When I was younger, ALL I wanted was a flat stomach. Every night I would go to bed and hope against hope that when I woke up in the morning I would have one. I would read every article and try every trend desperately trying to find the answer, to lose the flab and look like the women that I envied SO much. Needless to say, I never did. Still, years later I sit with my jeans undone and my wobble hanging over the top. The only difference between now and then of course is that now I care about 3000 times less than I used to.
Because I have found out, over the last however many years, that having a flat stomach is basically impossible for someone like me to get. Someone who finds food utterly delicious and chooses the sofa every time. As a woman, my hormones sit on my hips (that’s an actual sciencey thing, not just something that I’m saying to make myself feel better) and as a human, the food that I eat sits in the lower half of my tummy. It’s a bastard to shift and unless you basically live carb free life then you don’t stand a chance. And the rest of it? No real excuse other than that, I’ve tried to lose it and I can’t and that can’t be all my fault right?
That’s just the way it is now. A not flat stomach that I’m cool with. And perhaps naively, I had thought that perhaps I wasn’t the only one who was becoming OK with it; the blogging community is full of people who are so empowering and wonderful and beautiful and apparently cool with their ‘not flat stomachs’ I thought we were turning a corner. But then, but then… Then I saw a blog post this evening which had the headline that made up the words that I had once googled obsessively: “how to get a flat stomach.” I sort of wanted to weep.
I didn’t read the article, because I thought it would be too depressing. But I wanted to write my own response, a response to this whole concept, for anyone who has been following the advice of such articles and is yet to see any results. Guys I’m really sorry to say that the results probably won’t come. But I’m not sorry to say that they shouldn’t. Because really, haven’t we got more important things to be focussing on?
So I’m 22. I’m in a loving relationship and have a gorgeous dog. I love my house, I love my job, I love my friends. I’m doing pretty great, I’m pretty happy. Now take a look at this:
Holy shit. Stomach rolls.
I used to think, I used to truly believe that it wasn’t possible to be happy if you didn’t have a flat stomach. That you couldn’t enjoy stuff or have confidence. I used to think that I HAD to be thin to have friends and that no one would fancy me if I had a stomach roll. Looking back that seems so STUPID. That more of me could somehow make me less loveable? But I realise now that this is hardly surprising, that I can’t possibly be blamed for that, when you think that blogs like the one I saw yesterday exist. When there are thousands of people ready to shame you for a belly roll or love handles. When we are our own toughest critics and we have been programmed not to love ourselves.
But I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of breathing in and wearing baggy clothes and crossing my arms across my stomach. I’ve had enough of that ‘just one more sit up’ mentality and the constant striving. I’ve had enough of believing that the ever elusive abs are the key to happiness. They’re not lads. Life is 100% too short. If you need confirmation of this, might I suggest you put a really happy song on and Facebook stalk yourself. See how many times you were smiling in those photos and remember all the happy times that you’ve had. Once you have remembered all the times your life was fabulous, take a quick look at your stomach in those photos and try to work out if ‘feeling a bit frumpy’ is still the life-ruining scenario you think it is. It won’t be. You CAN be happy with a stomach roll. Not in spite of one.
So from now on I’m going to #barethebelly. I will continue on my 10 Weeks to Fitness mission but you can fuck off if you think for a minute that I’m doing it because I have something to be ashamed of. I don’t, I’m great. Really really great. Belly rolls and all. I’m doing that to be ‘healthier’ in my body. But this? This I’m doing to be healthier in my brain. To get over a 10 year old complex that I’ve had for too long. And to hopefully help you start to get over yours.
C’mon. Get involved. Feel liberated. Bare the belly. I dare ya! xxx