'Does My Stomach Look Flat?'

“Does my stomach look flat?”

That is what she asked.

Back in the dark and twisty days this would have “triggered” me into an episode of anxiety, self-harm, self-depreciation, binging, restricting, despair… wondering is my stomach flat? Do people care whether my stomach is flat? How do I make my stomach flat?

People’s comments still to impact upon me, of course…

But now, sometimes, it’s different.

Now it makes me feel sad.

I feel a sense of melancholy that someone thinks this is a necessary question to ask.

What if it doesn’t look flat?

What is going to happen?

If it doesn’t look flat are you going to cancel your plans?

If it doesn’t look flat are you going to stop drinking that glass of wine in your hand?

If it doesn’t look flat are you a bad person?

If it doesn’t look flat will your loved one kick you out of bed?

If it doesn’t look flat will you not do well in your studies?

If it doesn’t look flat will you be unhappy?

If it doesn’t look flat will people laugh at you?

If it doesn’t look flat are you going to become a recluse and never talk to your friends again?

How could anyone be friends with someone who’s stomach isn’t flat? Is this what you think?

I used to have a flat stomach.

My flat stomach was a hallmark of the most self-absorbed, and miserable time of my life.

Now my stomach isn’t so flat.

Am I happy?

Not always, no.

My point is, a flat stomach is not happiness.

Some people are born with flat stomachs. Some people are born with no stomach.

Why do we equate our worth with our body parts?

Do we look at animals and think, that is such an adorable dog, if only it was thinner?

We have a body.

We spend time sculpting them, and depriving them.

But we are not our bodies.

We are more than our flat stomachs.

We are more than before and after pictures.

Is it enough for you to be the person who cares about being the flat stomach in the picture?

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.

Or do you want to be known as the person who is inspiring, kind, a good listener; someone with a heart the size of planet earth, who changes people’s lives.

Do we require a flat stomach to do that?

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Eating Disorders

danielle lowe in music video for the song she wrote called reflections

How a Song Helped Me Find My Voice Again in Eating Disorder Recovery

I love writing music, but my eating disorder convinced me I should never sing, write or perform. Sharing my feelings was a no-no. I lost all strength in my voice, literally and figuratively. Singing was hard from purging, and I felt the only way I could really communicate my feelings was through my unhealthy behaviors and [...]
A plate of Thanksgiving foot on a table

6 Tips for Conquering Your First Thanksgiving Meal in Eating Disorder Recovery

Two years ago, I remember struggling hard core at Thanksgiving. Last year, I walked into Thanksgiving’s arms timidly but with wonder. This year, I am ready to embrace this holiday wholeheartedly and joyfully. Here’s a list of tips for those looking to conquer the day healthily for potentially the first time in quite a while. [...]

What People With Eating Disorders Want People at Their Thanksgiving Table to Know

We asked people with eating disorder in the National Eating Disorder Association’s community to tell us what they want their friends and family to know on Thanksgiving. Read the full story.
a fork, knife and spoon in a wooden table

29 Things People With Eating Disorders Want People at Their Thanksgiving Table to Know

“I’ll have to run off all these calories tomorrow…” “I’m going to be ‘bad’ and have a second slice of pie.” “I didn’t eat all day to get ready for this meal…” While Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and be thankful, it’s unfortunately a time when comments like these from loved ones [...]