I wear a ball and chain, but it’s not tied to my ankle and it sure isn’t hanging around my neck. So where is it, you ask? My ball and chain, my friends, is that flabby section around my middle that developed after having my three children and just won’t go away. It is probably the main reason my self-esteem has struggled to remain intact over all these years, mixed with past emotional baggage and the ever-flashing neon messages in the media.
Be slim, be fit and be firm! But while you’re at it, cook this, eat this, devour this range of colourful, delightful processed items that I will shove in your face at every service station and supermarket, alongside the porn magazines slathered with pictures of perfect models with tiny waists and huge breasts. Confusing? Depressing? Stressful? Yes, all of the above.
Should I have plastic surgery?
I watched a tummy-tuck operation on You-tube and I was so disgusted that I nearly vomited. So I guess that’s not an option for me (let alone the fact that I would have to waste THOUSANDS of hard-earned dollars to get it done! I have been on diets and lost weight, but it seems that at the same time, I also seem to lose my mental health, and the weight just wants to pile back on anyway.
My weak spot
My partner knows it’s my weak spot; it’s an easy way to stab me with my vulnerability so clearly on display to the world in that area. Various comments from people asking if I’m pregnant or when the baby’s due have been hard to wave off, instead I find that I let the comments cut me to the core, I stew on them, dwell on them and find them hard to shake off. Why do I keep equating these thoughts with my sense of value as a person?
What do the experts say?
Scrolling through the net on the topic of belly fat and self-esteem, I stumble across such a wide choice of articles. Most of them are about how to lose the fat. One is particularly worrisome, a ‘what men think’ diatribe about how disgusting fat women are and how all men hate fat women, especially when they have what he calls ‘abnormal’ fat in the ‘wrong areas’, the tummy being one of them. Sadly, his article was followed with a number of very sad comments by women who really took his pathetic writing to heart. I would never give this man the credit of a link as I would not want to poison anyone else with his rubbishy words.
An article on Oprah.com, ‘How much time do you waste obsessing over your body’, by Valerie Frankel (see: http://www.oprah.com/health/Stomach-Fat-Body-Dysmorphic-Disorder-and-Self-Image) was reflective and informative and helped make me feel like I’m not the only one in this position. Apparently it’s pretty common to have ‘body dysmorphia’, when we imagine a part of our body is much more hideous than it really is. So perhaps my ball and chain tummy is not the whale that I imagine it, but more like a medium sized jelly-fish.
Natural health approach
Another good article I found in my search was on ‘The natural health website for women’
(see http://www.marilynglenville.com/fat_around_the_middle.htm). The best thing about it is the way it identifies stress as one of the main factors in belly fat. How there’s an answer that rings true! Even better, her first direction is to STOP DIETING!!! How awesome! The article recommends cutting out sugar and refined products and eating plenty of fruit and whole-grain (haven't we heard that before?) as well as eating regularly throughout the day and getting up off your bottom as much as possible.
So what's the plan?
Okay, so I'm going to just boost what I've been doing already as well as try and cut down on the refined sugars. My new bike, a Giant Cypress 3 hybrid (that I finally paid off on lay-by) is ready to hit the road, big time. My ultimate aim is to get rid of that ball and chain - not so much the belly itself, but the obsessive stressing about it.
What is your ball and chain and how are you going to break free? I'd love to hear about your personal challenges.
Sue Oaks, Copyright 2012.