Why are we obsessed with having a flat stomach or “ripped abs”? In a weird way…we are expressing the masculine. Remember way back in the day with all the statues of David and the Renaissance period? The women were depicted as soft and curvy? Having ripped, hard abs is something I was obsessed with myself. But deep down, I think I wanted to feel like, “I’m tough,” and “I’m in control,” and “I’m a winner.” Soft abs represent the feminine and vulnerability. In our culture it also represents, “I lose,” and “I’m lazy.” Calling people lazy is probably one of THE biggest insults in our culture. Don’t you agree? People with excess weight aren’t LAZY. So stop it right now. People get fat for WAY more reasons then laziness. Such as depression, anxiety, hurt, trauma, and different messages from their environment and FOOD rather than drugs, alcohol, etc might be the only thing that brings then happiness right now. Whenever I have a client that is obsessed with hard abs…I question the intensity of that attachment. Are they feeling “weak” or “out of control”? How often do you think about what your abs look like? How often have you made an effort to focus on changing your midsection?
Our stomachs are probably the most talked about, most examined, most desired, and most exploited body part. And when I talk to clients, they tell me, this is their most “troubled area.” After dissecting and mulling over this topic, especially my own obsession with rock hard abs a few years ago, I wanted to give my followers some tips to get the stomach you love. And no…it’s not doing more crunches.
1. STOP THE COMPARISONS. We are bombarded with images from the media, Instagram “fitspo”, commercials, magazines, photoshop, pinterest and more. I mean come on…don’t we all have a “motivation” pinterest board with hundreds of images of our ideal body? Or who has cut out images from magazines of rock hard bodies and plastered them on your wall? I’m soooooo guilty of this. Besides, who made the media the experts and the power to dictate what a good stomach is suppose to look like anyway? Well, actually… we do. Ouch. We give them the power to show us what is acceptable. We share and evny those perfect images on social media. You have to admit…at least once in your life you worked really hard on changing your stomach. You guys, starting at all these images and thinking they’re the image or perfection isn’t helping us. What can you do with these fake images of perfection? I say fake because most people don’t walk around with an 8 pack all the time. Believe me. The level of extremes I had to take to get abs was crazy. When I was prepping for a fitness competition-(ya know, where you’re in high heels and a teeny bikini on stage) I cut water, cut carbs, did cardio for HOURS every day and put on a fake orange tan just so you see my abs. And the moment I ATE something and drank some water god forbid, my abs went away. HA! Seriously though. The images of women pinching their tummies with disgusted faces only further cement in our brain that looking a certain way is unacceptable and wrong and that makes US wrong and bad. WHICH IS SO NOT TRUE AND A TOTAL WASTE OF YOUR ENERGY. So, skip the posts, articles and images. Unfollow, unlike things that are constantly posting images that promote wanting to change your body into something crazy. And, for gosh sakes stop pinning ab pics on pinterest for “motivation.” (Is that actually working for you by the way?? Didn’t think so.)
2. WATCH YO’ MOUTH. Do you use these words to describe your midsection?: muffin-top, pooch, pudgy, flabby,jiggly, ugly, fat, frumpy, gross, love handles, ruined, destroyed.
If you do, STOP. Right now. Your body can hear you. The more you use these words the more you rebel. And this kind of negative self talk puts your body into a stress response. (aka fight or flight.) Literally. Your cortisol levels increase, insulin levels increase…which means decrease thermic efficienty or calorie burning, decrease muscle building, and holding onto fat. Ummm….ya, no thank you. So, think of the words you use to describe your tummy area. Would you say that out loud to your son or daughter? To your best friend of partner? NO. So don’t say them to yourself. Hating on your belly won’t change how it looks, only how you perceive it. It’s okay to not LOVE your midsection or flash it. So, change your language. We all know…if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it. So this little rule you learned in kindergarten applies to your tummy too. Stretch marks? Awesome. Appreciate that you pushed a baby out of you and that you’re a mommy! Or…shoot. You have stretch marks and you haven’t freakin’ had a baby? Cool. Love them anyone because they are a part of you and wishing they weren’t there and hating them isn’t gong to make them go away. Stop wasting your energy on that. YOU ARE MEANT FOR SO MUCH MORE IN LIFE then to waste time on this. And ya know what? Maybe just ignore your tummy for awhile. Thoughts only have power when we give it to them. The most important part is that you can love your body and still work on changing it. Talking positively doesn’t mean you’re giving up-it just means you’re not miserable in the process.
3. SHAKE WHAT YO MAMA GAVE YA! Or, plain and simple-honor your DNA. You’ll never have abs like your favorite movie star or Instagram crush. I mean, dang, I’d love to have a body like Jennifer Aniston or Megan Fox or any Victoria secret model. BUT THAT’S NEVER GUNNA HAPPEN BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT THEM and you have your own DNA AND your OWN fabulous body. Stop being sad you’ll never have HER abs. Get over it. Stop wanting other people’s body parts. The more time you spend wanting someone else’s’ body, the less time you spend appreciating yours. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side too. Your friend who has awesome abs might be suffering from her own self-esteem too. Everyone has their “thing” they might be self-concious about. Think about it…when you’re at the pool and you’re sitting there judging yourself…most every other lady is judging themselves too. So, seriously. No one is even looking at you, they’re all worried about themselves.
SO. Find parts of your body you love. It could be your smile, your big toe, your eyebrows, your freckles, whatever. What makes you YOU?! Your DNA makes you who you are from the inside-out. There’s no one else like you. You are the only you there is and ever will be. So freakin’ OWN IT. Don’t worry about what someone else looks like. Because they could never be you.
Inlove and health,
P.S. I’m burning that “motivation” board on pinterest AND the one in the back of my closet. I suggest you do the same.