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Remember this scene?
Eddie Murphy’s “Buddy Love”, the thin incarnation of Professor Klump, is finally free of his obsese bondage. The montage of him trying on smaller clothes, and the striking revelation that he can finally see his male appendage incites laughter and hilarity. Isn’t that the running joke?
I get it. I really, really get it. More than I want to admit.
When I was pregnant with Jayda, I remember seeing my swollen belly for the first time in a way that told me things were going to be different permanently. I had been a tiny little thing for most of my life, never hovering more than around 115 – 120 as a teenager. But, there were no muscles under that thin little flat belly. It had just never been tested to expansion. Until now. I delivered a healthy, well-past-her-due-date 8lb 5oz brunette ball of cuteness – and with it, a flabby, post-pregnancy, saggy-skin belly complete with tiger stripes.
Where the hell did my belly button go?
As I slowly shrunk back down to around 150 in the years after she was born, no maintenance beyond naivete followed me into the next phase of adulthood, and into my next pregnancy. This time my belly produced a 9lb child, and my scale measured a staggering 205. Lost and gone did I have to shrinking my waist line to anything I’d known before my first baby.
By the time my third came around, I just gave up.
What is it about tummies? What is it about abs, and flat bellies that makes us flabby, or requiring of shapeshifters? Even trying on new clothes last weekend, the voice inside of me reminded how I’d best “tuck in the pooch” – that little flab of belly that lays over your panty line. The ads on Facebook promoting you to squeeze it all in and smooth out the bubbles and ripples and stripes and bulges. Awesome. Not only do I have these imperfections, I’ve got someone marketing to this exact insecurity.
A bunch of years ago, a bit of my belly popped over the seam of my trackpants, unbeknownst to me. And someone’s Grandmother commented that I should “put that away!” much to the merriment of the crowd around us. I was mortified.
I was recently made aware that after her pregnancies, a fellow woman shared that her mother tied a bed sheet around her waist to shrink her back down to size. After her c-sections. After her c-sections? What the hell is this? Mind you, this story was back in the 70s. But regardless – how horrifying!
We women sneak it all in to high waisted jeans while our male counterparts can let their bulging bellies swing wildly over their belt buckles. Exposed from under their tee-shirts. On display when they reach up to grab something above them. Over their swimming trunks as they ditch their tees because they are men, and despite their little boobies and pooches, they are not as offensive as women and their stretchy skin.
I’ve struggled my entire adult life with this flabby, pooch skin that sags over my belt line. That isn’t flat. That isn’t rock hard. That isn’t defined.
And here’s the part about weight loss. Here’s the goddamn truth about weight loss.
What you should already know is that it’s hard. It’s physically demanding. You probably already guessed that it’s also mentally hard. It’s difficult to discipline yourself enough to not eat the foods that just taste so fucking good, to maintain good portion control, to mind the calories, and watch the refined sugars. But what you probably don’t expect is how emotionally taxing weight loss journeys can become. And I’m willing to bet that this is why most people quit on themselves. Not because they don’t have time to work out. Or can’t put down the fork. Or can’t stop themselves from hitting a fast-food drive-thru.
They quit because the results are not what they’d expected. Read that again.
It’s so hard to accept that your body is going to take its time to cooperate with you. So, you did 500 sit ups, but you gained three pounds? You’ve been working your arms, but your boobs shrank? How come you’ve been doing all this cardio, but your belly still sags? The bottom line is that it takes overall effort, and complete commitment to the process to see the results that will come in time.
And this is the truth about tummies.
Today, I am 169.8lbs. I’d gotten down to 167.4 during the week, but with my new anxiety medication adjustments, I’ve given myself permission to rest, not jog everyday, and enjoy a slice of cheesecake at night to calm my nerves. I’m up a quarter of an inch on my bust and my waist, and smidge down on my hips. But overall, no changes in the past two weeks to my physical betterment. However – I’m 20 inches down on my waist. It’s a ludicrous amount I’ve shredded in the last eight months. But here’s the god awful truth – I still don’t have abs. I’m much, much thinner than I was last summer, sure. But I don’t have a tight little tummy with rock hard abs and definition. I’m not wearing low-cut jeans with my pelvic bone showing. And will I ever without medical intervention? I’m not sure. But this is the truth about tummies.
Will I ever get my belly button pierced? Yes, if I want to.
Will I wear a bikini? Yes, if I want to.
Is there anything wrong with wanting to wear shapers, or high-waisted jeans? Of course not.
The takeaway is this – when you’re losing weight, you have to keep sight of why. Weight loss is a personalized path to each and everyone of us. And the honesty that you have has to be that to yourself and no one else. You could be losing weight to cure your Sleep Apnea like me, or another medical condition. You could be doing it to have the rock hard abs one day. You could be doing it because you put on a few extra pandemic pounds. But the point is – no two paths are similar. No two bodies were built the same. If you’re invested in you, you have to remain committed and realistic about your goals and abilities. I know it’s going to take me another two or three years before I get that pooch to a point I could consider it “flat”. Will I? I don’t know. But I do know that I’m only ever going to be honest about the work that was put in to get me there. I didn’t snap my fingers and lose the inches that I did. It was hard work, and discipline, and set backs and not berating myself too deeply, either.
I hope you remember that they call it a journey for a reason. Stay focused on your course. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Being authentically you is sexiest of all. Pooch, no pooch, flat, pierced, rock hard or jiggly. You are lovely. And so is your tummy.
You can if you want to.
I’m amused that the KGH Bariatric Clinic finally reached out to me. I’ve been on the wait list since last June. And in that time, I conquered losing the weight without medical intervention. That was a huge win.
As mentioned, not an ounce of me felt shitty for indulging in cheesecake this week.
And Chef’s at work are continuing to concoct these glorious salads for me.
It’s important for me to note that my health care journey has taken some interesting turns now that I’m working through my mental health concerns. With my new anxiety medication, I’m testing, comparing, trying on and experimenting. Once we get the right dosage into me and doing it’s job, I know my commitment to my physical health will reign supreme. With this third lockdown here in front of us, I encourage everyone to take care of their whole selves, whatever that means for them.
This week’s old school jam:
Follow along and collab with me on my Spotify playlist!
Join the Health Care group on Facebook! And yes, I have one of those sites where I show off my weight loss in my knickers. You can message me for that link.
Listen friends, working on your health can be as strenuous and time consuming as attempting to lose thirty pounds. It can mean getting the courage to get out of bed and finally taking a shower. It can mean calling in a mental health day at work. And it can be just getting out into the fresh air and sunshine once a day for a walk. I can’t stress enough that you must carve your own path, be proud of your accomplishments and remember everyone’s journey as unique as we each are individually. I’m proud of you.
Till next week.