You’ve Changed!

When I was helping plan a 30-year college sorority reunion a few years back, one of my “sisters” declined the invitation saying that she had gained 30 pounds since college and didn’t feel good about herself. She was ashamed of her body, she said. Thirty pounds in thirty years. I assured her that we had all gained at least that much or more since we were 18 years old. It happens.

The human body was built to change. We all know this. A healthy infant grows almost overnight the first year; and for the rest of the human’s life, changes are inevitable. For adult women, it seems, our bodies change with every birthday. Those changes are quite normal and part of the Intelligent Design process. Females are born with more fat cells in their hips, thighs, and buttocks. These fat cells are to help support the child-bearing years that usually occur between our 20s and into upper 30s or early 40s. As a woman gains (or even maintains) weight during those years, the fat is usually distributed in those lower regions of her body. However, after 40 and beyond, hormone changes make the weight distribution shift to her upper belly—an area that some doctors call the “meno-pot.” (It’s the only “change” that seems to defy gravity.) In other words, from menopause and beyond, a woman’s shape may change from pear-shaped to apple-shaped without her permission. Men also get the bulge so don’t go and think it’s just a girl thing.

Dr. Pamela Peeke, who contributes to calls the rolls of fat spilling over the top of the pants as we get older as a Muffin Top. “Yep, like the top of a muffin rising from its paper wrapper, your rolls of fat are spilling over the top of the pants. Oprah coined the term ‘Dunlap Syndrome’—‘That’s when your stomach done lap over your jeans.’”[i] By the way, Dr. Peeke suggests smart eating, toning, and exercise to melt the muffin top and there’s no “secret” formula that can target that bulge.

Gravity is also a body-changer. We know this, too. Breasts, skin, and bellies start to pull down as the years go by. It’s during these aging years that many women develop negative feelings about their bodies—more than ever in their lives. This is where I am now. Gravity. Age. Change. And the process seems to be speeding up every day.

We can ask ourselves, “What about my body can I change?” If the answers are losing weight, toning up, changing my hair or makeup, then the solutions are obvious and positive. But, if the answers call for severe measures, like risky and expensive surgery, then further prayer and soul-searching needs to be applied before a drastic decision is made—especially if the goal is to create the “perfect body.”

Besides hormonal and age changes, there are other factors that can determine a woman’s feelings about her own body. Sexual abuse has been around for ages and is still rampant in every culture. In most cases these abuses can drastically affect a person’s assessment of her (or his) own body. I’ll unpack this more thoroughly later.

Obsession with outward appearance is just one of the traps we fall into. Be aware that men and women can become prey. But, our falling for the lies coming from media and inside our own heads about our bodies, isn’t the point of this post or the focus of this series. This is about letting one thing, in this first section about our appearances, define who we are and how much we’re worth. This is about widening our scopes and trying to see ourselves totally as having value in the eyes of the Creator. In fact, in all cases He went to a lot of trouble to bring each one of us into the world just as we are. No mistakes. No junk.



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