought it was an excuse to eat anything and everything. Fried seafood? Bring it on and double the tartar sauce. Thick cuts of steak with drawn butter? Give me a side of fries and sautéed mushrooms. Chocolate soufflé? Add extra chocolate sauce, please. Fortunately, the smell of steak started to make me sick during the 2nd and 3rdtrimesters, but that did not stop me from raiding the refrigerator constantly throughout the day and frequenting fast food chains I rarely visited before the pregnancy.

After giving birth, my body was gracious enough to bounce back within a few months.

When I was pregnant with our son, I was once again given a license to gorge myself with food. I gained so much weight during the first trimester, my OB/GYN told me I needed to cut back on what I was eating.

“But the baby needs food,” I argued.

With a snicker the doctor said that I was “eating enough food for a small army.” Funny.

Needless to say, my body did not recover well after the 2nd pregnancy. There is little evidence of my once flat and muscular abs. The thighs rarely see light, except for in the shower and when I jump quickly into the pool. There is a little bit more of me on top, in the middle and on the bottom.

I used to avoid wearing pants, especially jeans. I rue the day low-rise jeans came into existence and flanked the legs of women and young girls everywhere. Slinky dresses made me cringe. Whose smart idea was it to add a belt to accentuate the waist? I didn’t need accentuating. I needed a cloaking device that would eliminate my entire mid-section. I needed cosmetic surgery without the surgery that would enhance, lift and tuck. I needed a new body.

A few years ago, I strolled into Nordstrom and I saw a fabulous Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress, on sale. My heart fluttered and I was lost in a fashion reverie. I grabbed the dress and skipped to the dressing room. Under the glaring fluorescent lights, in front of a too-honest mirror, I groaned in disgust. The DVF wrap dress could barely wrap around my body.

I walked out of the dressing room, disappointed and discouraged. Wandering around, I found myself in the lingerie section. Women were talking happily, their hands motioning this way and that. Smiles captured their faces, and I wanted no part of this scene. A lovely woman in her 50s approached me and I tried looking for an escape route, but narrow, populated aisles surrounded me, and I was stuck.

“Can I help you?” the saleswoman asked.

“Oh, no. I’m just browsing,” I said meekly.

“There must be something you need, dear,” she tipped her head down and pointed to my arm.

Confused, I followed her gaze. I had walked out of the dressing room with the dress slung over my arm. I rolled my eyes and grunted.

“I see,” she said, nodding. Moving between bras and panties with the gracefulness of a butterfly, she led me towards a sea of nude colored garments. With the wave of her arm, I was in a brightly lit dressing room, large enough to fit a bed in, surrounded by various slips, odd-looking underwear and something that looked like bicycle pants.

That was the day I was introduced to the secret world of shapewear — a world where back fat, muffin tops and visible panty lines disappear. My life (and clothes) changed forever.

shapewear

For all-over help, try Spanx‘s Hide and Seek Full Bodysuit or Slim Cognito Seamless Mid-Thigh Bodysuit. The full bodysuit allows you to slip on those Theory trousers you’ve had hanging in your closet for months with a crisp white dress shirt. The Slim Cognito straps onto any bra to prevent the body-suit from rolling down – it’s a little cumbersome when you have to visit the bathroom, but sacrifice a little in the name of fashion. Both pieces accentuate your shape and create a smooth line in the front and in the back.

Spanx's

For a seamless look on top, I turn to Sassybax. I love their Underwire Bra and the Very Bare Bra. They get rid of those embarrassing visible bra lines and terminate the dreaded back fat issue altogether. The Very Bare bra is a miracle worker, best worn under those dresses or tops that reveal a little skin — it will hold you, ladies!

Sassybax

When I’m in the mood to wear tank tops, I turn to none other than the Wacoal Try A Little Slenderness Cami. It helps smooth my stomach and waist.

Wacoal Try A Little Slenderness Cami.

I love dresses, and to achieve that slim, shapely look, I reach for my Spanx Hide and Sleek Strapless Full Slip.

No one needs to know about the extra pounds. Stop sucking in your stomach and wearing oversized shirts. Celebrate yourself and let them think you go to the gym everyday.

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