I’m going to explain something to you that I don’t like to admit often.
I don’t like the way my stomach looks.
There, I said it.
Today, I’m linking up with Amanda from Running With Spoons for Thinking Out Loud Thursday with a different spin. This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA) Week, and Amanda asked those participating in the link-up to share a personal story or angle on eating disorders. I’m doing this because I think that people need to be more aware that these disorders are silent killers. Not enough people get the help and support they need to recover from eating disorders; far too many lives are changed forever by the battles we wage with our bodies every day – I’ve seen lives changed by them first-hand, to people I love. We need to understand that there should not be a stigma about getting the help we need to live.
I believe that body image is a big player in eating disorders, but it is also an entity of its own. Body image is still something I struggle with. I don’t need to be told that I’m “not fat,” or “look so good!” I know that. I do. I’m not fat. I do look good. But I have never liked my stomach. I don’t know if I ever will.
What got me thinking about my stomach specifically this week? I mentioned Monday that I participated in a nearly naked run over the weekend. Everyone involved wore their sports bras and shorts. No real shirts. The race was something I always wanted to do, but it was a big risk for me.
It was difficult for me to feel confident being around other girls with flat abs, no fear about baring their stomachs. I don’t even really like to wear bathing suits, so this was tough. Maybe you think I’m being dramatic here, but I’m just being honest. It’s something I’ve never been comfortable with. It partially stems from the weight I did lose when I was in high school as well as being surrounded by friends for my entire life who had great abs. And what I’m about to do, post a picture of the stomach I don’t love? That’s just as much a risk for me.
Thankfully, I’m at a place in my life where I know that when I feel the worst about my stomach, I won’t drastically drop my calories or beat myself up for having that extra spoonful or two of peanut butter earlier. I’m going to continue to eat extra peanut butter, cake, and other things that will keep me from getting “perfect abs.” I’d rather be happy than restrictive these days. That’s fine. I know that I won’t have perfect abs. They’re probably not in my genes, anyway. It doesn’t really help that I have a scar next to my bellybutton now, either. Still, I also know that I look fine the way I am. But honestly? I don’t think it’s a crime for me to be self-conscious about my stomach. We all have our insecurities. I am not made of steel – no one is, as far as I know. This is my insecurity.
I have a lot of other awesome assets. I love my hair; I love my eyes; I love my legs. I think I’m funny. I have amazing friends. My family is the best I could ask for. I am a good person, and I do love myself. I just don’t love my stomach.
So here’s my final thought: It’s okay if you don’t like something about your body. Just know that there are so many other parts of you and that one part will not define you unless you let it. Don’t let your insecurity define you and control your actions. Recognize that you are great, because you – and I… we’re great.
No question today. Just your thoughts.