Shame, Shapewear, and Sexiness

I am ashamed. I am ashamed that I have let myself go like this. There is a woman in our church who is about six months pregnant, and I’m pretty sure my non-baby bump is bigger than her baby-bump. Perhaps I should start shopping in the maternity section.

I started the summer in good shape, having eaten fairly healthy and exercised. But then the alternating schedule demands and laziness of summer brought too many skipped exercise classes, too many runs through drive-through windows, too many times of sitting on the couch with a family movie on and my mouth munching on something, anything. Now when I enter my closet, the question is not “What should I wear?” but “What can I still zip up?” *headdesk*

Yes, I’ve started back to exercising, and I’m trying to eat better. However, it’s going to take a while to get everything tucked back where it belongs. And let’s face it: Some of it is never going back. I ain’t 20 anymore. In fact, I read once that to simply maintain your weight, you have to eat 15% less each decade after age 40. That’s daunting, isn’t it?

So in the meantime, I’ve been considering a step I had mocked previously: Purchasing “shapewear.” Having referred to these tummy and butt tuckers as “modern-day corsets,” I refused to fall prey to the notion that a woman must conform to unrealistic standards of beauty. I would not support the fashion industry in its pursuit of perfection through binding undergarments!

But as I survey the muffin top hanging over my pant waist (which is way bigger than a muffin, more like a bundt cake) and then walk through the lingerie areas of local stores, I find myself pausing at items with labels that suggest “light tummy control,” “smooths tummy and buttocks,” and my favorite, “Good muffin, bad muffin” with pictures of the dessert and a lumpy lady. Hmmm. Maybe there is something to this after all.

Spanx ad

Does anyone else blame Oprah who featured this company?

Perhaps what I need is a little help in the redistribution department. A little squeeze here, a little push there, and voilΓ‘! an hourglass figure appears. It sounds like magic, doesn’t it? And it would sure beat sucking in all the time.

I haven’t yet pulled out my wallet and gone this route. Had the shapewear been priced at $9.99, I might have bitten already. But do I really want to pay $42.00 for an item that my grandmother called a “girdle”? Is $15.00 for a single pair of panties — no matter how much control it takes over my tummy — reasonable? Is the extra around my equator bad enough to warrant a separate line for shapewear in my monthly budget?

Not according to my husband. His response to my frustrations? “More of you to love.”

I’m sure it could get to a point where he felt that there was too much of me to love and he feared for his life with the woman-on-top position, but we’re nowhere near that yet and, thankfully, most husbands don’t care about a few pounds this way or that. He still thinks I’m sexy.

When I peel off my strained pants, his eyes still gaze at my body. When I sit in bed and my stomach creates folds, he scoots closer. When I curl him next to him, he spoons my body and strokes my tummy and breasts, happy that he gets to touch his wife’s naked body.

And gals, we need to remember that.

Of course we should pursue our health. God gave us these bodies, and we should take care of them.Β  A healthy body is also a more attractive body, so focusing on good health often results in feeling prettier.

We also want to dress in a way that flatters us. Forgetting the shapewear for a moment, if you’re struggling with some extra poundage, tight shirts are not your friend. (I am currently favoring empire waists and dresses with ruched waists or belted in the middle.) There are clothes that will bring out the best in you, whatever your shape and size.

But you are still sexy. God created you as a beautiful woman. Your husband enjoys looking and touching you not because you are a supermodel, but because you are a woman. Your body is vastly different from his, and those differences are intriguing to him. He also has a relationship with you and sees more than just your body when he looks at you.

It can be difficult to let your guard down and allow your husband to delight in your body when you are self-conscious about it, but sexiness doesn’t rely on perfection. One of the best things that has happened since I started talking about this subject is finding out that some of the married couples with the mostΒ amazing sex lives are rather average in looks. They are sexy because of how they approach each other, their focus on one another’s bodies as gifts from God, and their own confidence that they are sexy.

So yeah, I’m still carrying around a little shame for all of those French fries I ate this summer, and I may buy one piece of shapewear for a specific event I have coming up. Yet my sense of sexiness hasn’t gone anywhere.

44 thoughts on “Shame, Shapewear, and Sexiness

  1. Jess+the Mess

    I posted on this awhile ago as I was contemplating not shapewear but a tummy tuck! Four babies, and 3 c-sections, there is an aspect of my body that just will not cooperate with all the exercise and healthy food in the world! thanks for a great post.

    1. J

      Aren’t those C-sections a killer? It’s like a built-in flap there for fat to hang over, LOL. But I’m sure you look much better than you think! We’re hardest on ourselves. Know that you’re still sexy & strut your stuff with your hubby around! πŸ™‚

    2. Anonymous

      Late to the party, but even as a guy I can empathize with you. When I walk past a plate glass window or large mirror and see what my profile actually looks like, it saddens me. Unlike most wives, I have no problem being naked in front of my wife, but I know I would not be seen in a swimsuit without a t-shirt at this point in my life. The belly is bad enough, though not all that large, but the slight man-boobs are very disheartening. I feel with diet and excercise, I can eliminate or at least significantly reduce these issues. If those efforts didn’t work though and I had the money I too would consider surgery. If a tummy-tuck is the only way you can be comfortable with and accepting of your figure, then go for it. If after a year of serious diet and excercise you are not seeing continuing improvement then a tummy-tuck seems a reasonable option. You have to come away from the procedure with reasonable expectations and then not sabotage the results. If you cannot sustain a serious, regular diet and excercise program for a year first, I wouldn’t consider the procedure. There is no surgical procedure that will impart discipline where there is none. To undo all the good done by a procedure will only cause you more anguish and lower your self-esteem. You will be in a worse place than from where you started.

  2. mind-full

    May I print this entry on really big paper and paste it on a billboard?

    I know it’s true that my husband desires what I have to offer — he says so, he doesn’t make comparisons, he doesn’t express any expectations. Yet, I look at myself hyper-critically, make comparisons and express my own expectations (of myself) enough for the both of us. Am I trying to encourage him in feeling discontented? Sheesh!

    Thanks for pointing out the truth on this subject. Society and media have glorified the slim, airbrushed ideal of womanhood to the degree that no one knows what “real” consists of anymore. Size 12 and 14 are always missing from the clothing racks, and NO ONE purchases the small and medium sized clothing … so real is out there. It’s most of us, not just some of us.

    I have to say, though, I’m really not big on the 15% reduction in food consumption every 10 years; I could have gone on just fine without that bit of information, but it will be fun to spring on the ladies I know.

    1. J

      Go right ahead and print it, mind-full!

      You know who wears those doll-sized clothes in the stores? Cute little athletic 16 old years with flat tummies who have NO IDEA what’s in their future. :p

      Love the skin you’re in! You are beautiful, stamped with MADE BY GOD. (And they say Marilyn Monroe was a size 12 at one point. She still turned heads.)

    2. Anonymous

      I mean no disrespect to anyone, no matter the size. But, I do get tired of hearing that “real” women are large. Yes, I’m about a size six. But I think having six babies and nursing each one 6-24 months qualifies me as a REAL woman. Is my body perfect? Nope. I’ve got the “poochy” tummy and I struggle with it. But being thin, or buying size small or medium doesn’t make me less of a woman than someone who is a 14. We don’t have to put one another down to feel good about ourselves. :0)

    3. J

      You make a very good point, Anonymous! I’m sorry if that came across wrong. I personally see beauty in all sizes, and REAL women come in various shapes and sizes. In fact, it can be hard on thinner women to get any sympathy for their tummy or thigh issues or whatever because people assume small means no difficulties. But women are women. We also need to appreciate the beauty that exists in all sizes and shapes and stick together like girlfriends in God! πŸ˜‰

  3. Stacy

    πŸ™‚ I love Spanx! I don’t consider myself overweight, but I do have a rather dull looking behind that loves wearing Spanx. πŸ™‚ It makes me feel better about how I look for my husband when we’re out and about.

    1. J

      I was talking to a good friend of mine about this post, and she said her Spanx were great for now and then. I will probably crack and go for it, but I want to also feel fabulous about the way my husband looks at me when I peel everything off. Thanks, Stacy!

  4. Erica

    Not five minutes before I saw this post I was having a very depressed moment thinking of my weight. I am currently at the weight I was when I was 9 months pregnant with my first daughter. I had thought that I was at rock bottom 6 months ago when I still hadn’t lost the weight from 2 pregnancies, but now it’s even worse. I find it so hard to like myself at all, and I don’t believe my husband truly thinks I’m beautiful. Some of that is from previous hurts between us, but also because I don’t find myself attractive in the least. Anyways, I didn’t want this comment to turn into a pity party. So I’ll stop! hahaha.

    I bought some Spanx a few months ago for my sister’s wedding and I might just love them. It didn’t totally reshape me like I thought they would, but they do help. A few pants and skirts that I couldn’t zip before I was able to zip. My only problem was that the material is a little slick and sometimes my shirt will ride up or something and then I have my spanx shown off to the world.

    1. J

      Oh, Erica! The last time I was at the doc’s, I looked at the reading on the scale and said, “The last time I saw that number I was very pregnant.” I actually think that it’s harder now to eat well because having kid food around means that high-calorie offerings are always available.

      I’m just fine with wearing clothes and undergarments that flatter the feminine figure. I just hope you know that underneath is all is a gorgeous woman…a daughter of the King!

  5. Pearl

    I love this! Love the skin your in and try to be healthy. Because he definitely LOVES the skin you’re in. AMEN, J…. However, one time I did break under the peer pressure and bought a pair of Spanx, just so my backside was girded down and was not a horrible jiggling distraction to those in the pew behind me. πŸ™‚

    1. J

      So well put, Pearl! Love the skin you’re in & be healthy! I’m not actually opposed to Spanx, but I was trying to avoid it. *sigh* Since I can’t afford a dietician and a personal trainer, I think a pair of tummy/tush smoothers is in my future. But I’m still going to pursue that exercise and good eating!

  6. Greg

    “…God created you as a beautiful woman. Your husband enjoys looking and touching you not because you are a supermodel, but because you are a woman. Your body is vastly different from his, and those differences are intriguing to him. He also has a relationship with you and sees more than just your body when he looks at you.”

    AMEN to that! God knew exactly what He was doing when He made those remarkable, amazing differences. As someone once said:

    “If God made anything more beautiful than a woman, He kept it for Himself.”

    1. J

      I’m so glad a man piped in here and affirmed the male perspective! In turn, studies show that women are attracted by the broad shoulders and musculature of men…especially when they are attached to a great guy. Thanks, Greg!

  7. Elizabeth Spence

    Um, I totally bought the Target version of Spanx after my third baby because there was no way I was going to my husband’s office Christmas party one month after giving birth while feeling so awful. Even if you’re thin (like I am), your body is just never the same.

    I have struggled with believing my husband when he tells me he loves my body, sometimes making comments about how he can’t really think that. He finally told me that I was insulting him by not allowing him to compliment me…he said it was like I was saying he was lying by not believing him. So I finally had to start to take those thoughts captive and start believing him and stop focusing on what I don’t like.

    Elizabeth@Warrior Wives
    http://www.thewarriorwives.com

    1. J

      Target has a Spanx version? I must check that out.

      I do think husbands feel insulted at some point when we don’t believe that they love our bodies. We need to believe what they say: that we really are beautiful to them.

      Thanks so much for sharing, Elizabeth!

    2. Anonymous

      Yes, Target has a version. I think they are called Asset but very affordable!

      Thanks for the great post. SSC

  8. Anonymous

    Sometimes shapewear is more about your body, your skin, and your clothes than about how sexy it makes you feel. Don’t discount the practical side!

    1. J

      Indeed! I just hope we feel beautiful with the shapewear and clothes on and also when we peel it all off for the hubby later. Thanks!

  9. sara

    thanks so much for this post! totally hating my body today…. seems like the harder I try to watch what I eat and to exercise, the worse the body looks, and the more I crave junk food…. but hating on my body aside…. I love your blog!… it’s encouraging and uplifting, and makes me look forward to my husband coming home so I can jump him!!!!

    1. J

      I sometimes get frustrated when I don’t see progress after exercising, which makes stress-eat, which destroys any progress I could have, which makes me frustrated, which makes me stress-eat… Yeah, you see how this is going. :/

      I bet your husband can’t wait to get home so you can jump him! I’m sure he thinks you are absolutely gorgeous when you’re in his arms.

  10. Anonymous

    Oh ugh. I’ve never bought Spanx, although my mom has suggested I might need to. :/ but yeah…..I struggle greatly with believing my husband likes the way I look, mostly because he doesn’t pursue me as much as I need him to. He’s just a very easy going guy, nothing perverted going on. He doesn’t have a lot of needs outside sleep. Lol! But although I know he has eyes only for me, it’s SO hard to feel like anything but a mound of bread dough after seven kids. I eat very healthy and walk after dinner, so it’s not like I neglect my health. I need to lose a couple of sizes for me, so I can be comfortable with myself again.

    1. J

      Having a lower drive husband is hard when you want to be gazed at and appreciated. It’s good to know that he only has eyes for you, though.

      As to losing a couple of sizes, I would say that women tend to do better with healthy eating and exercise when they feel comfortable and confident FIRST. That’s a paradox, isn’t it? But when we feel good about ourselves, we take care of ourselves better. So I hope you know that you are beautiful. And wow, the mother of 7 kids! Lots of children arise and call you blessed! (Prov 31:38)

    2. Anonymous

      Oh, how great it would feel if our husbands ravenously chased us around the house because our mere presence aroused him instead of him kicked back on the lazy boy saying, “you look great to me.”

    3. Anonymous

      I hear ya!!! I am married to a lower drive man(though between you and me, I wish he would go get checked out, I am thinking hormonal issues, at least then I would know rather than wishing)

      I have had three kiddos in four and a half years of marriage. I am only 23, he 24. He says how much he loves my post baby body, that I am a mature woman now, rather than the girl he married, but I struggle. I am working hard to lose the baby weight, sometimes more for myself than him. He is still in college, and I know he is around all those other college girls, and sometimes I really have to work hard to capture some of the lies Satan feeds me.
      He can go two weeks and not even bat an eye, while I like it about every third day. I know he loves me, and I know he is committed to God, and our marriage. I am not truly worried, but Satan sure likes to feed me doubts. It is hard! Hugs

  11. Anonymous

    Seriously(LOL!!!)……How sexy is it when he has to peeeeeeel it off of you? Or you take it off and the “real you” plops out? Sorry, these things make me laugh πŸ˜€
    As you can see I have quite the visionary imagination!

    Cindy
    Song Of Solomon Women

    1. Anonymous

      I’m a US 6 but still have a bit of a tummy, so I wear (some cheap own-brand version of) Spanx sometimes, especially if we’re going somewhere special. But my husband never sees it, and certainly never has to peeeel it off me! When I get home I go into the bathroom and put them straight into the laundry basket before going into the bedroom. For all he knows, I’ve been knickerless all evening (and that’s a killer for him *wink*)
      Same with my super-ugly, stick-on, front-only bra that I wear with backless dresses…!
      So there are ways to get away with ugly practical underwear without your husband having to deal with it later πŸ™‚

  12. Anonymous

    My body, particularly my mid-section, got so large that I just could not bear going out in public without shapewear. And believe me, it has nothing to do with me wearing the wrong type or size of clothing…I am just that big. So I started wearing Spanx about 2 years ago. I can’t say I love it because I don’t. I feel like a fake and they’re not terribly comfortable. Plus, I am embarrassed putting them on or undressing in front of my hubby and having him see me in those. It’s awful! Everyday, I wish I could get free lypo or a tummy tuck or something! But, I agree that we should try to maintain our confidence in how out husband feels about us. I’m not saying I’m successful in that, but appreciate and agree with the sentiments within your post. Thanks!

    1. J

      Thanks, Anonymous. I don’t know if shapewear is any more fake than wearing clothes that flatter our bodies. Maybe, maybe not. But if you feel better with it on, wear it.

      As for lipo, let me know when the price goes down to $299! I bet we could round up a lot of women for that. Just kidding! πŸ˜‰ Feel beautiful, be beautiful. Best wishes!

  13. Anonymous

    Ok, a few things: 1. Shapewear isn’t evil. I have a nice figure, hourglass with just enough extra padding…think Marilyn Monroe, just not as big busted (darn). But I still use shapewear as foundation garments to help clothes lay and fit better. They can be a great help when your body is in transition so your wardrobe isn’t so limited. I don’t wear them every day. Just Sundays and major outtings.

    2. You wanna get your rear in gear FAST, go for The Firm, Beachbody, or Denise Austen’s Fat-Blasting Yoga. I use all 3 and am back down to my pre pregnancy weight just 3 months after my 4th child was born! Clean eating really helps. I eat all natural…eggs, butter, raw milk, fruit, veg, full fat yogurt, nuts, meat, potatoes and very little pasta and processed foods.

    3. I was just thinking this morning if someone like Paul if Gerad would put out a survey to the men about what they think about their wife’s post baby body. I know my husband loves mine and he actually does not wish I had my prebaby body back at all. Before I lost the just-after-baby pooch, he grabbed it in both hands, nuzzled my neck and growled, “I LOVE this body!!”. He loves my “jello on springs” hips and backside (movie reference: Some like it hot). I am supposed to be 10 lbs lighter according to Dr charts, but he prefers me 10 lbs heavier….still shapely but with softness and cusion. Lol…

  14. Megan@DoNotDisturb

    Great thoughts. I especially love this line; “He also has a relationship with you and sees more than just your body when he looks at you.” So true and important for me to remember when I seem to feel the worst about myself. Thanks for the great reminder.

    Megan

  15. Anonymous

    “When I peel off my strained pants, his eyes still gaze at my body. When I sit in bed and my stomach creates folds, he scoots closer. When I curl him next to him, he spoons my body and strokes my tummy and breasts, happy that he gets to touch his wife’s naked body.”

    “It can be difficult to let your guard down and allow your husband to delight in your body when you are self-conscious about it, but sexiness doesn’t rely on perfection.”

    Thank you for writing this! I had my last baby 14 months ago, just before I turned 41. I still can’t get rid of those last 15 pounds to get back down to that petite self I used to be. Carrying that fat around has been hard on me, emotionally. But reading what you stated above echoes what my husband has been telling me for months now…and I feel like I finally get it. So when I get naked, I can just “let it roll.” He still comes after me. That is a nice feeling. Thank you!

  16. Anonymous

    My Husband enjoys my body, and at size 20+ I’m larger than most. (I was athletic and petite when we married, but gained weight after a serious illness.) I won’t be buying Spanx, but will continue eating healthy foods, jogging and walking so that I can enjoy many more years with him. I admit that I have a hard time sympathizing with people who are a size six πŸ™‚ Maybe it’s harder to have a good body image when it seems like you’re so close to perfect. When you’re fluffy all over, there’s not that one spot to hone in on. I say we should all be thankful for our differences. It’s really what’s inside that counts.

  17. Megan

    I really love this. πŸ™‚

    Bundt cake make me laugh out loud!

    PS – I found some shape wear at Dress Barn that was cheaper than spanx and is very comfy. I wear it under skirts and things for some added modesty and a little slimming. πŸ™‚

  18. Anonymous

    This post struck a chord with me…..and i can not disagree more. Maybe you could address this post towards women who have husbands that are very different than your husband??? Thats GREAT that your husband still desires your body. Unfortunately NOT all husbands are like that. I was pretty overweight, and my husband started looking elsewhere (not physically, just looking for eye candy) because he found my body to be a turn off. Yes, what he did was wrong, but just because he had a relationship with me, doesn’t mean that he still found my body to be exciting or sexy. I have worked VERY hard to lose the weight, started running, and am scheduled early next year to get a tummy tuck. Not for him, but for me…because i am worth it. When it came out about his fantasies, my self esteem took a tremendous blow, and sex and being sexy for him are still a major struggle in our lives.

    1. J

      Yes, there are some husbands who object to changes in their wife’s body. However, I have found them to be in the minority. Most husbands I hear from are more content with their wife’s body than the wife is with it.

      My heart goes out to you and what you’ve been through. There may be other issues involved besides just appearance. I’ve known some husbands who blamed their wives’ appearance for losing interest in the relationship when there were other factors at play. Of course, I don’t know your particular situation. But please know that you have my prayers.

  19. Anonymous

    And from the perspective of a husband whos wife lost 70,lbs and looks really good to me now, I will just say that I should have been more content the way it was. Both have advantages but one is more unsightly and unhealthy. I never pressured her any time to lose weight, but I did appreciate the effort also lost a bunch.
    She’s a wonder woman and not vain or worldly and we’ve had many children which have been a great blessing to us. I absolutely love her body and enjoy looking at it and getting drunk on touching it but I will say with 70 lbs off boobs shriveled somewhat and i do miss them, but there are other things we can do better with 110 lbs gone between us. It was worth it but just not essential to being good lovers. It did not make her more sexy but made her feel better about herself which is important to women. Weight is not the issue and using some spanx is ok for going out, but in bed let me enjoy it all hands on please and relax and enjoy me back.

  20. Jenny

    This is SO TRUE. I gained about 25 pounds from medication over the period of a couple of years. I never got to the actual overweight point, because I’m pretty tall, but my naturally large hips/posterior got significantly larger and even more jiggly, I developed somewhat of a stomach that had previously been flat, and my arms and legs got bigger….the only good part is that my boobs grew too! I have a lot of clothes that don’t fit, too. But my husband is the same as yours. He can’t take his eyes off of me when I’m naked. He squeezes my wobbly bits, pinches and pokes, he loves how soft I am. He has always liked the way my butt jiggles during sex in….certain positions. πŸ™‚ At one point, several years ago, I was somewhat underweight, and he says that he never wants me to be skinny again. I have lost 9 pounds since my medication dosage was lowered in July, and I’d like to lose five more (I will still be….quite soft. haha), but even if I don’t I’m happy where I am, secure in the fact that my husband thinks I’m the sexiest, cutest, most beautiful woman ever because I’m his.

  21. Adam's Eve

    Amen, sista! And I call them my “extra pounds of happiness” and I know I’m bringing my husband “happiness” regardless of my size! He makes me feel so sexy regardless of the pounds I’ve put on since we were married. I’m proud of the woman I am because my husband sure is!

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