“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 is the founder of Yoga Freedom, editor-in-chief of Daily Life Practice and Co-creator of EnlightenEd. She is a 30something gringa Gemini in Guatemala where she lives with her life partner, daughter and black cat. Michelle learned hatha yoga from a book at age 12 and found zen in California at 23. She's written about mindful living on elephant journal since 2010. Read one of her books, or come down for a retreat! Connect with Michelle on Google+ or Facebook.

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