A few months before my wedding last year, a well meaning friend gave me a book all about how to get a totally toned tummy in just 14 days.
Thanks. None taken.
It’s OK, I’m not the sort of person who is easily offended when it comes to such matters and she knew that.. even if this well meaning friend was in fact the very same lady who was making my wedding dress and so had seen my lumps and bumps up close with a tape measure in her hands.
She had a point. I’m a petite-ish type of person but I do have the body of someone who has grown, birthed and fed two children and then carried on scoffing her face with beer and crisps.. I have what is known as a
wine waist beer belly “mummy tummy”. A tyre of flesh from belly button to caesarean scar, which sits all the way around the waist. It is a bulge.
However, I was never going to be one of those brides who go on a strict detox diet and fraught exercise regime in the weeks leading up to the wedding. I didn’t want to rattle down the aisle, poking people’s eyes out with my protruding shoulder blades and I wasn’t fussed about my collar bones being a main focal point. What’s more, I was certainly not going to give up my alcohol/food vices during the most stressful time of my life (wedding planning isn’t a very zen activity when you’re the bride to be..). So in the weeks leading up to my big day, I drank and ate as much as I liked (possibly slightly more) and the flat tummy book went in my bedside drawer. On my wedding day, I was probably the most ‘solid’ I’ve ever been -save during pregnancy. I simply did battle with the bulge by investing in some rather unattractive but highly effective underwear. I won’t call it lingerie. It was like a very tight and seamless morph suit with the head, arms and legs cut off.
Anyway, our anniversary is upon us and one year on, guess what? ‘The bulge’ is still around me.
My daughter was rooting through our DVD’s the other day and she found one that I’d bought 6 years ago just after she was born. She was able to read the cover ‘Get rid of the mummy tummy’.
“Mummy, what’s a ‘mummy tummy’?” she quizzed. After I explained, she simply replied with all of the innocence and brutal honesty of a young child, yet to learn the intricacies of social tact; “I see YOU haven’t been using this DVD have you?”
I nearly spat out my doughnut.
Again, none taken. It’s true. I haven’t cracked out that DVD since 2009. She, like my friend, had a point. This little conversation did however, prompt me to hook out that flat tummy book with the idea that it might be a good time to tackle ‘The Bulge’.
I sat and read the book from cover to cover one night over a nice glass of red wine and a cadbury’s chocolate mousse. The stunning model beamed out at me from every page with her pearly white teeth, unstained from Shiraz and tea. Her tummy was indeed, tightly toned and as flat as the sandy beach she was
lounging lunging on. Her ample and pert rack was poking me right in the eye, whilst her eyes had all of the shine and glisten of the tranquil turquoise ocean that she was playfully paddling in. What’s more she was being all of this in the bloody Maldives.
I felt bilious with envy and excitedly hopefully in equal measure. Is it possible that I could be as perfectly stunning as this total bitch of a cow bag? Could I? Could I?
Her personal trainer – the author of the book, is also, wait for it; her HUSBAND. (I am struggling to decide if this would be totally amazing or totally annoying..) Another perfect specimen, his smug mug staring straight out of the book at me, judging me. He patronisingly informs me, page by page that I’m doing it all wrong. I eat too many carbs, drink too much wine and caffeine, indulge in too much chocolate, don’t get enough sleep and definitely don’t exercise enough. He, like my friend and my daughter, had a point. Damn.
Then there is a chapter which covers all of the exercises I need to be doing everyday if I want to look as good as the impossibly beautiful slag face who was demonstrating them. She was busting out the press ups and squats with seemingly little effort and a look of serenity on her face. Her contour told me these moves were not a problem for her. Her core strength is so good she no doubt sleeps in the plank position. When I attempted these exercises the following day, I caught sight of myself mid-lunge in the living room mirror. With the image of the perfect cover girl splayed across the book in front of me, I was unprepared when I saw what resembled a sweaty uncooked Richmond sausage in a wig and a tight vest staring back at me, aghast.
Let me ask you this.. Have you ever seen a sausage cry?
But the night before, I was full of enthusiasm and optimism. ‘I can do this!’ I thought as I scraped the last of the chocolate mousse from the sides of the pot. ’This is totes achievable. In 14 days I will be just like her!’
Except I forgot to take in to account that she is about 22 years old. Her womb is still a ‘show home’ with everything in its place and yet to be occupied. I however, am nearly 36 and after 2 kids have taken on the ‘lived in’ look quite literally.
The next chapter informed me of what I would be eating over the 14 days. The good news was that I would be eating 5 meals a day and so unlikely to be hungry. The not so good news? It was the most dismally depressing menu I’ve ever seen.
Breakfast – A piece of chicken and some asparagus.
Mid morning snack – A small piece of chicken.
Lunch – A piece of chicken and an avocado.
Mid afternoon snack – Some turkey. Or chicken.
Dinner – An egg.
There was very little variation on the theme over the remaining 13 days.
Don’t get me wrong, I like a bit of chicken. But I find once a week is a good chicken:Louise ratio. Four times a day, every day seems a little ‘poultry heavy’ if you ask me??
I very quickly came to the conclusion that this diet – even if it was only 14 days, was never going to work for me. There was no way I was going to be able to face a plain poached chicken breast at 7am in the morning let alone at virtually every other meal time. Just no.
So, I vowed to try the exercises and stick to my usual diet -which is actually not too bad if I take out wine, beer, tea, cheese, crisps and chocolate mousse… the rest is home cooked and veggie-full !
Now we are back to the crying sausage.
Here’s how it went:
Day 1. I completed the exercises.
Day 2. I needed help to put my own coat on.
Day 3. Walking normally was still tricky.
Day 4. I did the exercises with my two children
in the way joining in.
Day 5. Too much hassle i’ll do it tomorrow…
That was the end of my attempt to get totally toned in 14 days.
The bulge is still an issue but I have come to accept that I will never be the stunning model in the book. Not in 14 days. Not ever.
- Whilst my children are young I’m not going to get enough beauty sleep.
- And for that reason I cannot give up caffeine.
- Or wine.
- I don’t find planks and lunges that easy to do with two children climbing all over me.
- I’m not 22.
- I’m not even 32 damn it
- and I can’t afford botox.
- Lastly, I’m not going to eat 5 chicken breasts in one day, everyday, ever.
So to conclude this post I’m going to pour a large glass of something alcoholic and raise a toast to the magnificent underwear manufacturers who really CAN help you have a flat tummy – not in 14 days but straight away! And not a single chicken is harmed in the process.