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Muffins and a Muffin Top

By Brooke Benton

I showered this morning and hurried into my closet to dress, freezing. I grabbed essentials and pulled them on without thought. Suddenly, I paused with body mind dissonance and a head shake of disbelief as I checked and rechecked the tag on my jeans. Yes, same size. But they couldn’t button—they weren’t even close.

I’m nothing if not persistent when faced with bodily dilemma, and so I took a deep breath and then held it fast while I stretched the two buttons across the divide. As I exhaled, so did all my fat—my stretch marks, lines of baby history: miscarriages, births, heparin shots; and other things too: the indulgence of baked goods, the joy of food. I put on a thick A-line sweater to hide the spill over and fervently hoped this was shrinkage caused by the dryer, and that the waistband will give by this afternoon. At least some. Pretty please I beg of you, Universe.

As I write this, the sweetness of blueberry muffins lingers from breakfast and the smell hangs in the kitchen. The snow tucks us up into our house, all the way to the back door, daring us to leave. My little boy nickers against my side, sippy locked into his mouth, his arms around my neck while I try and type. I’m balancing: early school mornings while baking, moving while snowing, typing while holding. I never could do all of this in my twenties. And maybe that’s the point.

I’m not who I used to be, and I can’t fit into her body. My 36 plus years are exploding out of it—too much for this skin.

Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself if the dryer theory doesn’t hold up.

How do you grow old gracefully?

What’s up with the middle age spread?

How are you handling the changes you can’t control with humor?

How do you balance what’s important with what is temporary?

About Brooke Benton

(Blog Team) is attempting inner om with this writing stuff. Proud to claim four loud children, a patient husband and a fat black cat as family, she feels blessed to be their mommy-- their giver of kisses and baker of cookies. She is ever seeking a good novel and wishing for the sand between her toes, palm trees, the ocean.

12 thoughts on “Muffins and a Muffin Top”

  1. I'm asking the very same question almost daily… I'll stay tuned for your thoughts and comments. by the way, i miss you

  2. This is beautifully written.
    Humor is like the spoon full of sugar… sweetening that sour dose of reality that pounces uninvited. You might not be able to balance all that you do without that muffin top: embrace it.
    You got this.

  3. Did you post this on my 40th birthday as a little gift? Because I loved it. I have so many thoughts on the subject (especially today!)
    Mostly, how I think turning 40 is a gift! An opportunity to turn a page, start a new chapter, and let some of the competitiveness, the stress, the worrying about what others think of me, the keeping up — to burn away, just a little more. Oh, how I want that! What do I really want? To continually evolve, to age gracefully, to become MORE like still water. I think that's the gift of age.
    At least, it's what I hope. I'm 40 today, so here goes nothin'! Love you, Brooke.

  4. I am working more diligently to take care of my body. Nine years ago I was diagnosed with lupus and the attendant struggles caused me to make some important changes. However, after a few years of diligence I was complacent until another wake-up call reminded me that it wasn't just about taking my medication daily or avoiding stress, I also needed to actively take care of myself. That meant analyzing my eating habits and up the fresh fruits and veggies. It also meant that I needed to begin exercising faithfully. And I'm reaping the benefits of it. I feel lots better and I notice quickly when I'm not doing good things for myself and my body.

    As for the middle age stuff there are things that have changed for me that I never experienced in my 20s.

    1) My body changed and widened after my 5th baby.
    2) I crave sugar and treats in ways that I've never craved before.
    3) I am better at multi-tasking and managing the responsibilities I have.

    My challenge is to also appreciate the growth and strides I've made and the way my body reflects my experiences while still working to keep my body healthy and strong without obsessing over it.

  5. I am aging right there along with you sista! I don't like it either and often find myself beating myself about it. Our bodies, food, exercise, kids, husbands, callings, cleaning and life are so many things to worry about. I think that is why we are given the word of wisdom, not only to help us with our food consumption, but to help us realize moderation in ALL things is good. This is not just meaning food. It means all things.
    So as you look at your life, your eating habits, exercise habits, sleeping habits and so forth, that you can moderate them to good healthy levels. THEN when you figure out how to moderate them, let your spirit take control NOT your body. Too many times we let our body be the boss and not our spirit. So chin up and think positive. Even if it is hard!

  6. If only I just had a muffin top and not a full set of winter tires!

    I'm OK with aging — except for the occasional panic attack of good days gone by forever.

  7. I'm closing in on 37, and I don't think I've been in better shape since I was 18. A renewed interest in exercise, coupled with the joy of moving in connection to music have helped a good bit. Granted, my wife and I are a bit unusual: haven't been able to have kids, both still in school (= luxury of time but not money), lots of experience with making good food choices because of her training. I heard the other day, "a six-pack is made in the kitchen, not the gym" and that's been motivating, though I'll never get close to that. We are both aging, with the inevitable toll that brings. We try to walk a fine line between accepting ourselves imperfectly as we are, wanting to improve, and recognizing that ultimately it's a battle we resolve to lose not without a fight, but gracefully.

  8. Recently turned 40 too, and caught sight of myself naked in the mirror. The sight that would have sent me into deep depression 10 years ago somehow didn't faze me. I liked it. Liked that this body has seen me through five babies and a nephrectomy. It's a miracle, all that expanding and contracting and healing and work. I too have jeans that don't fit anymore, and amazingly, I don't mind!

  9. Love your comment annegb!

    And this is a fun post, despite the reminder of my own lovely muffin (5 kids too!, almost 46).

    My son is now doing online high school and to get him off his rear I nagged my husband until he decided to do P90X with him. I decided to join too.

    Seeing the before shot was scary for me…and in 60 days I haven't lost a pound despite healthy eating. (I have sleep problems and probably thyroid issues). But I feel good and will keep at it (I had been exercising pretty regularly for 2 years).

    I have often contemplated on the unfairness of my increased cooking ability concurrent with my decreased eating capacity.

  10. *sigh* I am just over 50 and I am starting to feel it physically and so far I'm generally o.k. with it. I am really feeling it in all the other ways and I am rocking it! Everybody complains about bodies slowing down, getting bigger in unwanted ways, joints stiffening but I am here to tell you that if I had known aging was this good, I'd have done it a long time ago! I am so much smarter, better, and did I mention funnier? than I ever thought I could be. It's only getting better! Youth sucks. Worship the gifts of age!


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