A Wealth of Women’s Health: The Myth of The Six-Pack Abs

Woman holding a flower

I know so many physically strong women, including myself, and none of us have a “six-pack.” We range in age from 36 to 80; are various sizes, shapes, and colors; and all of us can lift heavy boxes and squirming children or animals without issue. We can put our bags in the overhead compartment and carry our suitcases up and down the subway stairs. Our abdominal muscles are strong, and most of us do some Pilates or Yoga in addition to walking. Most importantly, we feel great!

Why don’t any of us have “six-pack abs”? Because they are a myth.

Don’t people have six pack abs?

“Now Lynda,” you may be saying, “I see photos of celebrities with defined abs, and even know a few people who have them.”

It’s true. I used to train some of those very celebrities when they were on holiday in Turks and Caicos, and I can tell you that very few of them maintain that look all year long. Basically, even genetically gifted humans who are getting paid to look a certain way have to maintain a very (read uncomfortably) low body fat level and low fluid levels to have very defined abs, and that is unsustainable and unhealthy. And, you can have that look while still having a weak core!

Wait, obvious abs aren’t always functionally strong?

That’s right! If you see someone’s muscles, that’s because they have trained their muscles separately for hypertrophy (to get bigger), and because they have very little body fat and fluid. This training is more about looks than function since our muscles tend to work together as a whole group, doing different things at the same time to keep us going.

A softer belly is better for breathing, proper diaphragm movement, and vagus nerve relaxation. Women are taught from a very young age to pull their stomachs in and squeeze their butts all the time, which can cause lower back pain, reduced breathing, and a change in gait (how we walk).

We’re also taught to hate our body fat. Especially our bellies.

Your belly is not the enemy

How many articles have you read that blame you for not having “six-pack abs?”

“You can’t out-train a bad diet.”

“Carbs and sugar cause belly bloat.”

“Do this workout to shred your midsection.”

“Get rid of that layer of fat.”

Guess what? Humans, and especially women, need body fat. And our bodies run on sugar. That’s right, my friend, sugar is necessary for our body’s proper functioning, especially our brains!

Want to know what contributes the most to fat storage in the abdomen? Stress! Not your fast food, not your bread, not dessert, not lack of exercise, but stress.

You see, for most of human history, bad times meant no food or water. So, once we start to stress out about traffic, or bills, or family, or anything, we produce cortisol, and our bodies immediately start to hoard fat to hold us over in the lean times coming.

So, your stress about your body shape is really not helping the situation.

Your shape is your shape, embrace it!

The great paradox here is that once you accept yourself and your shape, your stress levels will drop and you’ll produce less cortisol, hoarding less fat.

Do enjoyable exercise

Life is too short to keep forcing yourself to do things you hate (which is the definition of willpower). Do things that you enjoy and that make you feel good because that is sustainable. Breathe deep in your belly, laugh heartily from your belly, and move in ways that feel good.

If you’re not sure about form, positioning, or what exercises to do, I encourage you to use a Pilates, Fitness, or Yoga teacher or trainer for a session or two. Many people (myself included) will work with you online and share the video, so you can check yourself moving forward.

So, there you have it. You don’t need to aspire to the mythical six-pack, you can have a very strong core without it, at any shape or size, and enjoying life and eating again will help you reduce stress and release any extra fat your body is hoarding.

Don’t you feel better now?

Connect with Lynda on The Wellness Universe.

All information, content, and material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. The information supplied through or on this page, or by any representative or agent of The Wellness Universe, is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice. Health-related information provided through this website is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat health problems or to prescribe any medical devices or other remedies. The Wellness Universe reserves the right to remove, edit, move or close any content item for any reason, including, but not limited to, comments that are in violation of the laws and regulations formed pursuant to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. None of the posts and articles on The Wellness Universe page may be reprinted without express written permission.

WU 4 Book ADs

With over 250 independent reviews see how our self-care books are helping thousands of people around the world. Digital and paperback books are available now.

The WU Lounge AD

Self-development, self-care, and inspirational classes and sessions by Wellness Universe World Changer instructors who support your total well-being.

 Visit The Wellness Universe Lounge today!

The Wellness Universe is here to serve your best well-being. If you are experiencing anxiety, grief, overwhelm, guilt, anger, or seeking ways to cope and get help for stress, relationships, parenting, or any other issue during this challenging time, we have wonderful resources for you to connect with. Our WU Best Help members are offering reduced rates, sliding scale payment options, and even pro-bono sessions.
WU Best Help



Leave a Reply