Learn to Love Your Protruding Tummy. See Why!

Learn to Love Your Protruding Tummy. See Why!

Oh, hey, there, Belly. Tummy. Stomach. Gut. Abdomen. Whatever you call it. Learning to love this part of my body has been a real doozy for me. The two parts of my body that I hated the most were my thighs and my tummy. Ever since I had the awareness to recognize it, I have been sucking in my tummy to make it look flat, or in order to look thinner, or to hide its soft curves and gentle rolls from other people’s gaze. I totally admit it. This was an area of my body that needed a major makeover – not even physically, but I mean in the way I talked to it, what I expected from it, and how I related to it. Because our bellies are part of our bodies, and our bodies require kindness, compassion, and understanding in order to go through this life with us and help us truly thrive. I was not doing that, friends. So years ago, I realized: it was time to learn to love my belly.

How do you treat your belly?

I want to start by saying this: learning to love anything, or repairing a broken relationship takes time. So I’ve taken MANY beautiful steps toward loving my belly. And yet, we’re not exactly on “I love you 100% all the time” terms, either. I’m on this loving journey with you. I’ve become aware (in more ways than one) of how much I hold in or flex my belly. It’s become especially obvious the more that I meditate! When doing a body scan or slowly going through my body from head to toe, bringing awareness to each part, and allowing it to relax, I almost always notice that my tummy is clenched. When I let it go, and release the hold, I feel more at peace, am able to breathe deeper, and have a more expansive feeling.

So why am I sucking in my gut so often? How in the world have I become conditioned to do so? It comes down to how I see myself, and how I perceive others view me. OK, so legit, my past self was SUPER worried that if I had a less than perfectly flat tummy that other people would think that I am ugly, unhealthy, unfit, and unattractive. All those “u” words. Logically, I knew this wasn’t true. But a big voice whispered loudly all the time: “suck that in or he’ll think you’re ugly”! or “don’t let them see you’re bloated today – they’ll think you don’t take care of your body!” or “Better not wear that shirt, it will show your belly and that thing is NOT cute. And you need to be cute to be loved.” For real, this is what it came down to. Sound familiar?

Even if it doesn’t, you may be able to recognize the pressure in our society to have a firm and fit abdomen. There are countless workout videos dedicated solely to this part of the body. Glossy magazines obsess over it. Articles are written about how celebrities get their tight tummy back after having kids. And women everywhere compare their self worth to the size of their pants or the inches it takes to go around their belly. Having a six-pack or a toned tummy is lovely, and it’s also not the only “good” way to have a tummy and means nothing about your true worth.

Listen to Your Gut

Don’t get me wrong, please. A fit and healthy tummy is a big hurray! Taking care of your body in a loving and respectful manner is so so so good. And getting to that place takes compassion and understanding. It takes listening to your gut – and I mean both in the metaphysical sense and the literal sense. Trusting your gut and intuition becomes easier with practice, and is only possible when you lift any tightness, anger, or resentment of that area. And having a healthy gut and stomach is key for overall health.

Learn to Love

Speaking of together. What I am eating is just one way I updated the relationship with my tummy. The other was less about what I put into it, and more about my relationship with how it looks. I was such a mean girl to my tummy in the past. We’re still working on that, but gosh we have come a long way. Every time I looked in the mirror I would curse it for not being flat. Every day I got dressed I’d resent it for being in the way, and try to hide it with clothing. Each time I went to the beach, I’d try to find the best position so that I didn’t have to suck in as hard, and could trick people into thinking I had a smaller tummy. The thing is, I actually did (and do) have a relatively small tummy. Did I have washboard abs? No. But I had a healthy, beautiful body that I took for granted. Ironically, now I have more inches on my waist and years on my body, and I have so much more appreciation and love and respect for my tummy.

I realized that the way I was speaking to my belly was not serving us. I realized that the outside validation I was seeking would never add up to my inner self-worth. I recognized that my stomach was not the enemy and that my body is a God-given gift and tool that I should take care of and work with so that we can go out in the world together and get shit done. I started small. I started by apologizing. I asked for forgiveness. That helped me stop comparing. And seeing other bare bellies in bra fitting rooms during my time as a bra fitter helped me see bodies with new eyes. These were not airbrushed to perfection bellies. These were real, human bellies – mothers, young, elderly, healthy, sick, supermodels… That helped me lift a bit of the resentment and fear. I started to find that loving and caring for my stomach was the road to hurray. Not cursing it, starving it, or forcing it to change.

I went from a person who would never wear a midriff and panicked when wearing a two-piece bathing suit in public, to the person who travels all around the world doing photoshoots in my underwear and lingerie. I’m not saying you have to or even want to do that – but my oh my I feel such a healthy dose of freedom and a release on the self-judgment now. That’s a huge hurray.

Sometimes these photoshoots land on or around my period. That’s no so Hurray. It’s nearly impossible for me to hide bloat (or my emotions) just before my cycle starts. I have done SEVERAL photoshoots with lots of bloats. And the first time made me anxious. And the more and more I did it, the more and more I realized that this is what my body looks like today. This is who I am today. I can choose to cower or I can choose to say hurray today. That respect for my body as it is today has fostered such a powerful relationship with my belly and my whole body. Instead of going through images of myself in my underwear and thinking “ugh! That angle is so terrible!” I think “this is what love looks like. I have loved this body, and it shows.”

I don’t want to mislead you. I still like to choose the image of me with the flatter looking tummy than the one with rolls or bloat. And sometimes in the photoshoot, I’ll do my best to pose or hold my body in a way that I think is more flattering to my body – especially my tummy. I want to look and feel my best, after all. It’s the same reason that I wear pants with a higher waist or a looser dress on a bloated day. It’s not that I’m hiding my belly. I’m choosing to wear what helps me say hurray that day. And something that is digging or too tight, or shows off more than I want to that day is not the pathway to hurray for me. You get to decide what makes you say hurray. You get to determine where you are on your journey with your belly. I am committed to keeping it real. So you’ll never see an airbrushed belly on my site. You’ll also see that sometimes my belly looks different based on if I’m standing, if I’m sitting, if I’m bloated, if I’m leaning over. Bellies are like that. You’ll also see that sometimes I’ll choose the photo showcasing my soft rolls over one with the flexed tummy, and sometimes I won’t. What I hope you’ll really see, is what love looks like. Hurray!

Reasons You Should Love Your Belly Fat

You Own It, You Rock It

The most amazing thing about your body is that it is truly unique. Every scar, every love handle is full of experience and is part of you.

Extra Cushion

Your belly fat is the best pillow for your significant other's head when you cuddle.

It Is Your Home

It can happen to anyone to feel a little weird with her body, but we must remember that you are stuck with it for the rest of your life, so you better start loving it now.

Scientist Are Still Debating The Benefits Of Fat

While some studies are still debating whether or not it is dangerous to be overweight, most of them agree that fitness is a priority, and not being thin. So you can shamelessly rock your love handles at the gym because science's got your back.

Your Happiness Counts More Than Your Size

You should never feel guilty for treating yourself to some unhealthy treats if it makes you feel good. After all, wouldn't breakups be useless without the holy ice cream?

Confidence Is Sexy

Everyone can agree that nothing is more attractive than someone who’s confident.

Flab Is Fun And You Should Be Comfortable In It

You have to be comfortable in your own skin if you want to put people at ease around you.

You'll Live Longer

According to some studies, overweight people tend to live longer than "normal-sized" individuals. That gives you more years to enjoy your daily croissant.

Work Out To Be Healthy Not Skinny

You should be able to go to the gym to feel the endorphin kicking in and have fun. Your body can do amazing things, and being strong is one of them.

As A wise Tumblr User Once Said: "The Thicker Your Thighs Are The More Kittens Can Lay On Your Lap

And we all know that you cannot be unhappy when you have little furry creatures on your lap.

Building a Healthy Relationship

As noted above, please keep in mind that learning to love anything – especially if there is some repair needed in the relationship – takes time. You wouldn’t expect to be best buddies with a friend you’d been fighting with for years after one heart to heart conversation, would you? Building up trust, loving compassion, and authentic care can take some time. And just like with most relationships, it can be worth the effort. Especially when you two are connected for the long haul. Unlike a bad friend who you may need to let go of, your belly and your body are constant companions on your journey through life. So creating, growing, and fostering a healthy relationship is so so so so worth it.


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