Ladies, in case no one ever told you, your belly is supposed to be round and curvy, and it is perfect that way.
Girls grow up believing that their stomach is supposed to be as flat as a surfboard, and many never grew out of this belief.
Many women don’t realize that even the skinniest woman will still have some type of shape to her stomach. Even the most muscular woman has lines and indents on her stomach, that’s her muscles sticking out. It’s never going to be a surfboard.
I despise when health gurus use the term “flatten your stomach!” It’s one thing to “sculpt” or “build muscle” in your stomach, but it is never going to be flat. No amount of dieting or exercise can physically do that. Actually, your stomach will probably get even more of a shape if you’re working it out.
This toxic “flat stomach” belief is the root of body dysmorphia, eating disorders, and self-esteem issues that hits girls before they even reach puberty.
At 12-years old, I noticed my tummy changing shape, indenting towards the belly-button and widening out on the sides. Reading all these magazines with “how to get a flatter stomach” tips made me believe something was genuinely wrong with my body. Even when my doctor told me I was underweight, I continued dieting, because I wanted to be curve-less.
Photoshop and plastic surgery have ruined our perception of how a body is supposed to look. Celebrities will suck in their fake stomach, retouch it, and then post it and claim they’re 100% natural.
A woman’s stomach is designed for pregnancy. Even if you never get pregnant in life, that’s what it was originally meant for — expanding, growing, rounding out, eventually carrying a 7-pound human.
Your belly is the center of your body. It’s not meant to hide or blend in, but to show itself. Stand up straight and let your chest stand tall, your booty stick out, and your belly be proud. Stop sucking it in. Its softness is there to nurture — your children, your parents, your lover.
Your stomach is your second heart. The phrase “listen to your heart” goes hand in hand with “listen to your gut.” Whenever something is “off” you can feel it in your stomach. When you have butterflies, they flutter in your stomach. When you’re nervous or excited, you can’t eat; when you’re upset or numb, you overeat. Your stomach has intuitive abilities.
Belly dancing is a form of dance that focuses on isolated movements of the torso. Sometimes it may involve use of balancing props such as swords and coins which requires some tummy fat. This art is not meant to change your stomach, although it can make you much fitter and burn calories, it’s meant to make you feel the beauty of your stomach.
So love your tummy like the sacred temple it is. Treat it with respect, listen to it, honor it, but never shame it. It doesn’t matter if your stomach is large or small, tight or saggy, lumpy or bloated, chiseled or soft… there’s no such thing as “flat”! Nor should there be!