Posted by: VoiceinRecovery | June 10, 2010

I LOVE My Tummy: Moving from Criticism to Appreciation

As I have stated previously in my Body Image Under Attack post, I have a tendency to pick on body parts. I select one and focus on its imperfections at times. I am sure I am not alone in this, but in recovery it is a very uncomfortable first thought because I would have hoped to have been past such criticism by now. I have to remind myself that 1) I am human and 2) the journey is long, a progress, and we all have a range of challenges that pop up from time to time.

As I have mentioned before, I started Pilates a month ago. I have loved it for so many reasons, a few I will state below:

  • It clears my head and helps me let work go and creates a transition into the weekend or a separation from work and home life
  • I love the feeling of being sore, I feel like I am doing something with my body
  • After a class I always have a lot of energy

Another thing I have noticed recently is APPRECIATION of my tummy!!! Last night I was at home I realized I carry myself different; I carry myself taller, and am mindful of how my body is carried when walking, sitting, and lying down. I realized how proud of my tummy I am. I am SOOO grateful for my tummy muscles for being pushed, challenged, and sore through a majority of my week! I push my tummy so hard and never once in pilates or after when it is sore do I criticize it for not being flat, for having too much skin, for not “looking” the way I want it to look.

I got so excited last night, I rambled to my guy, bounced around and literally pulled up my t-shirt and said – TOUCH MY BELLY! Feel those muscles underneath – aren’t they fabulous! I made him touch all over my tummy in different areas to feel all the work my tummy has been doing for me in pilates! This in itself is absolutely amazing. I am one to hide my tummy, I constantly don’t want my guy to touch it out of fear of it not being tight enough, perfect enough, or flat enough. I would push his hands away because I was self conscious. He LOVES my tummy, always wants to touch it, compliments me on it, so all of my self-doubts are just that – doubts and not based on reality, but on feelings of inadequacy.

This new found appreciation of my tummy is a GIFT of pilates and it is a gift because I am appreciating what my body CAN DO and not what my body LOOKS LIKE. It is a happy place to be in. Appreciation of my body for what it can do instantly made me feel confident, sexy, and wanting to run around telling people to touch my belly! This is what Pilates has given me – a better Body Image and appreciation.

Who would have thought!!!!! For this I want to thank my tummy and say I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!

How about you? Have you had a moment of appreciation for what your body CAN DO versus what it looks like? Have you appreciated and said thank you to your body?


  1. What an awesome post! And I so relate to that feeling of not wanting tummy touching! What’s interesting to me is that it’s when I am bloated that I most hate being touched there…but the next day, I’m fine with it. It’s not like it really changed at all LOL

    • OMG – ME TOO!!!! Bloated feeling really makes me more sensitive!!! Even though it is all internal and doubtful we change 🙂 Thanks for commenting!!!

  2. Wonderful, happy post. Glad pilates is working out so well for you.

    I’m moving up in years, my two sons are grown and my skin is sagging more every day. I’m a slim woman but I had two kids and am getting old, it’s going to sag.I wouldn’t really care if my stomach were touched while I was standing up but I’m not leaning over. Downward facing dog is yoga was when I realized how “bad” it was. I don’t want anyone seeing that. I have not yet moved to acceptance of inevitable changes that mark my life experience. Intellectually I know better. Bombarded with the media and Get Your Tummy Tuck, and Facelift here makes perspective difficult. So keep on loving that tummy even if you miss pilates. Cherry

  3. I want to try pilates haha! To answer your question, I definitely have. Just a few weeks ago, I had to run a mile in gym class, and I was so thankful that my body was able to run it and finish at a good time! GREAT post!

  4. Oh Kendra, I loved this post. Thank you so much for sharing. I am SO glad that you are getting back into pilates and that you are loving it so much :)))

  5. I’m in recovery from a 16-year-long eating disorder. I wrote this poem recently; it seems apropos for this post.

    My Belly: A Poem of Love and Hope

    This belly that I used to despise
    I underestimated it’s potential

    I used to think it superfluous
    But now I know it is essential

    This belly I once believed horrid
    Is now valued as my core

    I once believed I could live without it
    But that belief is no more

    This belly is there for a purpose
    It holds many amazing things

    It allows me to breathe and digest
    It allows me to speak and to sing

    This brave belly can bear children
    It can wear any clothing with pride

    It feels no shame for it’s being
    I gratefully don’t make it hide

    It’s the center of my physical being
    The somatic anchor for my soul

    And this belly is finally free
    From the tyranny of my control

    © Sarah Henderson 2010

    • I love that!!!! Thank you so much for sharing with us!!

  6. Love you’re appreciation of your tummy! It feels good just to hear how excited you are! 🙂 WTG!

  7. I’ve been coming to love my tummy too!

    What an amazing love-affair its been! I never would have imagined it.

    My partner has told me – for a long time now – that its one of his favorite parts of me. He absolutely adores it. Yet, as those of us with a history of eating disorder know, it didn’t matter to me what he thought – I hated its roundness, softness, and pronouncement (I wanted it to “not exist” at all and for the space between my hips and bellow my ribs to be totally concave).

    Over this past year – and especially past 6 months, and especially past 4 months (during which I’ve been in AA for the first time – YAY Sobriety!), I’ve begun to turn self-loathing into self-love…

    Its a slow process of course, but by treating myself well in more and more aspects of my life, I’m finding that I FEEL loving toward myself more and more. More and more its unconditional, accepting, adoring, respecting…

    Low and behold, the past feels so distant now and today I sit naked with my sweetie watching the World Cup and resting my hands on my belly – my belly which now symbolizes my own self-nurturance, self-care, and self-centering. 🙂

    I just saw a tweet of yours on the wall of someone I follow and found my way to your blog. Thanks for all you do for your own recovery – it helps others!!!

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