beauty

'I spent a summer in Spanx. And I'll never go back.'

Forget the floaty dresses, the exposed skin and playful days frolicking happily on the beach in a bikini.

I spent last summer – the entire summer – wearing Spanx.

And when I say “entire summer”, I mean entire summer. 

Everywhere I went, they went.

For three long months, I engaged in a ferocious, near-death daily battle with my lycra scuba suit. And believe me, hoisting that mofo up and into place each morning quite literally became a battle of the bulge.

This is not me. But it could be.

Whether it was at work (both on and off screen) or at play, my wardrobe essential was this stupid pair of power panties. They held everything in place and stopped the wiggly bits from jiggling so much. But the breaking point came at a formal outdoor wedding late last year, on a blistering 40-degree day. With my thighs and torso encased like a Bratwurst sausage, I knew that something had to give.

And it did.

The zip on my beautiful gown broke.

Our 40's are the so-called "in between decade" and a time of noticeable physical changes for many of us. So far I've managed to cope with the emerging crows feet and the odd grey hair rather well. But when it comes to body image, well that's another story.

My metabolism was recently put on a permanent hiatus. And it sucked. Big time.

Read more: This is how you handle a fashion sale… Or not.

The medico’s say it sometimes happens when you hit the halfway mark in life. I blame a demanding full time job, combined with a turbulent, life-changing event that left little time for exercise. And any spare hours I had were devoted to my three school aged kids, housework and generally just 'keeping it all together'.

In short, my work/life balance was completely out of whack - and my 44-year-old broken down body was paying the price. Big time.

So I decided to take matters into my own hands … I needed to ditch the damned Spanx and reclaim my health. But first I needed look fear in the face and get my arse into a proper gym. I was absolutely terrified.

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What if I was the oldest woman there? The most unfit? The heaviest?

Would I know how to navigate my way around a room of mysterious machines? And what about all those bikes - and balls - and bands?

Going back to the gym in your 40's is a daunting proposition. And when I walked through the front doors and up the stairs to my local fitness centre a few months ago, I knew it was going to be tough. But what I didn’t expect was the (highly) emotional journey that would come with re-claiming my health.

Related: Finally: A little black dress that looks good on women bigger than size 10.

For the first week I CRIED after every session. Balled my eyes out. Just like a big sooky la la. And to make matters worse, my internal dialogue was hammering me just as much as the exercise.

“How could you let yourself get fat?”

“You’ll never wear that size 10 dress again”

“You can’t even run for 10 minutes on the treadmill”

“What a wobbly, pathetic loser you turned out to be”.

I really needed to dig deep in those early days. The urge to throw the towel in was massive and I could have easily given up. I was awkward, self-conscious and completely uncoordinated. But I kept going. It was bloody hard work – and now exercising every day has become part of my new mid-life routine.

I will never have this problem again.

My face still looks like I’m giving birth every time I lift weights, and my tuck shop arms buckle under the pressure of a few pushups – but I’m embracing this new, improved version of me. I won’t ever have my 20 – or 30-year-old body back again, but you know what?

I don’t care.

I’m just glad to be rid of those bloody Spanx.

While we realise that Spanx aren't for every woman, here are some instances where they've worked...

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