May 20th, 2010

I Want My Abs Back

Angie McCullagh

Apparently, I am someone who bears freakishly large babies (both were pushing ten pounds at birth).

Having enormous human beings growing inside your uterus means one thing for sure: you’re going to be left with a lot of extra stomach.

I’ve been battling extraneous abs for seven years now. Wherein battling means I poke my mid-section a lot, grumble, complain, stomp around, and maybe give up a small handful of M&Ms. Once.

There was the time I briefly joined a gym–one of those ‘girls only’ places with a circuit in which you switched stations every thirty seconds. You knew when to switch because over the awful country-themed playlist, a pre-recorded female voice would command you to get off your tush and keep moving.

That approach got my heart rate up. But, though exercising amongst the fifty-and-up set was decidedly unthreatening, I felt too young to be there.

I’ve tried Spanx, which didn’t so much flatten my stomach as squeeze the will to live right out of me. I’ve dabbled in the pregnanty look of empire waists that are so in right now. I’ve wondered if I should give up jeans altogether and just settle for yoga pants.

About a year and a half ago I bought an all-abs DVD that I dove into with fiery enthusiasm. I told myself I would do twelve minutes of crunches a day. I would get my belly back. I would stick with it. And I did. For two weeks. I will admit that, after those two weeks, my gut felt stronger, but it was still padded by a layer of fat that required serious cardio to burn off.

Enter my most recent stab at banishing the baby weight: Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred. I’d been hearing about it for a few years and thought, No way. I’m not an exerciser. I’m not disciplined. I do not enjoy pain.

But then, one day, desperation gripped me and I ordered it online. When it came, I slid the disc into the DVD player with an admirable attitude of Sure, why not.

I’m only on Day 3 and I can tell you why not. It’s awful. It’ll turn your limbs to pudding and spin your stomach until it clenches. The next day you’ll ache like an eighty-seven-year-old with bad joints. You’ll also feel a strange, probably misplaced sense of pride. You’ve been through twenty-minutes of bootcamp-like hell and survived to write the tale on Momicillin.

I don’t know if I’ll keep it up, even as far as Day 4. I don’t know if I’ll ever just accept my not-so-taut middle or if I’ll start a sunflower-seed only diet tomorrow. I can tell you that having Milo and Belle in the world is worth all the annoyance I feel when trying on swimsuits or constantly yanking the hem of a shirt that used to fit. And maybe I can convince them to like sunflower seeds, too.

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