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Swelling Herself Short

While pregnant, I gained 80 pounds. Before, I was 5'8", 118 lbs. (size 3 or 5), and I always wore slim-fitting jeans and miniskirts. In the first six months after giving birth, I lost 35 lbs. I'm now at the 13 month mark, and I haven't lost another ounce. I'm currently 163 pounds, a womanly size 12 or 14. I have accepted my new figure, but my husband hasn't. He continues to buy me expensive clothes in size 5, telling me to set them aside until I can fit into them again. I love my husband, but I don't feel good wearing sexy clothes, and I highly doubt I'll ever even be a size 10. How can I get my husband to accept my fuller figure?

--More To Love


When a man buys a sports car, he doesn't expect it to morph into a cargo van.

After two years waiting patiently, your husband's itching for his sleek little street machine. Okay, so maybe he can't get that exact body style, but at the very least, he must be hoping for a sedan. Something's gotta give (something besides the elastic waistband on your size 14 pants). While your hub probably loves you, and is loath to seem the ingrate (since his baby-making participation was only in the fun part, not the fat part), he can't push a button and turn himself into a chunky-chaser. Unfortunately, attraction doesn't operate on the salad bar principle, where, one day, you simply decide to fill your plastic bowl with Jell-O cubes instead of mixed beans. In other words, the only malleable thing here is the diameter of your back end.

Have you known many men who flit off to department stores if they aren't forced at wifepoint, or if their last article of clothing has yet to disintegrate off their bodies? Your husband isn't really shopping, but engaging in a nonverbal form of begging. Male sexuality is all about the visuals. That's why men's magazines are filled with pictures of naked women with freakishly large breasts while women's magazines are filled with pictures of lip gloss. And that's why, according to What Women Want-What Men Want, by anthropologist John Townsend, studies show that a man's "marital satisfaction" (but not a woman's) directly correlates to how much of a babe he finds his spouse.

As lovely as it is that you've "accepted (your) new figure," you aren't the one who has to rappel to your erogenous zones. Luckily, putting the moan back in matrimony doesn't take rocket science, just eating right and daily exercise. See a Registered Dietitian (eatright.org) for help with what goes in, and take up walking with a baby backpack or a sports stroller for what should come off. Yes, yes, you're exhausted, overwhelmed, and your nipples look like something out of Olduvai Gorge. Tell your husband you need help in the baby-care and time off departments so you can stop "accepting" your new figure and start removing it, and watch how fast he gets an army of nannies marching in to pick up the slack.

Maybe you'll never again be able to wear those little rubber pencil protectors as skirts when all your clothes are in the laundry. But, perhaps the larger issue isn't that you're no longer a size five, but that you no longer act like one. So, you have a little more stuff to strut these days. Maybe if you dress your stuff up, complete with a waistline, and actually strut it, you'll feel more like a sex kitten than a CAT tractor, and look more like your husband's hot wife than his fat friend.


Copyright ©2004, Amy Alkon, from her syndicated column, "The Advice Goddess," which appears in over 100 papers across the U.S. and Canada. All rights reserved.