I don’t know about you all, but I am bombarded by ‘flat belly’ ads. On Facebook, online, in magazines. Honestly, enough already. There’s nothing wrong with a sound approach to eating that amps up healthy whole grains and monounsaturated fats, like some of the diets do. But there is something wrong with trying to fit into an image that’s just not yours and pitting yourself against your body in the process.
A few years ago, I was struggling with fibromyalgia—I was always exhausted, always sore and always way too lethargic to go to the gym. I hated my body. But then I realized that I couldn’t change what my body was; I could only change how I treated it. So when I'd catch myself berating my butt or lamenting my tummy I'd try to shift focus onto the great things my body could do that I simply took for granted.
Eventually, my fitness goals morphed from “work out at the gym five times a week” to things like “able to garden without getting sore” and “able to walk as far as I want to.” I also began to eat differently. These shifts may sound subtle, but the impact was profound both internally and externally. Food became not a diet to fight with and fail at, but a means of nourishing myself; fitness turned from a to-do on an overcrowded list to a walk with a friend; and my body became not a thing to be loathed, but the way the world perceived me.
And I’ll tell you what, I’ve never felt as comfortable in my skin . . . despite the fact that I don’t have a six-pack belly.