4 min read

For most of my life I felt ashamed of my stomach.

For so much of my life I felt ashamed of the roundness of my stomach. 

When I wore clothes, I thought it spoilt the outline of my body, and made me less attractive. 

I thought men would be disgusted by it if they saw it or touched it. 

was disgusted by it. 

I thought it made me inferior to other women with flat stomachs. 

Less desirable. Lower status. 

I tried hard to change it.

At times, I worked very hard to flatten it.

  • Over the years I did lots of research about what to eat and which exercises to do.
  • I tried lots of different diets.
  • I looked into how I could eat in such a way that would avoid bloating.
  • I tried different workouts, at different intervals, with different degrees of intensity and combinations of resistance work and cardio.
  • I couldn’t believe that even when I was very thin, and my periods had stopped, it still wasn’t flat. I thought that was very unfair.
  • I tried becoming very active, eating more protein, and increasing my muscle mass, but it still refused to be flat.
  • I wondered whether the roundness might have been caused by stress, so I tried to deal with that too.

It was a never-ending struggle.

There was always another thing to try – a supplement, a programme, a diet plan, an exercise regimen, a meditation practice. 

Always more people ready to give me advice on how I could achieve my goal. 

And always more businesses ready and willing to sell me something to solve this apparent ‘problem’. 

I even considered surgery, but fortunately, I didn’t go that far because I clung to the hope that I’d be able to achieve my goal myself through education, determination and hard work. 

And yet that flat stomach always stayed out of reach. And with it, my dream of having a ‘perfect’ body and being desirable. 

The ongoing ‘failure’ got me down. I thought it was so unfair when I saw girls and women who seemed to have flat stomachs naturally. I felt jealous and inferior. 

I never stopped to question whether this goal was one worth striving for.

I picked up messages from my culture that led me to conclude that my natural body shape was wrong.

When you look at the imagery of women who are held up as being beautiful in our culture today, it’s perhaps not surprising that I developed this obsession. 

Very few people who are lauded for their appearance don’t have flat stomachs. Just as the ‘Hollywood smile’ is a must for celebrities and actors, a flat stomach seems to be a requirement for being considered attractive. 

And if it isn’t flat, it’s generally covered up. Because it’s viewed as something shameful that should be hidden. Or that’s the message I took from what I saw anyway. 

But our bodies are naturally diverse.  It's the fact that this isn't represented that is wrong.

But since healing my problems with body image around six years ago, I’ve realised that my stomach was never meant to be flat. 

That’s just not how my body is designed. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. 

Yes, maybe if I made it the goal of my life for long enough, I could achieve it. Maybe there is that one thing out there that would work. 

But why spend my life trying to achieve something so pointless when I could reject all the brainwashing that made me assume there was something wrong with my natural body instead? 

I wasted so much of my life chasing something meaningless, trying to solve a problem that didn’t exist, and all because I’d never stopped to question the brainwashing of the culture I’d grown up in. 

  • Why on earth is it wrong for a stomach not to be flat? 
  • Why do people admire six packs in men so much? 
  • How exactly do they make the world a better place? 

Not having a flat stomach doesn’t make me any less attractive to anyone who has no judgements about how a stomach should look. 

And I’m not missing out on any good things in life as a result of not having one. 

I no longer feel jealous of women who have flat stomachs. I’ve stopped feeling inferior. 

I recognise that our bodies aren’t all meant to look the same, and no one’s body is better or worse than anyone else’s. We’re just different. 

And I enjoy and appreciate the diversity! 😍

It’s just compelling propaganda that we get subjected to throughout our lives that tells us that any deviation from a societal ‘ideal’ of how a person ‘should’ look makes them less worthy of desire and respect. 

And once we realise that, we can reject it and free ourselves from its grip. 

Of course, it’s true that many people believe that a flat stomach is more attractive than a round one. They’ve been exposed to the same conditioning that I was. 

Most people I know think that, and that’s ok. 

I don’t need everyone in the world to think I’m attractive. I couldn’t handle it if they did! 😆

The most important thing is that I know that there’s nothing wrong with my stomach. There never was. There never will be. There can’t be. 

And nowadays I’m even starting to like the softness of the curves. 🥰 

Sexual preferences are much more conditioned than they seem.

I guess people rave about flat stomachs and six packs because they get turned on by them. After all, that’s what we get ‘trained’ to find attractive throughout our lives. 

We typically think our sexual tastes are innate when the truth is that they are often highly conditioned – we’re just not aware of the fact because the process often happens at a level below our conscious awareness. 

Lasting, fulfilling sexual attraction can't be reduced to the size or shape of someone's body parts.

I’ve found it liberating to realise that sexual desire isn’t dependent upon the size, shape or appearance of the body parts of the person you want to be intimate with. 

When we sexually objectify people – focussing only on parts of their body and acting as if that’s where their attractiveness comes from – we can miss out on a fuller, richer experience of attraction. What I call whole-person attraction

When you experience whole-person attraction, things work the opposite way round to how they’re typically presented in our culture. 

You desire to be close to someone and share pleasure with them, and from that starting place, you automatically find their body gorgeous regardless of the details of how they look. 

You delight in what is. 

Without rules about how someone ‘should’ look, you are free to enjoy every inch of their body exactly how it is in that moment. 

And this is very good news for people who want to be in a passionate, monogamous relationship that lasts. 

Our bodies are not meant to stay the same throughout our lives. That would be unnatural. Knowing that our attractiveness isn’t dependent on looking young means we get to enjoy sexual intimacy for as long as we want to. 😊

I'm happier now because I've stopped judging my body harshly and have started enjoying it more.

I’m so glad my body stuck two fingers up at all the pressure to change itself just to fit in. 

And these days I love it when my husband touches my stomach. It’s so sensitive. Sometimes more sensitive than I can bear! 

How crazy to think that I denied myself the pleasure of being touched there for so long. 

And all because I got sucked into the prevailing habit of rejecting my natural body for fear that if I didn’t, I’d never get the things I most wanted in life – intimacy, romance, connection. 

I’m so happy I was wrong about all that. 

You don’t need a flat stomach to be happy. 

Your body doesn’t have to be different from how it is in this moment for you to be happy. 

Because happiness doesn’t come from the degree to which your body conforms with certain standards. Happiness comes from a different source. But that’s a topic for another day…


  • Our bodies are naturally diverse.  If your body deviates from the current so-called 'beauty' standards, that's not a sign that there's something wrong with it.  Rather, it's a sign that there's something wrong with expecting all human beings to look the same.
  • You don't have to waste your precious time and energy trying to change your body to make it conform with the so-called 'beauty' standards.  You can take care of your body and be happy without doing that.  
  • When you realise that you've been brainwashed into judging and hating your body for the ways it doesn't comply with the 'rules', you can choose to look in the direction of healing, and decide to embrace and enjoy your body as it is instead.  This is a wonderfully liberating and joyful journey to go on, and you can embark on it at any moment!

And now it's over to you.  What's your experience?

  • Is there a part of your body that you're always trying to change, or would like to change, e.g. with diet, exercise, 'beauty' treatments or procedures or surgery?
  • How would you life change if you realised that you didn't need to do anything about it?

Let me know in the comment box below.  

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If you're struggling with feelings of inadequacy when it comes to your appearance, check out my free resources or find out how you can work with me.

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