Mission of the BARE program:
“To help women stop dieting and step into a peaceful relationship with their bodies.”
Susan Hyatt

September 18th, 5:00 PM. About to leave for a wedding

September 18th, 5:00 PM.
About to leave for a wedding

72 hours before this photo

I once again found myself in the very familiar position of frantically searching for an outfit that I needed for an important event that was happening in 3 days.

I happened to be in Pittsburgh visiting my parents so I had very little free time to actually go shopping. I ended up at a Marshalls that had the tiniest dress department I had ever seen. It was literally one rack and there were exactly 8 dresses in my size. This little Calvin Klein number happened to be one of them. I was reluctant about purchasing this form-fitting dress as I have been wearing mostly loose fitting clothing for the past few years. However, my sister proclaimed that I “looked beautiful” and convinced me to buy the dress.

“You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”

“You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”

Want to know what comes between me and my Calvin?
Control top panty hose.
Spanx: “Higher Power Mid-Thigh Shaping Shorts”.
And a “Soma Vanishing Back Full Coverage Front Close Underwire Bra”

Underneath this “Illusion” dress, I was being squeezed and shaped by suffocating undergarments.

And of course there were the heels. I simply despise wearing heels. I am a barefoot, sneakers, Merrels, Naot, flat-heeled kind of woman! I was uncomfortable.

Everyone’s Favorite Part About Weddings 

Yes, I’m talking about the food and the drinks. Weddings notoriously shower the guests with delicious food and enticing cocktails, and this reception was no exception. The temptation to overindulge was imminent, and it was up to me to resist. I didn’t do so well.


  • Butternut squash soup appetizer
  • Goat cheese and pear salad
  • Chicken main entree


  • That extra martini (I should have only had one)
  • The lollipop lamb chop hor-d’oeuvres
  • The fried potato pancake hor-d’oeuvres  
  • The beef knish hor-d’oeuvres
  • There were a lot of hor-d’oeuvres. Let’s just leave it at that.
  • The chocolate dipped cashews that greeted me at my table
  • Half of my husbands steak

Now, I was very uncomfortable.

By the way, I have GERD, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease i.e. serious heartburn. I take daily medication but if I either over-indulge or combine alcohol, red meat, fried foods, or chocolate, I will most definitely feel quite miserable.

I over-indulged. And combined. And I most definitely felt quite miserable.

And yet while I was on the dance floor feeling miserable, I was thinking about dessert. I was literally praying that it wouldn’t be chocolate.  Chocolate is my weakness, my addiction, my obsession. If it was anything other than chocolate, I would have zero problem resisting.

Guess what it was?

Chocolate. I didn’t resist.

I needed to leave. I said goodbye and ran to the car for the hour long ride home. As soon as we were out of the parking lot, the disrobing began.

First those hateful heels.
Then the suffocating Spanx.
Next those horrid control top panty hose.
Finally, the enemy bra.


The entire ride home I was nauseous and really upset with myself.

How did I let this happen?

Nine days later I had a call with my BARE coach, Tamsyn Hawkins.  BARE is a permanent weight loss process that teaches women (and men) how to love their bodies and their lives. It is not a cleanse, or a diet, but a progression of steps that will show you how to live your life, and feel your feelings, without “needing” the numbing, protective shield that overeating provides.

We started at the beginning, what I chose to wear. As I described my whole undergarment regiment to her, she asked me the most important question of the BARE program, “What would have felt like Love?” 

This whole BARE program is about what feels like Love: in how you dress, what you eat, how you move and what you say to yourself.

Hmmm… What would have felt like Love as I got dressed?

Definitely NOT the Spanx.
Or the control top panty hose.
Or the underwire bra.
Or the high heels.

I had a bridal shower coming up in 3 days. Tamsyn encouraged me to find an outfit in which I felt amazing and comfortable. We hung up and I headed to the mall feeling inspired to meet this challenge.

October 1st, 1:00 PM. 2 weeks after the wedding

October 1st, 1:00 PM.
2 weeks after the wedding

This is what Love feels like to me: 

Flat-heeled, Italian leather, comfortable boots
A funky vegan leather pleated skirt
A snakeskin patterned sweater
A non-underwire comfortable bra
No control top panty hose
No high powered Spanx

Just me. Comfortable and happy. Love.

I am on a quest to remember to always ask the question, “What feels like Love?” in all areas of my life: what I wear, what I eat, and how I move my body.  My quest also encompasses: 

To learn to say kind things to myself

To look in the mirror and see what is right with my body and not what is wrong with it

To move in a way that is joyful

To feel free

To be comfortable

To be me

And most importantly, to not care what anybody else thinks

I started this journey when I signed up for BARE – New York City last Spring. For 6 weeks I worked on these new concepts. Some of the principles stuck, others did not. I am in the midst of doing the entire program again. Minus the glammed up New York City weekend. And minus the program’s creator, the one and only fabulous Susan Hyatt

This time I’m doing it with one of her BARE certified coaches, Jennifer Levin, who also happens to be fabulous. This time I am diving in, 100%, and I am doing every single assignment wholeheartedly.

Sometimes, it takes a few tries for a lesson to be learned.