Belly fat obsession is ever present and takes up a lot of energy! No matter the size or shape of a women, obsession with the size of their tummy is at the top of their list of what they would like to change. My belly obsession began at the early age of 8.
My sister and I played with another set of sisters that lived in our neighborhood. We were at their house hanging out on the back patio eating a snack. We had just finished playing in the sprinkler so we were in our swim suits. I remember noticing (while we were sitting there enjoying the sun and a snack) that their stomachs were flat. As I glanced down at mine I saw 3 little rolls. This was my first moment of awareness at age 8, that my stomach was different than most girls my age. This was the beginning of my obsession with my belly.
As I look back on pictures of me at that time, I realize how silly I was because I was utterly adorable! Just a cute little innocent girl. No weight problems, just an insecurity around my body.
When these thoughts are left unchecked, they spiral out of control. My whole life was centered on my belly. I had an obsession. The only time I ever felt like my tummy was flat was when I was in a high anxiety state. But then I’d get happy and secure and BOOM! The tummy came back.
So what does all this mean? How do we take our focus from what we hate about our body to something that we love about our body?
Honestly…this can still be a struggle for me. Especially now, as I am closing in on 50….things are changing. Oh yikes! Did I just say that! It seems like yesterday that I was 8 years old. I love and appreciate my body. She has held up for me through all of my “stuff”. So my desire is to honor her (me) through whatever changes my physical form takes.
So what is the deal? Why do we, as women, obsess over our bellies? The “why” is not nearly as important as the “what can I do now”.
Causes of Belly Fat
Belly fat can be imagined….yes, believe it or not it can. This is body dysmorphic disorder. If you dislike and pick at a part of your body often enough, you will begin to see fat where there isn’t fat. Check in to see if this is you.
Belly fat can be caused by the traditional reasons of eating too many carbohydrates and/or sugar, lack of cardio exercise, overeating, hormone imbalance, etc….
But we know all this…right?
If you have tuned into any of the articles that I write or my book, you have heard me “preach” for you to lose the negative self-talk. But what about the negativity of others?
According to a study from Northwestern University published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, hanging out with negative people may be a culprit of belly fat.
It all boils down to stress. Spending time with negative people often leads to developing coping behaviors. You feel sad and beat down, you may turn to food to relieve the “pain”. And, the cycle begins. You begin to see “you” in a different light; judgment and criticism become a part of your vocabulary.
When you feel those around you support and love you…the tendency is to nourish yourself in a positive way through the food you eat, movement AND how you talk to and see yourself.
Release the toxic relationships and you just might release some belly fat! That isn’t something we traditionally consider to be a weight loss technique, but we are finding that STRESS, in all its forms, plays a significant role in our digestive response.
Check out how you can come into awareness….
How much time do you spend beating yourself up over your belly?
Spend 3-5 days getting a baseline. See how many times you look in the mirror, store front window, car window, to check yourself out…& to make sure your belly is ok. Note the number of times each day. This number may shock you.
Take a deep breath, it is going to be ok. Next step is to work to reduce this number. Here is what you do:
The next week, set a goal, a reduced number of times that you will look at your reflection, to check out your body/belly in a negative & judgmental way.
Each week reduce the number, and replace it with the following steps to empower and boost your self-confidence.
1 – Shift your focus! When you look in the mirror – look at body parts that you do like and sing your praises!
2- Face it! Go ahead and look at your belly, instead of putting yourself down, ask yourself “what is this about?” “How will staring at my belly, wishing it would go away, help me be a better human being?” In this step we are shifting the focus from the physical you to the authentic you.
3 – Change your course! Instead of taking every opportunity to judge yourself in the mirror, try breathing instead. Take a deep breath. OR better yet, bring your mind to the present…be aware of what you are experiencing in the moment, who are you talking to….etc…pay attention. Really take a look at your life in that moment and jump into it. Be ALL-IN your life.
It doesn’t matter if you do not have the waist line of Sophia Loren or Jessica Biel. What does matter is if you love yourself enough to let go of the negative feelings around your belly and embrace it? Embrace it so that you can then release the weight?