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.
Perhaps what I need is a little help in the redistribution department. A little squeeze here, a little push there, and voilá! 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. 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 most 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.