Tummy Troubles

Jiggle, jiggle.

Hello, Belly? You there?

Yes, of course you are. You’ve been there since deflating in a most inglorious, surgical manner almost two years ago. I’m as familiar with you now as I am with the baby that expanded you in the first place. Problem is, as that beloved baby grew bigger, you did not grow smaller.

You’re a persistent little bastard – yes, bastard – unwanted, unclaimed and something I really do not want to admit patronage of. And yet there you waddle, sad and flabby, restrained only slightly by thick waistbands and hideously unsexy underpants.

I have tried to tame you; saw glimpses of a shrinking hope during my year of chasing babies at home; my year of pushing 60 lbs worth of stroller through the snow and eating carrot sticks for snacks when and if I had a free hand, a free moment. I saw glimpses of my former self; legs toned, hips narrow, clothes fitting,

And then I went back to work and you laughed a rueful, cruel laugh, knowing that you once again had the opportunity to merrily burst forth from the top of my pants; knew I was little more than powerless to sit, hour after hour and watch as every stagnating day; every tiny indulgence literally fed you; made you stronger, made me feel weaker in my powers to defeat you.

I try not to let you crush me. I try not to look in the mirror and loathe what I see. I try not to feel defeat as I remember that, the flat, size zero stomach I used to carry belonged to the body of a girl; that this rounded, supple, hard-working body belongs to a woman. I try to want to be a woman, even as the girl I see in the mirror laughs at me, a fat fool entering her mid-30s with as much grace as a lame hippo. I try not to see my own mother, see her constant battles to lose weight as much my reality as it has been hers. I try to feel happy with who I am now while still maintaining a goal of who I could be. I try not to think of who I was.

But you, you soft, fleshy, mutant of a belly, hanging off of my body like a deflated balloon, you mock me daily, rejecting more and more of the clothes that you previously wore comfortably, cutely. You ingest all my good intentions like so much bacon grease, impervious to my attempts at exercise, ignoring the many healthy food choices in favour of responding to the one suspect morsel.

You mock me; remain big enough that I am able to detest and fear you, to barely recognize myself; to be aware that anybody that looks at me now knows that I have put on weight, that I have fallen from the thrown of svelteness that I sat atop for 32 years. And yet, I remain just petite enough to make complaining about you cue head-shaking or eye-rolling in others that have known this battle for years.

I sit, glaring at the rolls that greet me when I cast eyes downward, and wait for the epiphany. You know, the one that holds the answer to weight loss, esteem gain and serenity. I implore you to make me fat and happy or to just go away. How can I make you acknowledge the efforts I am making – I am running for chirissake, running! – the snacks I am skipping; the comfort I am not seeking.

How can this be how you repay me after years of service? After getting through high school without majorly abusing you? After loving and sharing and appreciating you? After growing and birthing and feeding two beautiful, healthy girls? How can this be my repayment? How can this be my present, and how can I ensure that this is not my future?

C’mon, jellybelly, what gives, besides the elastic waistbands of my future? Is it humility you want me to learn? Self-control? Bovine empathy? Because I’m fresh out of food for thought. Of course, I do know where I can scare up a muffin-top.



  1. My belly is sort of awesome - three kids and one c-ection and an inherited tendancy towards EXTREME stretch marks has left me with an oddly postured belly that no amount of crunches or dieting will entirely vanish.
    I like rubbing it gently at night like a sleepy puppy. It's all right. I've made my peace with it.

  2. Peace over here too. If the people who eat right and actually exercise cannot lose the gut, then who am I to even think about trying.

  3. This is my post. I too sat atop the throne of svelteness for 32 years. The only difference is that the memory of that belly has receded a bit farther into the past. It is a peaceful thing, that loss of memory.

  4. I just pretend that I've always looked like this or alternatively that I could get back into shape if I wanted to. HAHAHAH
    I really think that cramming my face full of snacks last night clearly illustrates where I'm at. Svelete is not happening for me anytime soon and things are all headed south.
    I've given myself to 40 to get back in shape.
    You know, like when my kids sleep through the night I will magically be thinner bc I won't need all that sugar to stay awake.

  5. Thirty-seven isn't so kind to the belly either. It's kind of like being kicked in the gut, actually. The flabby, squishy gut.

    What I'm trying to say is - I hear ya, sister. Loud and clear.

  6. Today my 4-year-old asked me why I'm so squishy. So, yeah. I can totally relate.

  7. I'm not at peace with it, and honestly, I don't want to be. I want to be skinny again.

  8. When I was at my most unhappiest, I existed only on coffee, cigarettes, and the occasional V8 for "nutrition". I looked fabulous.

    Now I'm happy, and about 40lbs from looking fabulous. My family thinks I'm fabulous anyway, and I'm happy with that until the weight comes off.

  9. Aww, now I'm sorry I teased you on Twitter.

    It's tough, eh? I've never been exactly svelt, but I sure feel a lot better than I did when I was 30 lbs heavier. I try to be not too critical of the fact that I could stand to lose another 10 or 15.

    Don't be too hard on yourself -- that belly has been through a lot, and brought a lot of beauty into your life.

  10. I could have written this post...right down to the 2 daughters and the fear of becoming like my mother, constantly losing the battle of her bulge.

    I am not at peace either. I don't want to be, either.

  11. Auntie JennoOctober 17, 2009

    Oh sis, you are cute AND smart AND have an awsome family, and house, and job, and an indoor toilet, for pete's sake! Don't disturb the universal balance of good karma. A squishy belly is a small sacrifice for a wonderful everything else. And I don't recall that it was YOU Mom was spreading rumors about at your wedding, saying one of her daughters must be knocked up (again) because look how big her belly is.

  12. Oh my sweet kgirl,
    I believe our bellies are allies in destroying our self esteem and inner foxes. I've been doing a lot of whining lately, about my body shape, and am seriously so close to starting a "diet"-although I loath the word and pretty much everything it entails.

    I have also started to indulge in paranoid thoughts that every one is talking about me ...that every one thinks I am pregnant. Or fat. Or lazy. Or worse.

    When I think of my last few years before getting pregnant I remember part of what kept me sane through infertility was my philosopy, " If I can't have a baby, I am going to be buff and hot" And, in my world, I was. I had tiny jeans, bikinis, under pant style yoga shorts and all with no flesh spillage.

    Still, I cried my self to sleep several nights a week for the baby, and baby belly, I now have.

    So, the thing is...it all comes down to our vanity. And, if I am honest with myself, most people don't give a shit about my muffin top.

    But I do.
    And, I know you do too.

    Plus, that drawer full of unworn jeans taunts me.

    the bitches!

  13. I could have written this post. I also have 2 girls, am hanging onto age 34 and was always skinny without having to try. I was in some of the best shape of my life after baby #2 - and then I went back to work. Sigh. I hate my belly. I have a gym membership but no time/energy to use it being a working mom. I make myself feel better by telling myself I'll be fabulous at 40!

  14. Seems we can all relate. I don't despair of my belly so much as feel it's a stranger. It's still numb from the c-section 4 years back now, and is, of course, complete with muffin-topped scar.

    But hey, it's our body, glorious and miraculous and all that. Maybe you will come to some sort of peace with it someday. I do understand the desire to want your old waistline back, though, totally.


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