Saturday, February 27, 2010

“A letter to my stomach,” by Laurie O’Halloran

Dearest Stomach,

We have had a love/hate relationship for as long as I can remember... mostly hate on my part. You are the one body part over which I seem to have absolutely no control. No diet, no amount of exercise, no magic elixir has ever been able to tame you.

You protrude after every meal, bloat when I least expect it, and often cast a shadow over my feet. You are relentless! And every time I look in a mirror, or see myself reflected in a window, I am always shocked by the disproportionate size of you.

How can we ever forget that horrible afternoon when my daughter was 5 years old and we decided to visit some old friends. As I climbed out of the car in my A-line denim dress, they walked over to offer their congratulations. They said they had no idea I was expecting again. I wasn’t. Sadly, the friendship has been somewhat strained ever since.

So five years ago I decided to wage war with you. I added flax seed to my oatmeal every morning. I stopped eating white bread and white rice and white potatoes. Every day before lunch I drank two full tablespoons of unpasteurized, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. You refused to budge an inch.

Then I decided to join a jazzercise class and spend one hour every morning on an intensive workout with 20 other women, most of whom had flat bellies already. I was the classs standout, literally. Yet after hundreds of hours and gallons of sweat, you have barely changed. But I have.

My weight may be the same, but my attitude is completely different. I don’t care if you refuse to reveal those hidden abs under all that excess flab because daily exercise has given me so many more benefits. I’ve made some wonderful new friends, I’ve developed muscles I didn’t know I had, I feel stronger than ever and best of all, I have twice the energy.

Rather than rant about your stubborn roll of fat, I’ve learned to appreciate tummy tucking jeans, stretchy waist bands and bathing suits with control panels. From here on in, I’m determined to look on the bright side, and always remember the two beautiful children you carried for me and kept safe and warm and healthy for nine months. For that I will always be grateful.

You have been granted a reprieve, dear stomach. As I approach my 50th birthday, I’ve learned to like myself for who I am – all of me. It’s time to call a truce, stop fighting you and acknowledge that you are a vital part of a healthy body that has served me well. You win.

Laurie O'Halloran has been the editor and publisher of Home Style, Canada's Housewares Magazine, for the past 21 years. She is the recipient of several business writing awards, including three Kenneth R. Wilson national awards. She is the Canadian sponsor of the Global Innovator Awards sponsored by the International Housewares Association, a member of the McMichael Art Gallery Volunteer Committee, Toasters Internationa.l and the journalism advisory board of Sheridan College.  Laurie is also an avid jazzerciser. She lives in Oakville, with her husband Michael, and two children, Jesse (17) and Haley (11).

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