Belly Crisis


A friend and I have simultaneously hit a wall of intolerance for our expanding waistlines. We are good enough friends to have compared our belly fat up close and personal and we agree that we are both at a crisis point.

My friend has spent the last few months reveling in her life as a “slug.” She has discovered why people get big and fat – its fun. In her words, “You get to eat whatever you want, you don’t have to exercise, and you don’t feel bad about it. You just do whatever you feel like doing.” She was able to do that until this morning.

I, on the other hand, have been feeling guilty about every carb I eat. To feel better, I eat something sugary. A cookie. A brownie. A handful of Honey-Nut Cheerios. And then another. And another. And then I berate myself for falling off the wagon and allowing my belly to get to this point. And then I have another cookie to feel better – for about 1 minute. And then I want another cookie.

This morning, my friend and I talked at length on our walk about what we have done in the past to get back on track. After going over all of the times we have deprived ourselves of food and restricted treats and, well, been sort of mean to ourselves, we decided to try something new.

We are going to walk every morning.

Yes, it is a small thing. It may not make up for a whole plate of brownies, but it is something. It is something we are giving ourselves – not taking away. We are adding something in. Not taking something out.

One of my favorite authors, Caroline Myss, who wrote, Anatomy of the Spirit (among other things), says that the number one way to build self-esteem is to make a commitment to yourself and keep it. She strongly recommends that you make the commitment something to do with your physical body.

Taking care of ourselves has to do with self-esteem. If I cared for myself more, I would probably eat food that gave me energy, rather than the quick, drug-like hit of sugar. And learn from the inevitable crash that comes with it. My friend and I are still discussing how we lose ourselves and do things that are not in our best interests – like eating cookies. Many cookies. I will share more on this as the conversation unfolds.

For now, my friend and I are trying something new. We are making a commitment to add an early-morning walk to our day. Everyday. Rain or shine. I am putting this out there on my blog (to all 3 of you who read it!) to make myself accountable. Because I want to care for myself.

Do you do anything to care for yourself?

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  1. Jennifer Bedford says:

    I have a teen and a tween and a chronic L5/S1 that most orthopods wave their little scalpel at while pulling out their surgical calendars. Five years ago, feeling fat, sad, stupid and tired… I got a dog. I did not want a dog. My shared life with cats is completely my speed; that glorious, sexy, no-nonsense, low-maintenance feline energy was more than good enough for me. But the dog was a lever. To make me walk. If I get a dog, someone has to walk it, I thought. It won’t be the husband. It won’t be the kids. It will be me. I read somewhere that if you look around at those early morning walkers, the real ones, the ones walking at sun-up… you’ll never see a fat one. Long n short, Annie, been walking that standard poodle for near four years now and not only is there not a scalpel in my immediate future, but I’ve never looked or felt better in my life. I still hate waking up at that hour… but I can’t trade it in. Or opt out. It’s just not an option. xo/Jeffie

    1. annie kip says:

      Oh Jeffie! I am so glad to hear that it pays off – I have been trying to get into a good routine lately. Those perimenopausal hormones are doing a number on me and my figure. The scalpel option is waaaaay too scarey! So glad to be in touch with you, old friend!!!!

  2. Dorothea Hübner-Tilroe says:

    Hi Annie, I love the idea of the commitment to myself!!
    I keep thinking that I should start some serious exercise program….and it never happens, but I really love to walk. So simple really- will try the daily walk!!

    1. annie kip says:

      Hi Dorothea!!! So great to hear from you! I would love to catch up more over email – it has been too long!

      Yes, its funny how I can make something so much more complicated that it has to be. I struggle with getting into an exercise routine too. When I have a date to walk with a girlfriend I cover more ground and am glad for the chance to talk. I like finding ways to incent myself to do what I really want to be doing, but always seem to put off. Getting nice weather for walking makes it much easier too!

      1. Dorothea Hübner-Tilroe says:

        I walked today and yesterday!! And I was thinking about you walking with your friend. I walked by myself and enjoyed the quiet time to think or meditate on stuff.

        1. annie kip says:

          Awesome – thanks for the update! I just ordered a FitBit to motivate myself to get outside and move. Do you have one?

          1. Dorothea Hübner-Tilroe says:

            I have not heard of Fitbit, what is it?

          2. annie kip says:

            It is a little smart pedometer you wear – it tracks your steps and smiles bigger and bigger at you as you meet your goal for the day. Just having a way to keep track of exactly how much I have moved in a day will motivate me – there are days that I sit at my desk for hours! Mine will arrive today and I am excited to start using it. Let me know if you get one – I bought the basic one in hot pink from Amazon (about $49) – and maybe we can start a virual FitBit walking group! Let me know what you think!

  3. Annie, I’m an early AM exerciser. If I don’t go first thing, I have a LOT of excuses. I run 2/week and power walk with walking sticks and neighbors (we’re chicks with sticks!) 1/week. After those workouts, I hula hoop and do 100+ sit-ups. Between the regular exercising and eating less (yes, I’ve given up doughnuts!) it really helps. I’m definitely trying to keep the belly away but every year, it takes more work!!

    1. annie kip says:

      Good idea to just add on those sit-ups!!!

  4. Jean Owen says:

    You may recall that Maggie and I walked at 5:00AM for years. Unfortunately I have not carried on in that tradition. Maybe your nudge will help me to start bak, especially sine I have Fifi to accompany me.

    1. annie kip says:

      I remember that well! It is so nice to have a regular time wiht girlfriends – I think that is what will keep me motivated!!!

  5. OK, I have to comment on this. I know the belly. For me, the belly hit the fan (so to speak) when I saw a photo Cane snapped on one of our outings last spring. That belly is significantly smaller now, and I feel tons better. I decided it was time to stop putting my health last and to get real with myself about what I will and won’t do. I won’t do it on my own. I admitted that. I joined a gym. I decided I was worth the cost. I took 3 classes a week through the summer–a mix of yoga, pilates, and weights. (Love all 3). I needed the structure of a class and the knowledge of an instructor. I saw results within a few weeks, and that was hugely motivating. I can only fit 2 classes in now that we’re back at school/work, but 2 is better than nothing. I try to supplement with at least one good walk a week (doing something I enjoy, not just walking for the sake of walking). I’m never going to love exercising, but I love how much better I feel.

    The other thing (I read somewhere and can’t remember where now): When I want to eat something that I know isn’t good for my body, I ask myself: Is this a good way to love myself? Sometimes the answer is yes–if it’s a treat I love, if I haven’t had too many other things that aren’t good for me, if I’m eating for the right reasons. Often it’s no. I’m far from perfect in this, but it’s so much easier for me to eat right from a place of giving (love to myself) rather than deprivation.

    Wishing you success and health, and look forward to hearing how it goes for you.

    1. annie kip says:

      Thanks, Rita, for sending good inspiration. It sometimes feels like a losing battle! I am glad to know that it is possible to make a difference!!!

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