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The question: I have so many weddings and parties to go to this summer. Can you recommended any exercises to get me back into a dress that doesn't fit?

The answer: There is nothing worse than wearing something you don't feel comfortable in – you just spend the entire time repositioning your clothes and feeling crappy. No one needs that!

My advice, if the party is imminent? Try to pick a different dress.

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I totally get that sometimes, like when you are a bridesmaid, you cannot just change outfits. Often those "forced" outfits technically fit – as in they are in your size – but they're not your style or they're not flattering.

When I have to wear a dress that "fits," I do posture exercises. Being aware of my posture means I stand taller, which fills me with confidence, which automatically makes any dress look better.

Try these two exercises:

  • 1. Door-frame stretch: Stand in a door frame, with forearms bent to 90 degrees and placed at shoulder height against the frame. Gently let your chest move forward. Feel a stretch in your chest and shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds.
  • 2. Scapula retractions: Stand with your arms straight in front of you at shoulder height. Use the muscles between your shoulder blades to pull them backward, as if you were trying crack an imaginary walnut.

If you have a couple weeks before the party, eat cleanly and workout regularly. You can see and feel a significant difference in your body in a short time by staying away from nutritionally vapid white or processed foods, foods high in sugar and salt and alcohol.

To ensure your lifestyle is fairly active, add 10 to 60 minutes of movement to your day, in addition to any regular workout: Skip rope for 10 minutes in the morning before your shower, walk briskly to work or take the stairs at the office whenever you have to visit a different floor.

Trainer's tip: At the gym, prioritize exercises like rows, reverse flys and external shoulder rotations. These help improve your posture and ensure you stand taller and with more confidence in your dress.

Kathleen Trotter has been a personal trainer and Pilates equipment specialist for 10 years. Her website is www.kathleentrotter.com.

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The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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