Leilah Reese and her beau at a wedding reception. (Leilah Reese/For The Washington Post)

Let me start from the beginning. The beau and I had a wedding reception to attend Saturday night. Because I had just returned from vacation, jet lag and a lack of motivation to shop had me scrambling at the last minute to find something to wear. A loose fitting work blouse just wouldn't do. I would be meeting a good friend of the Mr. for the first time (the bride) and didn’t want to look like a frumpy old goat.

Friday night after work, and traffic, we headed out to Pentagon City to Nordstrom Rack. Well, I went to Nordstrom Rack; he went to Macy’s to get a wedding gift. I found six gorgeous dresses and was pleased with the many options.

So into the fiery pits of hell I went: the fitting room. I tried on the first dress. Hated it! Second dress, even worse. By the time I got to the fifth I was close to having a nervous break down. Fit wasn’t the issue, for I have come to terms that I’m no longer a size 6. It was confidence. I didn’t feel absolutely stunning like Rihanna at the Grammy’s or Viola Davis at the SAG Awards. I felt defeated and near tears, but I realized sobbing in the dressing room wasn’t going to solve anything. At best, it might get looks of concern from other women when they saw my blood shot eyes and tear tracks in my blush.

Dusting myself off, I handed the six disasters over to the fitting room attendant. When she asked me if I found anything, I gave her a glare that would have set her on fire if I were a Marvel super hero. That poor woman didn’t know how to respond. I searched the racks looking for something from my favorite designer, Calvin Klein, but still came up short. Right when my eyes were on the verge of welling up again, my boyfriend appeared, wedding gift in hand and ready to go.

Saturday rolled around, and we went to the H Street Festival to grab a bite to eat. Initially, nothing appealed to me. Everything was either fried, greasy and/or fattening. I settled for curry chicken with peas and rice and cabbage from a Jamaican spot on the strip, ate about a quarter of it and then headed back to the car. I probably would have eaten the rest out of dress depression if I hadn’t bumped into Delece, one of the editors of this blog, who quietly called me out and reminded me about my end goal. See how God works? Sends you little reminders when all you want to do is sit in a corner stuffing your face, humming and rocking. HA!

After the festival, I went back to my place to find a dress to wear. I realized that at one point in my life I used to go to semi-formal events often, so why not go shopping in my closet? I tried on three dresses that were either too matronly or too hoochie before I remembered a LBD I had only wore twice. I had my doubts because it was a size 8. The last time I fit into a size 8 was well over a year ago when I bought the darn thing. My fairy godmother must have sprinkled some fairy dust on me because, low and behold, it fit! I did, however, have to wear Spanx so that I wouldn’t look like a “bag of money”, or more like a bag of lumpy quarters. So I threw the dress on (after a shower of course), put on some makeup and red pumps, and was feeling more confident than I did the day before. Thank you, Jessica Simpson, for saving me from being admitted to the psych ward.

The moral of the story: Don’t let dress shopping, while you’re trying to lose weight, turn you into a raving lunatic. Sometimes a visit to the back of your own closet can result in finding a hidden treasure. My LBD didn’t just save the day, it gave me that extra bit of confidence I needed to feel pretty, as I am now, while on this journey.

Leilah Reese is a news aide at The Washington Post. For more updates on her fitness goals, follow her on Twitter and check here each Tuesday for a new blog post.

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