Tummy Love

Over the holidays I was looking through some women’s magazines and all those unavoidable photos of overly skinny women.

Before I knew it, the subliminal messages about how I “should” look entered my mind.

Now I obviously don’t have aspirations of looking like a model, but as I looked at those perfectly photo-shopped anorexic bodies, the little voice chimed in its 2 cents:

“You know, you really would look better if you just lost 10 pounds. If you could just get rid of that little bit of extra wiggle, then clothes would hang on you much better. And people would respect you more. And you’d be perceived as much more successful. So no more sugar, potato chips, or alcohol, or anything fun.”

It was at this point that I woke up and heard the voice. What, no wine?!?!

I have had to learn to pay attention to that voice, to shine a light on it and bring it into my awareness. Doing so has allowed me to transform it, mostly by counteracting it with positive thoughts. If I say the positive thoughts enough I start to believe them and feel them.

But saying positive things about my own body was very awkward at first. As women, we’re not supposed to do that. We’re trained from when we are very young that we are supposed to hate our bodies, and when a girlfriend says, “Oh I’ve gained weight!” we assume that’s a negative thing and try to make her feel better: “Well, I can’t see it.” Or we say something disparaging about our self: “Yeah, me too, I ate like a cow over the holidays”.

What would happen if instead you said, “Well I just love my tummy rolls and saddlebags!” I dare you to try it next time!

During these recent holidays, as I’ve filled my adorable tummy with all kinds of crazy things and watched it grow, I decided I needed to do something extra special to show it just how much I love it.

TummySo I decorate it with henna.

And in an effort to counteract all those magazine photos, here’s my 46 year old real woman tummy (with the henna still drying):

(I soooo see this becoming part of a SoulCollage® card!)


What part of your body do you need to love right now?


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

terri tacheny January 8, 2014 at 9:27 am

Hi Cheryl, I love your bravery and wisdom. I would love to say, I too accept myself, mid-life fat and all. But I’m not there yet. I have not worked on my soul collage since before the holidays and soon will be leaving for a 3 week trip! I look forward to coming home and coming to your open studio time! I enjoy reading your newsletters and this one on acceptance of our aging bodies is very inspirational. I love that you decorated your tummy with art and proudly displayed it for all of us who struggle with body image. Thank you!!! Peace, Terri


Cheryl January 8, 2014 at 11:35 am

Ah, Terri, just give your tummy a good Buddha rubbing right now and tell it how much you love it! It’s so simple!
I look forward to see you at an open studio! I’ll get more dates on the calendar soon…


Gracia McKinley January 9, 2014 at 7:11 am

Hi Cheryl,

Love your blog on Tummy Love.

I give my students assignments to love their bellies all of the time. You probably know that the belly button area is associated with the third chakra, manipura chakra. It is the energy center of personal power. What does it mean for our energy system if we suck it in and constantly think negatively about it. I give people assignments to have their lover caress and massage their bellies with the lights on! 🙂

Thanks for writing that blog. It definitely applies to all of us! 😉

Happy New (Tummy Love) Year!


Cheryl January 9, 2014 at 8:10 am

Wow! I hadn’t thought about the chakra implications while writing the article. As the center of self-esteem/confidence and personality, seems it was the right body part to pick for decorating!
(I was thinking about doing the backs of my arms, which bother me so I have to regularly give them love, but I wasn’t sure I could manage getting the henna there!).
Thanks so much for sharing, Gracia! Now, to have a chat with my husband…


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