This Thanksgiving, all I could focus on was hosting a dinner for 14 people that would not turn out like something from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. (Featuring a turkey so dry, it would implode on itself.) My brother, his wife and their three adorable boys flew in from Denver for the big day, and our kids had a non-stop-week-with-cousins extended slumber party.  I prepared all the sides and desserts in the days before so that everything would go off without a hitch.

A half hour before everyone arrived, I race upstairs to put on a cute black skirt and under eye concealer to mask the fact that I only had four hours of sleep and a slight hangover. I decided to slap on Spanx too because I was feeling a little flabby and bloated. I pulled the bird out of the oven and I’m happy to say it was so beautiful, so juicy, so moist, I wanted to dress the bird in a tuxedo and show it off in a parade. But we ended up carving it down and dove into it and some pretty tasty sides. All of the sides. (Yes, I had a little bit of everything on my plate.) Fifteen minutes into dinner, I realize I can hardly breathe. I take a sip of my drink, thinking it’s just my imagination. But I can’t ignore the pressure. The Spanx have practically cut off my circulation. Like a rubber band on a balloon, the Spanx did nothing more than push my belly flab from one area to another. And my slightly-too-small skirt is smack in the middle. There is such an obvious line where the Spanx ends and my upper belly begins, if I burped into the candle and cranberries centerpiece I had worked so hard on, I might set the table on fire. I excuse myself and go to the bathroom, trying desperately to remove the apparatus that is causing this dinner-time dilemma. I successfully slide the Spanx off of my belly, down my legs and over my boots, but realize I can’t leave the bathroom without them in my hands. I sneak out, hiding them behind my back. “Babe, is everything OK?” my husband asks. “Yes, everything’s just fine.” I put on a fake smile, run to the family room and shove the Spanx in the front closet.

Finally, I find my way back to my seat. I sit down and feel a sense of release. Literally.  As if a mountain of bloat has been freed from under my skirt. My muffin top has found its way back to where it belongs. Behind the table cloth. And so I did what any sane host would do at this point. Serve pie, say yes to seconds and enjoy the day Spanx-less with my wonderful family.