So, I was at the gym this morning busting my butt and this girl comes up to me and asks me if I’m pregnant. I smiled and looked at her and said “No, I’m just a big girl. It’s just fat.” I can tell she was a little embarrassed and I can tell that the conversation that she thought she was going to have with me went right down the tubes. I’m sure she planned on telling me how amazing I was for working out so hard being pregnant and how she probably could never do it herself, but instead, I ruined her day by telling her that the “baby” I was carrying was conceived by eating junk.
Now, this isn’t the first time it’s happened to me. It happed about 10 years ago in the mall when I was about 20 lbs lighter and a size 6. I actually had someone rub my belly and ask me when I was due. Seriously!
Here’s the thing, I have what you call a Buddha belly or rice belly right in the front. Even when I was a skinny size 4, I’ve always had this little pouch. Now, at my current size 10 frame, that pouch is a little bigger I can understand where someone might think I was “a little” pregnant depending on what clothes I was wearing. It happens, I get it, but good Lord people, you NEVER ask a woman if she’s pregnant!
Does it bother me? Well of course it does! I would LOVE to have flat abs! Back when I was a bag of bones, I never had flat abs. I always had that pouch. It’s how I was made. Funny thing is, when I was a size 4 I thought I was fat as a cow. Imagine that? I’m 5’8” 133 lbs, size 4 and I thought I was FAT all because I that stupid little pouch. I drove my husband nuts by pinching and grabbing it and saying how fat I was. He would tell me I was beautiful and I would shun him for it. It was quite embarrassing really. If this girl had asked me “are you pregnant” back then, I probably would’ve gone off the deep end. I had a very poor self-image and I hated the way I looked and hated my body.
Now, would I like to cut the fat and size down? Of course, and I’m working on it but I’m working on it in a healthy way. Do I ever think I’ll work my way down to a size 4? Nope, not a chance. I wasn’t healthy at size 4, but I would like to drop about 15 pounds. Actually, let me correct that. I’d like to drop my body fat percentage rate down to about 18% or 19%. Weight means nothing if you muscle up.
Since I started running, I have learned that you don’t have to be skinny to be fit. Don’t get me wrong, I think obesity in America is outrageous and I do think in general we need to cut the fat, but I have ran marathons side by side with men and women who are overweight but run every step of those 26.2 miles. They have more stamina and endurance than a lot of the “skinny” people I know.
When I look in the mirror now, I see the same body that I saw in the mirror when I was a size 4 as I always saw myself on the husky side even when I was a bag of bones. But the amazing thing is, while I’m still annoyed with that pouch I carry, I’m happier with my body and what it does for me. I am stronger now than I ever was. My size 4 body couldn’t lift the weights that I do. My size 4 body couldn’t have run all of the marathons, half marathons, and all of the other races that I have ran over the last two years. My size 4 body couldn’t survive this ultramarathon training. But, my size 10 body can….even with my Buddha belly. And while I used to say to myself that I would give anything for that perfect body, I can’t say that now. My imperfect body has given me more than any perfect body can.