I have memories of my mums beige girdles. They looked like contraptions. Whenever she travelled abroad, replacing her old girdles was always a priority. As a child, I would often wonder the point of it all. I remember asking her why she couldn’t just NOT wear them and she told me that she needed them to hold her belly in.
Fast forward to not long after I had my first child, when he was only a few months old. I went to visit my cousin and we got talking about how to get my belly flat. She said, “oh just go and get yourself a girdle!” I instantly started visualising my mother struggling to get the contraption on and off and I was horrified! Surely, that will not be my story?
I told my cousin I wasn’t considering that option that I was going for the option that I could live with. Here’s the thing, I wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror and not mind what I saw. The thought of having to tuck my abdomen into a steel cage every time I had to leave the house was just, just….no! No! No! No!
I started doing a little bit of research, looking at celebrities with flat stomachs and children. I didn’t bother looking at the average woman on the street because a lot had tummies. Celebrities employ the services of fitness trainers, nutritionists and health coaches to cover the 3 areas one needs to cover to lose weight. It never really occurred to me then that many of them also probably had liposuction. As far as I was concerned, they were proof that it was possible to have a child and get your stomach back down again and I was going to look at those who achieved it instead of those who didn’t.
When I was younger back at home in Nigeria, in my parents generation, poor people were thin, fat people were regarded as being affluent. The more prosperous you were, the bigger you could become. Being fat was a sign of “good living”. What kind of surprised me when I moved to the UK is, it’s almost like the opposite over here. The educated with more means, live better because they eat better quality food, prioritise quality food over quantity and they exercise regularly.
A lot has changed in Africa since my parents generation, there is more awareness and the health and fitness industry is growing. However, so is the fast food industry, urbanisation and western style living, all are contributing to increasing levels of obesity and obesity related illnesses in Africa. According to the WHO, “most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.” Scary!
Back to the girdle..
I didn’t buy one in the end. I decided to stick to my original plan.
I discovered that to keep belly fat at a minimum, I had to control my food consumption. Over the years, I’ve learnt how to balance my energy requirements to keep me at a near constant weight maintenance level.
20years have gone by since the day my cousin advised me to get a girdle. I no longer feel that girdles, waist trainers, support underwear or whatever they are called nowadays are yuck. If you like to wear them to have a smooth silhouette and look your best, then by all means do. Better to leave the house feeling good about yourself and looking great than to be worried about your belly sticking out.