I have always been a little bit self-conscious of my belly fat, even though I am someone that would be considered of normal weight. Even in my late teens, I had a small belly-paunch that I was concerned about. Looking back now, I didn’t appreciate the fact that I was pretty thin at less than 120 lbs. I have exercised—if you consider running after kids exercise—most of my adult life, but have always kept a small amount of fat in this area. After two pregnancies, it has been much harder to try and tone that area with regular diet and exercise. To the naked eye, I look fine in clothes, but it is something that has always bothered me. It hinders me from wearing a two-piece bathing suit on vacation, and sometimes clothes don’t fit around the waist quite right.
It was a hard decision to actually take action regarding liposuction. My husband has always maintained that I look fine as I am. But of course, he would say that! But I feel like I cannot enjoy my life and feel confident without actually trying to be my best self. And after birthing babies, I feel like I deserve it; I give to everyone else in my family all-day-everyday, and sometimes my needs come last. A flat stomach would be the icing on the cake for me—my boobs are still pretty good, and my thighs, while there is no thigh gap, are satisfactory. It’s just this damn belly that prevents me from things like camping with friends and wearing a bikini at the beach. And who really wears a one-piece anyway? I feel like I deserve the bikini body that I have never had, but have always wanted.
So I made the appointment for the consultation. The day of, I started getting really nervous about going. Maybe this is silly, I thought to myself. There are plenty of other things that my family could use that money on. But I decided to go to the appointment and rationalized that it was just a consultation. When I pulled into the parking lot, I recognized a car from another mom at our school, and I nearly turned around and pulled away. Since it was raining, it was the perfect excuse to pull my hood over my head and quickly sneak into the office.
The receptionists were friendly and upbeat as they greeted me and asked me to fill out some forms. I couldn’t help but look around the office and check out everyone else in there: a woman who possibly needed a tummy tuck or breast reduction; another younger girl with a zip up hoodie who looked like she either just had her breasts done or was getting something to go with her perfect boobs; and a man who I presumed was waiting for someone. There was no one else who looked like me; just an average 30-something-mommy looking for a tune-up. My hand was shaking as I filled out the form because I was so nervous. Thankfully after that, she led me right into the doctor’s room and asked me to undress and put on a “robe”—a flimsy, paper cover-up.
The doctor entered and said hello, shook my hand and squatted on the little, wheeled stool to review my chart. “So you’re here for liposuction? Let’s take a look…” and he asked me to stand and open the flimsy robe. Thankfully, I was still wearing my bra.
“How much do you weigh?” he mused aloud after he pinched my fat roll in a few different spots. He checked my chart. “138lbs. Well, you actually have a very womanly figure, and maybe I could do a little liposuction in the mid-section area. However, first I would recommend that you lose 8-10lbs and then see how you feel. You already look like a lot of my patients do after I perform the procedure on them.”
“Oh, okay,” I said, attempting to cover myself up. I experienced a flush of red come over my face, and I felt embarrassed and silly for standing there in a paper robe, but also mad that he didn’t see what I saw.
“Try that first and then come back and see me,” he said. “But we do offer a full line of medispa services, like Botox, Juvederm…”, his voice trailed off in my head, and all I could think about was getting my clothes on and leaving as soon as possible. Talk about feeling humiliated. As I walked to my car in the pouring rain, I thought about coming back the next time and wearing my bathing suit so he could see what my belly really looked like in action. Losing 10lbs! I haven’t weighed less than 135lbs since my early twenties.
After that fateful consultation day, a few months and another birthday passed and I started getting busy with other things. I began writing a gratitude journal, taking long walks with the dog and doing some healing yoga with videos on Youtube. While I haven’t lost the 10 lbs yet, I am down five and feeling pretty good. My protruding belly is still often top of my mind, but not nearly as often as before.
I guess my consultation with the doctor, while disappointing at the time, has given me permission to stop focusing on it for a while, maybe forever. I cannot say whether or not I will go back after I lose the remaining 5 lbs. I am grateful now that he was honest with me—even if I don’t see myself the same way as he does.
What it did was give me license to accept myself. I am starting to love my body, just the way I am. Belly fat included.