“No, I’m Not Pregnant. I’m Just a Little Bit Fat.”

Via on Oct 22, 2013

Photo: Alex Pearson

A Story of Abominable & Amazing Abdominals

I have a real yoga body.

(Of course, everyone who practices yoga does—the skinny, the rotund and everyone in between.)

I was slightly chubby as a kid. One particularly cruel fourth grade boy would taunt me on the playground, chanting, “Shelly with a belly full of jelly.”

I was at the height of my physical prowess from about age 20 to 24. A few years later, I’d managed to gain 20 pounds or so. I happen to carry extra weight in my midsection, although my arms and legs have always been relatively slim and toned. (I have nice extremities, as a friend complimented me once.)

Which is why people (usually yoga students) would ask/imply that I was expecting. I’d correct them: “No, no. I’m just a little chubby.” Although sometimes I thought it would be less embarrassing to just lie and say, “Only four months to go!”

Since when is it okay to ask a woman if she’s pregnant? Unless you’re sure, do us all a favor—don’t.

I used to feel miserably humiliated about my stomach. I’d try to “suck it in” more, like my mom always used to remind me. I’d look in the mirror and wish I could wish it away. I’d envy rich people who could afford liposuction.

I despised my stomach. I resented it for holding me back in yoga asana. I noticed that I couldn’t stretch as far into forward bends or advanced twists and binds due to my bulging belly.

Through the practice of yoga and letting go of vicious self-criticism, I slowly, gradually got over my hatred for my tummy. I learned to love my body, including my midsection.

Then, I got pregnant and grew a baby in there. And she came out perfectly! The miracle of life! In my formerly abhorred gut.

I have since gotten into better shape than I was pre-baby, thanks to a healthy, active lifestyle and diet. (Though, I’ll never be 23 again…) Still, the slightly chubby belly persists and probably always will. I’m okay with being a little bit fat.

So when one of my third-grade students looked at my belly and then asked if I was going to have another baby, I replied calmly, “No, no. And you shouldn’t ask a woman that. It’s rude.”

 

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Ed: Sara Crolick

About Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Michelle Margaret Fajkus ("fake-us") is a proponent of natural, lifelong learning through yoga, mindfulness, living, loving and letting go. An avid reader, writer and blogger, she's a longtime lover of words and languages, especially English and Spanish. Today, Michelle is a 34-year-old expat from Austin living at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala with her life partner, daughter and black cat. Michelle is the founder of Yoga Freedom. She learned yoga from a book at age 12 and found Buddha in California at 23. She's written over 250 posts about mindful living on elephant journal since 2010. Her writing also appears on Rebelle Society, Be You Media Group and her blog, Daily Life Practice. Read her memoir, chakra guide or (free!) beginners guide to mindfulness and yoga here, or come on down to Guatemala for a retreat! Connect with Michelle on Google+ or Facebook.

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