Tum-body to Love—Tips on Loving Your Tummy!

By Bailey Rymes

Bodies. We all got ‘em. Sometimes we love them, sometimes we hate them. That’s the way it works. Sorry, I don’t make the rules, I just follow them blindly. Unfortunately I, like many others, am a frequent flyer on the body hatred airline. Every once in a while I switch it up and hop on the SS love my body, but that’s pretty rare. I want to be a gold level member of body love and someday I will be. For now, though, I have this little voice in my head that just constantly calls me the heck out. Who let this meany pants in because I certainly did not. They have overstayed their welcome and frankly, I’m not too pleased about it. 

I like to refer to this part of my brain that's a real negative Nelly as my inner critic. We’ve all got one of these demons inside our head; a voice within that tells us we are not enough. A real hater, constantly sippin’ that haterade. Usually, that inner critic voice is just a whisper; something you can shake off and dismiss as ridiculous. Unfortunately, that whisper sometimes turns into a scream. She gets hella loud and hella proud. The noise level is equivalent to that of drunk ladies at a karaoke bar, but instead of singing a group rendition of Fergalicious, they are screaming insults on how you aren’t good enough into your ears. It’s a real pain in the rump and really makes you feel awful about yourself. My own inner critic has a few go to’s. She (I've decided my internal critic is a lady because YOLO) really loves to tell me that my body is too big, that I’m not good enough, and that no one will ever love me. While we don’t have time to unpack ALL of that, I would like to focus on her body comments because I feel that they are the most hashtag relatable. She love, love, loves (I said it three times for EMPHASIS) to rain on my parade.

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Her personal fave body part to set up shop around in my stomach. Boy oh boy, does she love to tell me that my belly is big and unattractive. She’ll say, “put that thing away, no one wants to see how pudgy you are” and “the only way you’ll be happy is if you get a flat stomach.” Obviously hearing these things –even if they are coming from my own head – makes me feel self-conscious and upset. I get overwhelmed with a wave of self-doubt and self-hatred. I end up feeling like my body is a mistake. Woof, that is some heavy stuff, but clearly, she pulls no punches.

So how do we fight this? How do we deal with our inner critics' cruel words? Well, I don’t have all the answers (sorry ‘bout it), but I do have a few tricks that I find useful. The following tasty tidbits are ways that I reframe some of these critiques into healthy thoughts. Here are some of my favorites:  

 

Think about the function of my tummy

Sometimes it helps to go back to basics. I put all my feelings to the side and focus on the facts. I identify that my midsection serves a purpose: it connects my upper body to my lower body. Without it, I’d just have a big ole hole in between my top half and bottom half.

My tum also houses my organs. That’s right, some of my organs live in the high-end neighborhood of my tummy. And yeah, some of those organs like to take up more square footage and acreage than others, but it’s all good. All of us have organs that like to take up different amounts of space, some people’s more than others, and that is so okay! It’s more than okay! Who are we to try to evict them and give them less space to live in by shrinking our bellies? Like thanks, but no thanks. I’m not here to stop them from living their GD life!! Thank you, next.

At the very basic level, your actual stomach is what makes it so we can eat so many kinds of delicious food! Without it, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy such personal favorites as mozzarella sticks and pizza! Now that would be a real tragedy.

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Another benefit of the extra cushion of our tummies is that it makes a great pillow for our pets. I would know, my cat thinks my stomach is the bomb diggity. If he wants to take a nap, he can just snuggle up and relax into that temp-PUR-pedic-like surface. It’s a real dream because my cat is just like a toasty little personal heater. Why would I want to get rid of our cuddle sessions?

 

Remember to focus on body positivity

Sometimes it can be helpful to think about why we actually feel upset about our bodies not being “perfect.” Like what is perfect anyway? Not to be that dude, but it’s just a concept. It’s ever-changing; what’s considered perfect now is not always going to be considered perfect. That’s why the word is so dumb. It literally just drives us all nuts and then changes. So screw perfect, it’s a fake concept and we are fine without it.

Look ladies and gents, let’s just focus on this: all bodies are wonderful! There is no such thing as a bad body! Big bodies, small bodies, medium bodies, they are all straight fire! What’s important is what is on the inside, and I’m not talking about bones or organs (we already had our organ portion of the show).

What I’m talking about is your personality, your hopes, your dreams. All that mushy stuff. People love you for who you are, not because your body looks a certain way. Who you are is all that matters. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

 

Well, that’s all I got my gals and pals. Body image is hard, but loving yourself is possible. May we all someday get there! Just remember to keep doing yo thang and never ever let anyone, inner critic included, tell you that you are too much or not enough! You are the belle of the ball, and that is pretty baller if you ask me.  

 

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