When I open my social media it seems inevitable that I will be faced with an advertisement that is aimed at women of “a certain age” and promises to reduce their belly fat, deal with their bloating or generally be a miracle cure for mysterious weight that won’t move. A quick google and a number of articles that claim to be medically reviewed come up explaining that hormonal changes happening during peri menopause will be connected to a need to review the way you look at weight.
For me I have been convinced most of my life that I am overweight and that my naturally curvy shape is unattractive (thanks mother!). At the age of six I was teased by my parents for being chubby. And so I have always thought that my belly was unattractive. Even when it wasn’t. Earlier in the year I posted a shot taken for #travellingboob that included my muffin top. I wrote about the way my eye was always drawn to that part of my body and it always made me feel inadequate.
The belly is something that comes and goes a little. But it is always there. Once I had a conversation with Johnny about how women around my age always feel like they are fat. The women he had met felt that way because their husbands had told them they were overweight and used it as their excuse to cheat on and ultimately leave them for a younger, thinner model. I will never forget the passion in his voice when he told me how he felt about it.
“So what if your tummy is a bit soft? You have carried and birthed children. Your body has done amazing things. What about their husbands? They have a big fat gut because they sit on the couch and drink beer. What is amazing about that?”
For the record, Mr Jones is not one of those husbands.
The long and the short of things is that women’s bodies do some pretty incredible stuff. During pregnancy the uterus increases mass by up to ten times it’s regular size. That is the amount of tissue actually increases 1000%! Then, afterwards it goes, mostly, back again. The rest of our abdominal cavity moves and adjusts to accomodate up to 20 extra kilograms of “stuff” before having to find its way back to it’s “normal” position. Our hormones change markedly both in response to our mensural cycle but also in response to pregnancy, breastfeeding and changes in our ovaries. The female body is a temple that creates life. We are the goddesses who should be honoured for that.
So if you are a mother, or even if you aren’t. Your body is undergoing some major changes. You deserve to give yourself a break. As long as you are focussed on your overall health and putting food into your body that will keep you healthy and happy. It is pointless obsessing about how many calories you are taking in or trying to manage one particular food group. Comparing yourself to other women is a trap we all fall into. It is dangerous and destructive and will only lead to heartache.
Those articles that tell us we need to change the way we look at weight loss? They are right. We do need to look at the way we look at weight loss. We need to change the way we see our bodies and stop obsessing that we need to look a certain way. Celebrate your body and it’s achievements. Be kind to it and feed it good food that you enjoy. Be kind to yourself. Don’t let others make you feel less than the goddess you are.