The definition of a muffin top, quoting from Urban Dictionary is: “When your love handles burst out over the top of your tight pants, giving your lower back the appearance of a muffin.”
Or my personal favourite: “A word used to describe one whose fat is desperately trying to escape the suffocation from tight jeans resulting in the fat tumbling over.”
My husband and I celebrated our ten year anniversary in May. We first met in 1994 in secondary school but it wasn’t until we were 17 that I began to really notice him. As shy teenagers, we spent a year of gazing from afar before we fell in love during the last few months of our final year.
And so our love story truly began. Oh bleurgh, sorry, that was too gushy! Let me just say that after eight years of long distance and hard work my now hubby got down on bended knee to propose with the New York skyline as our backdrop. It was perfect, the ring was perfect and we had the perfect wedding day in November last year (Perfect in our eyes in anyway). Photographed by the awesome Erica Irvine Photography.
In planning our wedding, I knew one thing for sure. I wanted to look the most exquisite, elegant and naturally beautiful that I have ever, or will ever look. Big expectations huh? I’ve actually always been a little insecure of my looks, especially my body so my reasoning for this aspiration came down to this:
The number of times that I had seen other people’s wedding photographs, including my parents’ from 30 years ago, and one of the threads that linked them all was how the bride saw herself in them. Of course, we all float through the day, deliriously happy and in love but once the newlywed glow wears off, a new perspective is realised. Some reminisce about how they felt at their most beautiful that day, others (my mother for one) nitpick over every detail of their veil/flowers/hair or how their dress wasn’t ‘the one’. I yearned to be the first scenario. I too often critique photos of myself, tearing them apart body part by body part, blemish and wrinkle…and it gets tiring! I was committed to the marriage, to spending the rest of my life with my man and our wedding was the one day that I knew I would treasure, always.
I am aware that I am not now, nor ever have been obese. I’m usually a size 10-12 but I fluctuate. Three months before the big day, I returned to Weight Watchers. I’d first joined in 2006 when I lost almost a stone. Yes, I understand it isn’t much when others in the group are faced with the long struggle to lose three, four or five stone. And yes, I often felt my cheeks blush when I queued up to be weighed, somewhat guilty and feeling like the others there might think I was mocking the programme. But, I wanted to lose weight as much as them and importantly be healthy in doing so.
It didn’t take long to lose those golden ten pounds for the wedding day and I felt fantastic. I had the dress of my dreams, my hair styled exactly the way I like and make up done to perfection. And good news- I love how I looked on that day so mission accomplished.
Once the excitement of the big day died down, my new hubby and I settled into a married life which wasn’t so different to before. We knew everything about each other and we already lived together BUT being a newlywed reignited the passion, intensified the intimacy and confirmed our commitment to each other. We felt closer than ever.
Which may be part of the reason I am writing a blog about matrimonial muffin tops…if you are married you can see where I am going with this. Once married, we wanted to be together all of the time, we stayed in on weekends cuddling on the sofa with a DVD, a bottle of red, a tub of pringles, maybe some chocolate too…or if we were feeling like a special treat, some cheese and crackers…yum yum. And this would happen after the chinese takeaway or a slap up meal that I slaved over all afternoon.
As a newly wedded wife, we tend to nest and strive to be the good wife. We clean, we iron, we cook, we even start baking more because we know that our beloved has a penchant for scones and shortbread. Nigella Lawson hasn’t a look in!
The downfall of this in my case is: Hubby is 6ft 1″ athletic body and I am 5ft 4″ (almost) erm…not athletic body.
I bake for him but I also eat some, I cook delicious dinners which I also eat, and admittedly the portion sizes aren’t in keeping with the above mentioned ratio. We treat ourselves to wine and nibbles, to desserts and treats. No longer faced with the panic of everyone looking at the bride on the wedding day, I also eat without guilt or fear.
And as for exercise, ha! I’ve been too busy training in domesticity to think about any other physical activity. Hence the last time I weighed myself I had returned to my pre-wedding figure. That was several months ago and the eating hasn’t abated. I have very slowly felt my belly swell (and not because of a baby before anyone suggests it), feeling it more prominently when I sit down in my ever-tighter jeans. In recognition of the growing muffin top being ‘suffocated’ whilst trying to ‘escape’, I have been promising myself for three weeks to go to a Zumba class. I haven’t made it yet.
Even though I see my bigger belly, my muffin top, my chubbier arms, the strangest thing has happened. It doesn’t bother me that much. For someone who has been quite obsessive over her looks since teenage years, it feels bizarre. It’s refreshing and a relief. It’s not a case of ‘letting myself go’ now that I’m married because I still care about what my husband thinks of me, that he still finds me attractive.
Then why the new relaxed attitude? I’m not sure. I would like to lose a few pounds to feel a little healthier again but I like the fact that there is no looming deadline clouding over me. I will go to a Zumba class (soon!), I will bake less (sorry Mr Bryden) and I will look forward to knowing there is no pressure to lose weight but to just be. And as our first anniversary approaches, I will delight in the joy of being married to a wonderful man who loves me no matter how many jam doughnuts I can eat in one day (for the record it was 4).
So here’s to the matrimonial muffin top- a physical sign of contentment, wedded bliss and baking ability!