You see, I sort of have this embarrassing secret thing that I do pretty much every single morning.
I’ve done it for years, and these days I do it without even thinking about it to be honest. Some times it even happens multiple times per day.
And sometimes in front of other people!
I don’t know what’s wrong with me – I just can’t seem to help myself. No matter how often I tell myself to let it go I just … I just have to know. To look. There’s nothing wrong with just a tiny peek is there?
A teeny-tiny peek at my stomach to see if it’s morphed itself into beach perfect overnight?
Please tell me I’m not alone here.
You want to know the silliest part of all this?
I honestly couldn’t even tell you exactly why I do it anymore. It’s automated, complete habit. Hence me sometimes doing it in front of other people. Okay, just family who live with me, but still. (At least I don’t do it in the gym anymore, which I admit I used to in my early twenties!)
are you a closet stomach-gazer?
I’m pretty sure that a good majority of women reading this are also closet stomach-gazers in the privacy of their bathrooms. Hey – we want to look good, right? It’s a common denominator amongst the Woman Incredible gals and there’s nothing wrong with that.
It doesn’t make you a bad person to care about your looks.
If you know that your fixation with this one certain body part is pretty much ruling your mind and at the same time controlling a good portion of your day-to-day ability to love yourself. Well.
Me, for as long as I can remember I’ve fought to have a flat and lean belly.
It’s been one of the biggest driving factors in my now 15-year exercise habit, and it’s one of the thoughts that crosses my mind more than any other thought as I go about my day, decide what to eat or avoid, and walk past shop windows trying not to glance at my reflection too much.
Have I changed today?
Did that workout this morning morph my belly into the flat sculpted beautiful image I have in my mind?
Did my eating from yesterday give me a radical transformation?
Did I get away with that ridiculously-big bowl of almond butter, cream and raspberries last night?
And why the frick do I still have a little muffin top despite being such an avid clean eater and gym junkie?
what are you looking for, anyway?
What will make you happy, one day, eventually, when you look in that mirror?
Does it make you a good person to see the lines you crave?
Is your day happy and fancy-free if your belly is free of bloat?
Is your confidence and enjoyment or love of yourself shot to pieces if the hard work you thought you’d been putting in just doesn’t seem to have paid off?
Do you feel better by sucking your stomach in and telling yourself you’re doing pretty well (which is what the above picture shows of me), or do you prefer to let it hang out and see exactly how ‘bad’ things are.
And what does that make you feel?
What would you need to see to be worthy? To be at peace with your body and yourself? To be good enough?
And would you carry those thoughts out and truly believe them if you did see exactly what you wanted to see, or would your immediate response be a fear of how long you might be able to hold onto it before losing control again?
wanna know a secret?
It’s taken me a good decade+ to figure this out, but the reason you can never-quite-get to where you want to be when it comes to sculpting the abs of your dreams?
It’s not to do with perfecting your nutrition or training by another 5%. As much as eating a proper clean diet and smashing out some great training sessions each week is paramount to looking and feeling your best, it’s not going to be the deciding factor.
The deciding factor, the make or break, is what’s going on in that crazy-gorgeous head of yours.
Tell me –
How do you feel about yourself and your ability to create the body of your dreams?
What do you really and truly believe your chances are of getting to ‘that’ end goal?
Do you absolutely believe you will one day soon walk around with a flat tummy and proud posture, or do you deep down just worry, fear and stress that it might not happen. That even if you do get there you won’t be able to maintain it. That maybe you just don’t have what it takes, be it the genes, the willpower, the perfect breakdown of macronutrients or the magical training plan.
Do you think that maybe you simply aren’t good enough to achieve such an enviable and exciting goal?
That if you did in fact achieve something so ‘massive’, that you might realise it hasn’t actually changed you; guaranteed your happiness.
And that therefore perhaps it would be safer to NOT ever achieve it; to not have to acknowledge that it’s not going to change your life anyway.
let go to get ahead
At some point, we all just need to let go.
Obsession blinds us. In this example, it keeps our viewpoint narrow and causes us to miss out on so many other reasons for enjoying a healthy lifestyle. It becomes something you hold onto so tightly that there is no element of faith or belief.
And the more you try to control it, to force that stubborn belly of yours into submission through behaviours or frustrated/insistent thoughts –
The more that true control slips away.
so here is what to do
Decide what you want, and know that it is okay to want to change a body part. It doesn’t make you a bad person, but it also will not define you.
So why are you letting it? Over on the Dream Life Project bootcamp babes forum yesterday, this topic came up. In fact, it inspired this blog post because I realised that not only am I not the only one who has this ‘thing’ with her stomach even after all these years, but that there could in fact be an entire army of us.
And enough is enough.
Let me tell you – if you think you’re the only one who has crazy-mad thoughts about herself and her stomach or any other body part. Well, you’re wrong by a mile.
So. You know that you’re not the only one out there, and I hope that gives you a sense of relief and promise.
It’s a start, but here’s what you need to do next. And this is the hard part.
The thing with learning to love yourself, accept yourself, and to have faith in what you’re doing and just let go, is that it’s bloody hard.
Which is exactly why it’s something I’m still learning to do every day, and I don’t know that I’ll ever stop the learning. It is a daily practice, but it’s also a matter of training.
Are you willing to invest time training your ‘love yourself’ muscle?
Or would you rather keep experiencing that morning ‘will I/won’t I be good enough today?’
It’s up to you. And really, the choice is easy.
After all –
Life is Now. Press Play.
PS It’s not about not doing the t-shirt lifting thing It’s about how it makes you feel. How do you want it to make you feel? What I’m learning is that by learning to love myself just for being me and for the good things I know I do for my body enough of the time to matter, I can let go of the day to day outcome and just – observe. But as I said, that’s a daily practice. The voice will keep coming back at you and you have to learn to keep hitting it right back to where it came from. Start today. Click like at the top of this post if you’re going to try this, and if you think a friend might benefit from it please share it on Facebook or Twitter!