slack belly revolution

June 9, 2010 at 9:41 am 6 comments

This might be a weird thing to post about. In fact, I’m sure it is, but I just can’t stop thinking about it. It turns out… that holding your belly tight, as in the good-posture-kind-of-tight, as well as the sucked-in-kind-of-tight, is… bad for women.

The pictures above are not displaying a growing baby bump. There is no baby in there. The photo on the left is the posture I learned at an early age, the shoulders back, belly pulled in. Every American girl learns this posture, for looking in the mirror, for sticking out boobs, for “looking good”. When I became pregnant a few years ago and my belly started to pooch out a bit, I realized that I had been holding in my abdomen until that very moment. That is to say, for twenty-something years I had been tensing my stomach. With pregnancy I finally experienced what it meant to relax those muscles.

But of course, after the baby I unconsciously began to pull it back in. Then, two days ago Kris told me that posture is for men, not women, and that women should let their butt and belly jut. Relaxing your belly makes room for all the important reproductive equipment inside there. It is healthier to let it be.

I decided to try it out. At first it was alarming, almost sacrilegious to round it out there for all the world to see. And it isn’t easy either, apparently I am thoroughly conditioned to tense those muscles because I catch myself cinching in time and time again. I have to consciously and repeatedly breathe air deep down to the bottom of my belly and basically force it to relax. But that’s the other thing, FULL BREATHS. I didn’t know I was missing those, but I was. A tight belly automatically means shallow breaths, and for me that also means greater anxiety, as the two go hand in hand in my body.

To sum up, I’ve been walking around with a gourd-like belly rounding out my shirts, breathing deeply, relaxing fully, and also feeling secretly subversive. Letting my belly do what it wants to do is almost political.

You might want to try it. Let’s all try it. Let’s breathe deep, let our bellies bulge, and redefine what a beautiful womanly body looks like.

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Entry filed under: life lessons. Tags: , , , .

just what I wanted grandparents that disobey

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kris laroche  |  June 9, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    we posted about the exact same thing! i love that you showed your own belly. i hid behind saschy-boo’s pooch. hmmm. oh well. one step at a time…here’s to the belly revolution!!

    Reply
  • 2. heidibuecking  |  June 9, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    love, love, love this….i’m joining the revolution and letting it hang out happily ;0)
    http://www.heidibuecking.wordpress.com

    Reply
  • 3. Annie  |  June 9, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    that’s so funny. i’ve been contemplating this very thing lately and rethinking why i looked so big so quickly last time i was pregnant. i hold my gut subconsciously. let alone the way i catch myself contort more in a bikini! i’m in. just have to remember.

    Reply
  • 4. Joanna  |  June 10, 2010 at 11:12 am

    yes, finally a reason to let go of that flat belly notion that I will never attain. I’m in!!!!!!

    Reply
  • 5. Linda  |  June 18, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Oh, thank you for this! I was actually told the opposite by my grandmother — that it’s good for you to keep your belly pulled in! And even through all my body image work all these years, I never questioned it. I do it almost without thinking now… I’m so tired trying to look as if I don’t have a belly (as if I could fool anyone about that anyway) and so tired of behaving as if there’s something wrong with my natural shape.

    Reply
    • 6. nataliechristensen  |  June 23, 2010 at 10:14 am

      well Linda, you certainly have my permission to be exactly who you are. 🙂

      Reply

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