This week’s column

Orange County Reg­is­ter — North County News; Date: April 26, 2018; Sec­tion: News; Page Num­ber: A4

Wad­ing care­fully into swim­suit season

May is just around the cor­ner, and you know what that means. Accord­ing to fash­ion mag­a­zines, it’s almost swim­suit sea­son. Time to cut back on those extra calo­ries and increase those crunches, not to men­tion sched­ul­ing that trip to the wax­ing salon.

Who am I kidding?

First of all, south­ern Cal­i­for­nia skipped win­ter this year. Not that we ever get buried in snow or tem­per­a­tures below zero. But here in Pla­cen­tia, it’s been swim­suit sea­son since 2016.

I have a friend in the Mid­west who was com­plain­ing about pack­ing away her win­ter clothes and hang­ing her sum­mer dresses. The con­fu­sion on my face was a sign I’ve lived in Cal­i­for­nia too long. My family’s home in Illi­nois was barely 1200 square feet. My room was small, and the closet minis­cule. I had to have switched wardrobes with each season.

And yet, I have no mem­ory of doing it.

Sec­ond, as I grow older, my reflexes are get­ting slower. That’s the only rea­son I can think of, for con­tin­u­ing to put on a pound here and there. Calo­ries keep zoom­ing at me, and I can’t get out of their way fast enough.

As always, I have good inten­tions. My life is pretty active. In addi­tion to rid­ing my horse 3 times a week, I work out with my per­sonal trainer. I park in the last space so I walk more steps to the store. My fit­ness device con­stantly reminds me to get up and move.

Of course, I con­stantly tell it to shut up.

My meal plans always involve veg­eta­bles, lean meats, and smart por­tions. Unfor­tu­nately, in between actual meals, I am a graz­ing machine. If there are healthy snacks in the house, I’m lucky. If there are See’s choco­lates, well, I can resist any­thing but temptation.

Recently, I bought a “body shaper.” It’s sup­posed to smooth out all the bumps and bulges in your sil­hou­ette. I was reminded of the gir­dle my grand­mother had to wear under her uni­form when she worked at the hos­pi­tal. Grandma’s gir­dle was a for­mi­da­ble piece of lin­gerie. It man­aged to be both elas­ti­cized and unyield­ing, forc­ing any skin within its grip to con­form to its shape. Breath­ing? For­get it.

Grandma would have laughed at today’s “shapers.”

It’s true, get­ting into them is like try­ing to shove your body into a sausage cas­ing, but once you get every­thing tucked in, you can both inhale and exhale with­out much trou­ble. My shaper cer­tainly did not force me to con­form, and it claims to be “extra firm.”

I can’t wear a body shaper with my swim­suit, unless I get a body shaper that is a swimsuit.

That leaves wax­ing. True confession—the only things I’ve ever had waxed are my eye­brows and my car. Over my long lifes­pan, I’ve devel­oped a men­tal chart of how much pain each area on my body will allow. My bikini line’s tol­er­ance is within the range of “hit by a feather” and “pants too tight.”

Wax­ing is not an option.

At the end of the day (and the begin­ning of sum­mer), it doesn’t mat­ter if I’m in shape for swim­suit sea­son. My body is what it is, and if I want to put on appro­pri­ate clothes and jump in the water, I’ll do it. I encour­age you to do the same, no mat­ter what the fash­ion mag­a­zines say.

I won’t judge.

Long­time Pla­cen­tia res­i­dent Gayle Car­line tracks those moments that shape her days as a wife, mom, com­puter whiz and horse­woman. E-mail her at [email protected].

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