I have a muffin top.
Now before you rush to say, “just wear looser pants” or “that’ll go away as you lose more weight” let me explain to you that I don’t just have a muffin top by proxy of bum-hugging denim (although I am a fan of a good pair of skinny jeans). No my friends, my standard body type is muffin top. I have a perma-muffin top if you will. It’s just what I am. Even wearing my old size 24s jeans—that were my pant of choice 50 pounds ago–the muffin top still exists. I imagine even if I was someday a size four, I’d be a size four with a round little belly (pear-shaped sisters, unite!). I’ve come to the realization over the past few years that short of plastic surgery, there is nothing I can do to rid myself of the ol’ love handles. They will always exist. And when I sit down? Any hope of being muffin-top-free all goes out the window.
For the vast majority of my adult life, my daily dressing routine has centered around disguising my perma-muffin top. Layering tank tops. High-waisted pants. Even my workout clothes were purchased strategically to obscure the sides of my tummy. Say I spend 10 minutes a day thinking about how to look “smooth.” I’ve been a legal adult for 10 years. That’s 36,500 minutes I’ve spent worrying about my stupid muffin top (even before the term existed).
One day this week, while I was getting ready for work, standing in front of our full length mirror, thinking that I should really put a tank top on under my shirt to help suck in the love handles, suddenly it clicked.
I think I actually like my muffin top.
Say what? A crazy thought. What woman likes something as universally hated as their muffin top? I must be crazy. But suddenly, as I was standing there, knowing in my heart-of-hearts that I am in a very healthy place both emotionally and physically, it occurred to me that my muffin top doesn’t represent all the negative things that women’s magazines suggest it does. I haven’t “let myself go.” I’m not wearing inappropriate clothing. I don’t need to spot train my obliques (which, by the way, are seriously on fire from my most recent core workout). No, my muffin top is just me. It isn’t a symbol of who I am or what I believe in.
If anything, flaunting a muffin top is a sign of strength and emotional health. Is the person that hides their flaws under tent-like clothing more emotionally secure than the person that lets their less-than-model perfect body spill out of a pair of tight jeans? I’ll tell you one thing, I know I have no desire to go back to my size 24s, just because someone doesn’t want to see my flaws. Does that make me emotionally stunted? Or unaware of my presence? No. It just means that I’ve accepted my body for what it is.
Now that I’ve pulled myself out of the society view of what a muffin top is and what a muffin top represents, I’m starting to see the beauty in them. Yep, you read that right—the beauty of a muffin top. Soft, smooth, womanly, organic, curvy. Those are rarely bad things. In fact, there is something a little bit sexy about a muffin top. Just a small glimpse (even if covered by cloth) of what must be a soft, round and feminine belly. Generally, as a society, we see any touch of body fat as unhealthy, lazy and disgusting, but a woman’s body is meant to carry much more body fat than a man (10-15% more). Having softness is a sign of health, fertility, and femininity. There is something inherently attractive about a woman having a little junk in her trunk (and on her sides).
Of course, everything in moderation. I’m not saying cancel your gym membership and start eating fast food daily to “grow” your muffin top (what a thought). But what I am saying is maybe it is time that as a society, we start to think of the muffin top as a symbol of something different. Maybe even beautiful. And I think I’m starting with feeling that way about my own.
Of note, finding muffin top demonstration pictures for this was mad hard. I guess I have a habit of deleting muffin-toppy photos? Well that stops now.