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Why Isn't My Stomach More Flat?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

This past week I've had a return of an old anxiety.

Why isn't my stomach more flat?

These are my non-scale accomplishments:

-I've come a long way since my 160lbs obese days. The muffin top and side rolls are gone. So relative to then, it is flatter.

- I'm stronger and more capable. When we moved from a 3rd floor apartment to our house, little ole 5' me was hauling 25lb boxes full of books down those stairs like an iron woman.

- I no longer have a fear of stairs or walking farther than I need to. Yesterday I had to go to the county courthouse, and I accidentally climbed a flight of stairs to the wrong entrance. After I finished my business there, I decided to take a stroll around downtown Savannah. I took a few wrong turns, but it was no big deal. Back when I was overweight, I would have freaked out because my feet would be screaming.

- My blood pressure, cholesterol, fasting blood sugar, and triglycerides are no longer borderline metabolic syndrome.

- I am back to my college weight before I became overweight. I fit into my old college pants.

- Even if BMI is flawed, I am in the normal range, which is a psychological lift.

And yet, why isn't my stomach more flat?

I swear my stomach was flatter at this weight before.

I don't think it was because of more 'muscle' when I was 24. Believe me, I was a wimp. My younger self could not keep up with me today. I am stronger and more fit at 38 then I was at 28 by a long mile.

Yes, I know it's genetics and we can't spot train. I'm just ranting at my body. I poke and pinch my stomach and yell, "Why can't I carry the weight in all the right places? Why are you still here? Go away, you!"

It's hard for me to decide how I should structure my goals. After focusing more on my diet this week, I have dropped another pound. But weight is meaningless. I've reached my goal weight. I don't know what weight I would be if I had the body composition I wanted. How do I set a goal if I don't know where it is supposed to be?

After all the problems I had being overweight, I realize this is the equivalent of a dietary first world problem. My old self would moan at me that she would love to have 'my' problems versus her shin splints, low foot arches, and knee pain.

When I wrote my blog a few days ago about being happy enough with my current progress, something changed. Suddenly I wasn't happy with it anymore.

I've achieved my primary goal of better health, but what I want now is better body composition.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm reposting this from Koshie1's blog here:


    Someone else linked to this article in another blog and I think it bears repeated reading. I feel like I got more out of the experience on the second go-round, knowing in advance a couple of the things she was saying.

    I'm with Betty on this. I was fat and I was thin and I was fat again and then fatter. The fattest years of my life coincide with when I had my children, so they're consequently the happiest years of my life!

    I had, fortunately, learned by then that people didn't love me particularly more when I was thin and didn't love me particularly less when I was fat. If someone says you need to be thin for them to love you, they will NEVER love YOU.

    There are certainly drawbacks to being overweight, and aesthetic values are surely also a consideration. But most peoples' self-value comes from within, and pity the poor souls' whose doesn't!

    I will never admire my body aesthetically, and neither will anyone else much - not even if I achieved the perfect body composition, not even if I had plastic surgery or implants. Very few people can have "the whole package". I have brains and compassion and humor and resilience, some minor talents and the blessings of the Almighty in terms of family and friends. I can look at beautiful bodies and admire them the same way I admire objects in my house that please my eye. But my house does not have to be perfect on the outside to make me happy. I live on the inside of it, now, don't I?
    1820 days ago
    Yup, my baby basket looks a bit "used"...oh well. Look at all your other great improvements. Older women are interesting!
    1821 days ago
    You really do a great job of honing in on your goals, diet and exercise, so it sounds like you want to take it up a notch, and shoot for body recomp rather than weight loss.

    Have you looked at Leigh Peele or Tom Venuto's websites? They have some great info on body recomp (backed by science) and have really helped me get to my current level (I've dropped 14 lbs recently, and about 5% body fat, and really look lean, I know this because people at the gym are commenting on my arms constantly now, this never used to happen!).

    The main thing I changed was my diet. And from reading your blogs, my diet and your's are pretty similar, in that you cook a lot of your food and eat pretty clean. (If that has fallen by the wayside with your move, it may be why you are noticing the squishiness more now....just a thought!)

    Anyway, good luck with your quest! I'm almost 50, so I'm a bit older than you, and I say if I can to it you can too!
    1821 days ago
    I have the exact same problem! Exact. I had managed to reach my goal weight of 126 and was so dismayed when I saw how much fat was still centered on my mid section. I was highly focused on planks, crunches and back exercises so it was really frustrating to see that. I kept lowering my goal to reduce the belly fat and that is why my ticker is set at 116. That is where the belly fat is finally gone. I am now back up to much closer to my original goal and I do seem to be able to maintain at the weight much better than at 116 and I am certainly healthy and look pretty good in clothes but when it comes to summer clothes, swim suits or nakedness ...there it is ...belly fat! So frustrating! Here is the worst part (and you probably aren't going to want to hear this)...since having children my belly body shape has actually changed as well...as in my actual frame. My stomach (even at 116) simply bows outward a bit now...adding to the "belly issue". Then there is the skin...that without surgery (that I will never have) kind of sags in the belly too...partly from having kids and partly from being overweight before. So there is that. As long as I am complaining I will also say that in losing the weight needed to get rid of the belly fat...my boobs had to go and get smaller first! Heck my feet even got smaller! No fair!!!!!! So new shoes and new bras before new bikinis!

    Ok...now I have turned your rant in to my rant! So sorry. I can relate to your dilemma though. The question is can I be happy at a healthy weight without wanting a little bit more? I am not so sure. I am kind of OK with it but I do remember how in shape and awesome I did feel when I was completely toned, running on a regular basis and weighed 116...that was the year I went to Italy...I think I would kike to shoot for that again.

    I think that there is nothing wrong with trying for a more ideal situation as long as it is not unrealistic or that we don't think it will "solve all our problems". Know what I mean? I also think there is something to be said for finding happiness in where we are and the process of achievement as well.

    Looking at all of your achievements above and the difference in you and your life is amazing and you should never never forget where you have come from and all you have accomplished! The rest...what ever that is...just becomes part of your story.
    1821 days ago
  • KELPIE57
    Let us know if you find an answer, and chin up! You are doing great
    1822 days ago
    Great thoughts about the dairy/wheat bloating! I am already very low grain. This week I only had a small amount of stuffing that went with my pork chops. It's possible even this small amount had an effect, but given the pinchiness on my stomach, I'm guessing that my body composition isn't what I want it to be. :)
    1822 days ago
    I agree with the gluten (bread) cause.
    1822 days ago
    I would love to walk around downtown Savannah, I've only seen it in pictures and on TV - looks like a beautiful place!

    but, I live about 3,000 miles away or so, I don't think it will be happening any time soon!

    1822 days ago
    I agree with a few posters here that what you eat, if you have even a small sensitivity to it, could be causing the tummy trouble spot. I noticed a significant (aka huge) difference in the flatness of my stomach when I cut out gluten. Same weight, different tummy flatness. I had a week where I tried (foolishly) to add gluten back into my diet, and my stomach felt and looked bloated.

    Keep working hard and experimenting and the answer will come to you!
    1822 days ago
    It's a tough problem. I noticed a definite flattening of my stomach when I ditched the carbs. But the factor I didn't control was ST. I have found that by doing some of the foundational lifts (squats, deadlifts, etc) that i engage my core, back, and leg muscles quite a bit. As a matter of fact, I haven't done sit-ups in a while, yet have had almost no lower back pains in forever.

    Overall, I'm a fan of ST mixed with cardio....and proper nutrition of course....is there no end to all the things we need to do to maintain our well-being!?!?!
    1823 days ago
    LOL! No one much notices my weight loss and body compostition changes, because I take off weight first from the last place that it ever gets added, my bust. It's one reason why I never post how many inches I've lost. It's just too depressing. Honestly, with my frame and height I probably would only need to lose about another 25 pounds to look great if I could just migrate that fat northward.

    1823 days ago
    I often ask that question too... diet is EVERYTHING when it comes to a flat stomach for me. I honestly do think that dairy and wheat are bloating, and will give your tummy a rounder appearance, but yet show no added pounds on the scale (air doesn't weigh anything wether it's inside your tummy or outside it!)

    But I do feel way tighther when I'm doing lots of core work. (PS... it also helps that I've never had a baby! lol)

    Good Luck figuring out what you need to do! And do remember to share the info emoticon
    1823 days ago
    Check out the blog about Staci on Nerd Fitness - she was in the same situation as you. Ok, now I'm off to work!
    1823 days ago
  • 1935MARY
    Congrats on meeting your goal and to better health. But we are creatures of not being satisfied . Have you tried doing exercise on toning your stomach muscles? Try researching it on internet. May someone will read your blog that has better answers for you. I have not reached my goal, but I know what you are talking about. My problem is my stomach has gone down , that is the bottom portion, but under my breast , well some ,but still larger then the other. I don't know if it , or when it will catch up. Maybe went I lose more weight and exercise more. Good luck and I hope you find the answers.
    1823 days ago
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