In my DVD, Gorgeous Core, the workout is described as eliminating muffin top. And it’s all about planks, abdominal work with my twist, and interval cardio to burn off fat. It’s an intermediate workout that addresses the core in all directions. It’s hot. But no matter how much exercise and quality eating you do, sometimes you need a reminder to give yourself some grace for being an imperfect person (as we all are) as well as understand that you might be hating on yourself for an ill-fitting wardrobe. Here is an account of my experience this week.
On a recent shopping trip to the mall in Franklin I began to feel terrible about myself. Let me say that the first issue was that we had planned to go to Green Hills which has much better stores, including Nordstrom, but due to time constraints and our sleeping three year old, we ended up in Franklin shopping in stores that everyone else in the world shops in. (That is really issue #1; I don’t like shopping with the masses unless it’s something extremely basic). Though Nashville certainly isn’t known for being a mecca of fashion, it does have better options than Franklin. But I just wanted another pair of shorts and several casual tops. So I thought I would try.
I ended up in the better section of one of the department stores which was not Nordstrom. And I started seeing a few cute things and I found a pair of super cute denim Bermuda shorts that had a bit of a fitted leg. I loved them. They had enough edge not to feel suburban since Bermuda shorts can seem so 1985. I put them on and they fit like a glove. They fit like a glove almost. But right at the top of the waist band they were snug. So if I would stand in one direction and really pull my abs in to the unhealthy point of not being able to breathe, I looked okay from the side. But from the back, I could see they were just a little tight and snug and made me look like I had a muffin top. And for me, not being as naturally and effortlessly thin as I was when I was 19, I felt this negative self talk bubbling up.
“If you would just eat less, these would look great” (Truth: I don’t eat too much. I haven’t had a dessert besides about 1/4 cup of ice cream at a dinner party in over six weeks. I don’t overeat).
“If you would work out just one more day a week, you might be able to not have fat rolling over the sides” (See the talk is getting worse because in reality, and in Truth, there was not fat rolling over the shorts; the shorts were pinching into my skin).
“If you were not so disgusting, you would look good in these like other girls.” (Still worse; the Truth is that comparing is never good and these shorts didn’t look good on me nor did they make me feel good about myself).
And still, I was contemplating buying these little demons! All $100 of them.
I decided to put them back on the rack with the intention that I would buy them if I couldn’t find anything else since from below the waist they were awesome. I left to see what else I could fine. And I was feeling a bit depressed.
I went into another generic mall store that caters more toward the professional woman and has only a tiny bit of flavor but because I was looking for basics, I went in. At the time, I was wearing my summer favorite cut off shorts I bought last year at a higher end boutique (in Nashville) and I realized that these were the inspiration for wanting a new pair. I have lived in these little light denim shorts with a bit of stretch. I pair them with flip flops and heels and because I was trying on only tops in this store, I left them on. What occurred to me was that these shorts were making me feel fantastic about myself. I liked my butt in these. I liked my legs in these. Shock and Awe, I even liked my waist in these shorts! I realized they were a bit higher waisted. And both fitted and flowing tops looked fantastic with these shorts. I bought, at a steal, what I wanted and felt like a million bucks!
And it hit me. One ill fitting pair of shorts (or jeans, shirt, dress, etc) can totally send me into a moment of shame and self hatred. What I learned was how quickly I could turn against myself even though I know that no one, including me, is perfect. Most of us don’t look good in everything we put on. That is okay. We have to stop feeling like everything we try on has to fit us just because it says it’s our size. What is a size anyway? Doesn’t it change from designer to designer? How could clothes look good on every body? Some of us have hips and some of us have none. Some of us are very flat chested and some of us have had to deal with being top heavy since middle school. For those of you who are tall and those of you who are short… those of you who are naturally thin, or athletic or a little curvy, accentuate your assets! What is your best feature? Show it off! Go out on your shopping days and know that if something doesn’t look amazing on you and make you feel like 100 Million Dollars, skip it and buy something else. It is NOT worth your money. And it is certainly not worth the effect it will have on your confidence. Learn this: do not let perfection or ill-fitting clothes send you into a hating tail spin. Just ask yourself, are my clothes fitting my body? Are they flattering? Am I being too hard on myself? What would an honest friendly opinion tell me?
That day I decided I would hang onto my current cool shorts and wear them out. Until I could find another pair that flattered me as well! Because those demon shorts made me feel like I had a muffin top and I don’t unless it is created!
Muffin Top seems to be the main issue of the year. One day I saw the thinnest teenage girl in line at the airport one day. She couldn’t have been any skinnier. Her jeans were cut to such a low point on her hips that she looked like she had figure eight shaped hips (meaning her hips were a figure eight- NOT her torso which is quite desirable). She probably forewent eating more than a few meals because of those stupid ill-fitting jeans. Because she was skinny. Jeans cut a little bit higher or even not so tight (ie, better fitting) would have made this young girl feel great about herself.
For the last nine weeks I have been working with a private group of girls in my Franklin studio. And they have gotten incredible results. With quality whole diets and BarreAmped they have seen a drastic drop in weight and inches without having to do anything extreme. But in spite of those results most of them come in and ask me about that dreaded muffin top area. And I get it- we need to tone up our bodies. But then I think, these girls are feeling thinner and healthier than they have in years. And I think- it’s those damn low waisted pants doing this to us women. It wasn’t until low waisted pants came into fashion that we even heard the term muffin top. I am not saying that you don’t need to make some changes to your diet and workout routine. At. All. If you know you are not at your best weight and tone, you need to do something about it. No Excuses. But on that journey, accentuate the positive. Cool? In the 60s we burned our bras. How about in 2012 we burn the muffin tops!