In December, I had my tubes removed because my OBGYN recommended it for various reasons. When I went back in for my post-op, he said in his South African accent:
Dr: “You have a lumpy uterus. Your appendix and colon look good.”
Me “What’s a lumpy uterus?”
Dr: “Nothing to worry about dear, it can happen with heavy periods or childbirth.”
I was too mesmerized by his accent and adorable demeanor to question further.
I thought would be a good idea to try on “bikinis” after 6 weeks of “no strenuous exercise” (which translated to, ‘Don’t move and eat every baked-good from Canada to Florida’).
I also purchased a pair of ‘Form Fitting European Ski pants.’ on a non-ski, ski vacation during my sedentary-non-movement-movement.
Needless to say, this sent me on a tailspin to figure out why my my mini muffin top had grown to a Costco Size muffin top. (Again, I ignored the obvious evidence. Bread plus the sedentary-non-movement-movement).
And it also looked puffier and quite frankly, lumpy. Instead of chocking it up to common sense, I blamed it on this phenomenon Diastasis Recti. Which sent me on an unnerving rabbit hole. If I do planks and crunches wrong, I CAN MAKE THIS WORSE???
OR DID I ALREADY MAKE IT WORSE FROM ALL WRONG CRUNCHES AND AB WORK I HAVE EVER DONE SINCE MY OWN CHILDBIRTH?
I was at the bottom of the rabbit hole.
For as LONG as I can remember, I have been obsessed with having a flat tummy.
Maybe because people said dumb things like “Oh you look so grown up now that you have lost your baby fat.” At the age of of 14?
Or maybe it’s because I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s where clothes had to hang off your body and be baggy and looking like you never ate “was a thing.”
Or Maybe it’s because I grew up in New England and THEN went to a VERY Southern college. The lady-of-the-manor’ diet consisted of tea, overzealous kindness; tinged with harmonious backhanded hospitality.
In the North if you think someone is a bitch, you tell them. In the South, you “bless their heart.”
Irregardless of the root-cause, I absorbed flat-tummy-skinny-girl knowledge like vegans collect new hummus recipes.
It bothered me because it bothered me. (my therapist calls this cake or layered emotion…..did someone say cake???)
Yes, I’m obsessive by nature but this lumpy uterus thing was on another level of gerbil wheeled skinny-girl thoughts. It had this new level of mid-life crisis infused with prickly hormones and shiny instagram shots.
As excited as I am for Christie Brinkley as a swim suit goddess at 65, the standards of beauty are relentless and polarizing:
Grandmas can bench press Marmaduke and friends.
Pop-up-Cross-Fit-Paleo-Momtreprenurs reppin’ the new Reebok gear, have us all asking “Why didn’t my white velcro Reeboks look that cool in the 80’s?”
Strong not skinny, minus cellulite and overall normal body mass, splattered with the hashtag “What’s your excuse?”
You have osteoarthritis and your knee caps are tilted?.. SNORT THIS SHARK CARTILAGE SUPPLEMENT , POP, LOCK, DROP AND GIVE ME 25 BUR-PEES ON CEMENT. BITCH”.
Oh and the never ending assault of nutrition trends. Paleo. Vegan. Grain Free. Dairy Free. Ketogenic. Raw. Whole Food. Macros. Alkaline based. Plant based. Animal Based. Spiritual based. Fairy based. Game of Thrones based. Pixie Dust based. 21 day Re-uptox 23 day. 20 day, 3.. 11…6 pick up stix and eat them>>???? Are they coated with chocolate????
Towards the end of that list, I’m just making shit up, but it’s at that point, where people are ‘making up lightly-researched shit up too.
Popular socialites on the media declare their expertise and POOOOOF, a whole new food aisle is born. Or reborn from the 1600’s, i.e. the waist trainer………….”No! Dear Bloated Hormone Goddess please do not make that be a “thing.””
Yes, OF COURSE, I see a therapist.
She recently asked me, “What are your goals with food, body image and exercise?”
Therapist “Is it fair to say you have more than enough knowledge about nutrition and exercise?”
Therapist “What do you want to accomplish by continuing to research these topics”
Me “A flatter stomach and smaller thighs on a maybe a couple inches taller?”
Crickets. My brittle, dry humor silently escapes into the “LOVE YOUR BODY” books layered deep and snugly tucked behind my wise mentor.
I sigh. Time to be responsible with my feelings. “My goal is to continue to practice healthy eating and exercise, enjoy life, savor delicious food (without inhaling it) and genuinely be happy with my body”
Therapist. “Good. Your home work is to notate anytime you feel the critical voice and try to turn that voice into a reaffirmation”. She then hands me a small pamphlet on “Radical Acceptance.”
I snort, and trudge onward with my pamphlet and homework assignment, rubbing my mini muffin in happiness.
I get a little nervous every time I write a blog post about body image. I’m not curvy. I’m not skinny. I’m not super athletic. I don’t fit any one body type. In fact, None of us fit ANY one body type or any one way of eating and living. I used to desperately identify with being skinny. Then I identified with being athletic and exercising to the point of exhaustion. Then I tried to teach people how to exercise and hope they could identify with me. I was constantly looking for validation from social media and others to tell me the way I eat, exercise and look was acceptable.
It was exhausting. I know there are people who do not give their weight or body composition a second thought and live their lives free from all that extraneous chatter. AND they are healthy. I know it can be done.
I also know there are many out there like me, lost in a deafening sea of health rhetoric that ceaselessly frays on the slicing edge between trendy and truth.
I’m much closer than I ever have been to rubbing my mini-muffin-top and not cursing its inability to stay flat. Today I cheer on ALL glorious muffin tops for their ability to be ranked as high as the the elitist baked good, the actual Muffin Top.
My blog is humorous for the most part, so I’m not going to bring you through the anorexia /orthoexia phases in my life. (I’ve tried thought provoking sadness before and it’s more devastating than Casey Affleck in any movie, ever). I allude to this fact because disordered eating and negative or photo-shopped body image are pervasive in today’s society. I make no bones about the fact that it will always be “there” for me and it’s not a laughing matter for those who suffer through this. However, I try to lift people up through humor because that’s what works for me and the 1.5 followers.
This blog is like the ridiculous sweater I bought at Anthropologie a few years ago. It was on sale and the sales lady told me "it looks awesome on you." It's the most bizarre sweater, and whether it looked good on me or not, is highly debatable. Like these blogs, I look at them at say "Yeesh, what was I thinking,," or laugh or bath in their cathartic qualities. The sweater stays for the same reasons.