Once I had a waist. Now I don’t have a waist, and I am programmed to perceive that as ugly. Programmed by biology and society and my foolish vanity. Time to reframe fat-in-the-middle.
“Beauty is a code word for youth.” (Source unknown.) I’ve read that we adore and desire the features of healthy youth because they signal “Healthy, strong, active, fertile! Good co-parent material!” Clear skin, shiny hair, bright eyes … and in women, a waist.
To be fair, I still have a subtle dent in the middle, if you squint at me from the north. But essentially I’ve changed from a classic hourglass to a barrel shape. And this is so common in women over 50 or 60 that it’s pretty much the norm.
Why must we hate our new shape? Why must we struggle for the impossible? After browsing the web for advice on ridding yourself of post-menopausal fat-in-the-middle, I concluded that it’s all, well, to put it nicely, wishful thinking. At least as for me. And maybe you…
Common advice on the lost waist (paraphrased)
- Fat-in-the-middle happens because your metabolism has slowed down. So eat less, eat better, exercise more, exercise better.
- It’s because of the action of the stress hormone cortisol. So change your eating patterns, buy supplements, and reduce stress.
- Fat around the waist is extremely dangerous and may kill you. So start liposuction, fat freezing, or yet another commercial weight loss programme.
- It’s because hormone drops lead to a reduction in muscle mass which means your body doesn’t process carbs as efficiently, which triggers weight gain. So exercise more, exercise better.
- It’s because brown adipose tissue function declines during aging. So do all the right things and maybe expose yourself to cold temperatures regularly.
All this advice implies that the waist will return if you do all the right things. But I do all the right things! What’s more, at 82 I weigh exactly the same as I did at 16: I can’t blame my change of body shape on extra weight. And yet I have fat-in-the-middle. My fat has simply migrated from tits-and-bum to the spot where once I had a waist.
Yes, I do know everyone is different. However, I also know a heap of people who exercise every day and have a healthy lifestyle and are not overweight—and still they have lost their waists. That’s why tunic tops and loose dresses and shirts-over-teeshirts are favoured by older people. It’s a clue!
Clearly, I have to reframe. Instead of fighting against this natural change, it’s time to embrace my fat-in-the-middle.
8 reasons for celebrating fat-in-the-middle
Stop pining for the lost waist! It’s gone, gone, gone. Gone for good and I mean good. I enjoyed it very much at the time but I intend to appreciate the fact that it’s gone. Let me count the reasons.
- An hourglass figure signals fertility. In my 80s, I am firm in my decision to have no more babies. So it’s lucky that I’m no longer arousing lust in young men. A waist would be wasted—worse, it would surely break a few hearts.
- My vertical parallel lines signal sturdiness, reliability, and strength. My body is sturdy like a tree.
- My barrel shape signals plentiful resources, generosity, a full store house. It also says, “I’m full. No more room for babies.”
- By chance, the dresses of my youth had closely fitting bodices and neat waistlines to show off our gorgeous figures. Conveniently, fashions have changed and now all my dresses work on a sack of potatoes, which I closely resemble. And I do love dresses.
- A portly middle adds gravitas.
- My fat is made visible by congregating in a central location. It’s an asset, I’m advertising.
- An apple shape is a bonding mechanism. When my sisters and I get together we sometimes bounce tummies like we did as little girls.
- If I keep regarding the human waist as a benchmark of a healthy body at any age, I will lose buckets of blood from self-flagellation. And that’s not good.
Surely that’s more than enough to convince you, and me, that a bit of fat around our tummies is useful, valuable, and even beautiful. If you’ve got it, flaunt it!Follow Write Into Life