What Life Was Like When I Briefly Had Abs

February 15, 2018  |  
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� John Lee
Model Release
Teenage Girl Doing Sit-ups

For a brief stint in my mid-twenties, I had abs. I had that nice, pronounced line down the center of my stomach and the little squares around it. I mean, it was my twenties, so we all know I didn’t have to work quite as hard for them then. My body would forgive me for a night of having a whole bottle of wine and a few items from my neighborhood taco truck. In fact, my body seemed to forget those incidents rather quickly. But still, I did put in some effort to have them. I was acutely aware of the fact that I had them. And I had a love/hate relationship with them. Oddly enough, I got them on accident. I was trying veganism for the first time and had gotten into running at the same time. One day, I woke up, and there were the abs. And while I hadn’t aimed to have them, once I had them, I felt like some precious jewel had fallen in my lap that I had to hold onto, whether I wanted to or not. Here is what it was like when I briefly had abs.

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I felt pressure to show them off

Once I had them, I didn’t want them to go to waste. I felt pressure to buy crop tops and wear things that showed off my abs. If I didn’t show off my abs, I felt like I wanted to tell people, “Hey. I have abs under here!”


It sparked a lot of discussions

When I wore bathing suits or changed around my friends, my abs sparked a big discussion about body talk. Everyone started talking about their own stomachs, what they wanted to change about their bodies, and so on. I didn’t love that my abs made my friends bring up body-negative talk.

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Every morning, I checked they were still there

Every morning, I’d pull up my shirt the moment I got in front of the mirror, making sure my abs were still there. I felt like I was in some weird, Freaky Friday, body-swapping movie and just wanted to confirm this was really happening.

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I felt extra bad about eating one “bad” thing

I never felt great about eating a burger when I didn’t have abs, but I felt particularly bad about it when I did have abs—as if I was squandering some opportunity.

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I was obsessed with BMs

When you have abs, being the tiniest bit constipated covers them up. So I was fixated on having regular bowel movements, tailoring my diet and schedule to them.


I felt weird/selfish around pregnant women

When I was around pregnant friends, they would talk about how it’ll be, “A long time until my body looks like that again” and how they felt they’d lost control over their stomach. I actually felt rather silly and conceited about putting so much into having a taught stomach when these women were giving up their vanity to produce life.


I felt a little douchey

I actually felt more insecure removing my t-shirt at pool parties and the beach when I had abs than when I didn’t. I felt like I was showing off each time I did it.


I attracted super fit men

Men who were into protein shakes and tracking their workouts in their journals started to talk to me more, thinking I was part of their little club.

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I was constantly flexing those muscles

I was constantly aware of my ab muscles throughout the day, flexing them every couple of minutes. It was honestly exhausting.

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I felt pressure to keep them

Once I had them, I felt a lot of pressure to keep them. It’s kind of like when you come into power and rather than enjoy it, you just worry about losing it.


I checked on them throughout the day

Throughout the day, when I saw my reflection in a mirror, window, or really clean TV set, I’d quickly lift up my shirt to make sure my abs were still there.

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I revolved my day around the gym

I was one of those annoying people who requested everyone to push back the group lunch date because it interfered with my regular gym time.


I was impossible to dine out with

The only way I could dine out with friends was if I chose the restaurant, but the truth was that most restaurants I chose weren’t appealing to anyone else. So I’d let my friends choose, and then I’d order something really boring like a chicken breast and a side of string beans.

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I read about how to keep them every day

My reading material became infiltrated with articles on how to get abs, keep abs, intensify abs, and so on. There are such better things I could have been reading about.

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Nobody noticed that much

Ultimately, I put in all of that effort and nobody really realized that I had abs. I mean, sure, if I were in a bathing suit it sparked a little discussion, but at the end of the day, it didn’t change much except for how much I enjoyed life (not enough).

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