Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Why starve yourself when Spanx and an LBD does the trick?

Spanx fan: TV star Tess Daly

It's time to put that cake down, ladies. The Christmas party season is just weeks from full swing and, apparently, we female workers have nothing better to worry about than losing weight to squeeze in to that slim little number for the delectation of our colleagues.

According to one of those inane new polls out, 62% of women want to lose weight before the festive season, while 40% specifically want to slim down to impress at the office party. Every magazine you pick up at the minute screams advice on how to shed those pounds in the few weeks we have left.

Apart from short-term starvation being unhealthy, I've never understood the psyche of wanting to lose weight simply to show off for the work Christmas do.

Your workmates are the people who see you every day, so if you've dropped a stone, I suspect they might have noticed by now.

They aren't suddenly going to spot it when you walk in all dolled up for the party. They see you year-round, why make a difference at Christmas? I can understand a woman wanting to do it when meeting people she hasn't seen in a long time, like a school reunion, or a big occasion like her wedding day – but Christmas is always a strange one on me.

For a start, it's a ridiculously busy time of year for us females of the species, who tend to be the ones left to carry the stress of present-buying, tree-decorating, organising etc. Who would want to do all that on an empty stomach? What better way to burn calories than running around a toy shop?

I've never intentionally lost weight in my life. What I mean is that it has only ever happened through reasons other than willpower and exercise, like illness or a change of lifestyle (going from being an unemployed graduate to a full-time worker who has to get up before noon every day).

In fact, any time I've tried to lose weight, I've ended up putting it on through thinking about food more than usual, and then giving in to those thoughts. I dallied with Weight Watchers once ahead of being my best friend's bridesmaid. She lost an impressive stone-and-a-half while I made WW history by putting on a stone in the first month. It was all very funny until I tried on my beautiful dress for the final fitting and the zip wouldn't even think about going up.

Panic stations saw me starve for the last three weeks before the wedding and invest heavily in all sorts of magic underwear.

Lo and behold, the hard-working zip made it up on the big day, but when we sat down to the wedding dinner, I ate like I'd never seen food before.

My dress was heavily structured with two 'bones' running down the inside of the front to keep it straight.

Thankfully no one noticed when they both snapped as I sat down after the first toast, having buckled under the pressure of my first meal in weeks.

I have swung between being a size 14 or 16 for years. I wouldn't say I'm proud of that, nor am I overly bothered. Like every woman, there are times I look in the mirror and feel deflated.

I would like to be healthier and I wish I had strong willpower but I've proved I don't. I've proved it's only counter-productive. I admire anyone who can lose weight, whether it's to be healthier or more confident.

Food is one of my greatest pleasures in life and I'm not willing to sacrifice that, especially not for one night in a frock. Besides, why starve yourself when a good pair of Spanx and a little black dress have the same slimming effect as a few weeks of crash dieting?

Now, where's that biscuit tin?

'I'VE BEEN A SIZE 14 OR 16 FOR YEARS AND I'M NOT OVERLY BOTHERED'

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