WHO LOVES THEIR BIG, BEAUTIFUL, BELLY?
I like to play a game when I’m lying on the beach. It’s where I see all the bodies walking past and I pretend that I have the superpower to help those who are sucking in their bellies to relax their stomachs and let a out a big sighing breath of relief. I know! It’s a weird superpower!
But hey, many people suck in. Sooooo many people and it’s pretty easy for me to tell. How? Well I used to be a chronic belly-sucker-inner. So much so in fact that at one point I couldn’t do anything else but suck in. It was no longer intentional. It was a problem, and it was exacerbated by much of my time in the fitness world where I was always demonstrating and instructing clients to tense and brace their core and I would inevitably perform the movement alongside them and forget to relax.
EXERCISE OFTEN ENCOURAGES US TO SUCK IN
I’ve since done a lot of work on my own stomach sucking in and still having to do daily breathing exercises and stretches to condition new good habits but it makes me sad when I see people performing. When we used to just play there on the beach as kids, digging holes, burying each other, and creating memories, we now suck in for the judging audience that we walk past lying on their loungers and towels and the contrived pictures we take of ourselves frolicking just for Instagram and validation.
So let me share some cool info for you about bellies.
8 REASONS TO LOVE YOUR BELLY
1. YOUR BELLY IS YOU!:
It is not a separate thing. It is you and your body is an interconnected wonderbot of intelligence and so talking shit about your belly means that it can hear all the bad things that you say about it… it can, I promise, and it has feelings too. Don’t believe me? Well then check this out…
2. YOUR BELLY HAS A BRAIN!:
There is literally a second brain in your gut! Well, it doesn’t look like the one in your head but the enteric nervous system is considered as the second brain of the human body and is a system that is highly complex, sending and receiving impulses, recording experiences, and responding to emotions. It contains more neurons than your spinal cord and has a direct influence on your brain in your head. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrases trust your gut and listen to your intuition. There’s real intelligence in down there!
3. IT CREATES SEROTONIN:
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is seen as a 'feel good hormone,' affecting things like our mood, appetite, digestion, sleep, helping combat depression and anxiety, and many other things. You might think this is all made in the brain but guess what? There is estimated to be around 90% of the body’s serotonin made in the digestive tract! I mean, doesn’t it feel strangely euphoric when you take in deep, calming breaths, relax your stomach, and slow down?
4. IT’S WHERE BABIES ARE MADE:
Well for women at least! It’s literally the home of another life for 9 months. Imagine the mindblowing feet of new life being created in this space. WOW!
5. FAT IS A SURVIVAL MECHANISM:
Belly fat is an immediate sign that you are a successful human being when it comes to survival. In times gone past, your ancestors may have depended on that belly for their very life. It may not be what is in vogue right now, but for many of you, your ancestor’s capacity to store fat may well be the reason for you being here today!
6. IT KEEPS US HEALTHY:
Holding our stomach in restricts our breathing and oxygen supply. This state of chronic shallow breathing can increase tension in the body, lead to respiratory problems, and even lower your body’s immunity, making you more susceptible to illnesses. Diaphragmatic breathing on the other hand, which is using your diaphragm muscle to breath from your belly, can help lower your blood pressure, decrease stress, reduce your heart rate, relax your muscles, and many other wonderful benefits, but not if you’re sucking in all the time trying to perform.
7. IT REPRESENTS OUR SEXUALITY:
For me it is my base. My centre. My core. And it is so rooted in my sexuality. I feel so charged in my masculine energy when I push my belly out and take up some good space. It’s the ultimate act of confidence to put on display what others think is taboo and be comfortable doing it.
8. IT IS THE THIRD CHAKRA:
The 7 chakras from spiritual teachings point to the belly as the home of the manipura, (the solar plexus chakra) located around the area of your naval and solar plexus, and is seen as the element of fire. It is considered as the chakra that allows you warmth, self-control, setting healthy boundaries, self-esteem, warmth, and courage. I like courage the most there because it takes bravery to own your own space in today’s culture which leads into my final argument for pushing out those beautiful big bellies….
TAKE UP SPACE LIKE PABLO ESCOBAR
I watched the Netflix series Narcos, which dramatizes part of The Colombian drug lord, Pablo Escobar’s life, and for me, his characterisation by the actor playing him was freakin’ awesome.
Why? Well, because Escobar was a man that seemed to be led by his belly. It was as though he pushed it out intentionally to grab more space and for the most notorious drug lord of all time who dominated the world’s cocaine industry in his day, he definitely wanted to take up space. He wanted to be noticed.
It was just a series, so who knows how accurate to the real man it was, but I took inspiration from his presence. A presence that was defiant to any challenge and let’s be honest, when you’re a billionaire drug lord, who’s gonna say anything bad about you within ear shot?
But you’re not Pablo Escobar. You don’t make people wet themselves when you walk past them…Or I don’t know, do you?
But anyway, imagine then how much more powerful the image is of you strutting around like you are the king or queen of the world. In fact, the more people might criticise you, the more audacious and confident you appear if you can still strut your stuff, and push out that belly, in spite of their comments because the funny thing is, is that when you move with genuine confidence, people start to believe it.
Our culture says suck it in but I’m fucking tired of holding my breath. Let’s push them out!