This is a stomach.
This is also a stomach.
Whether they're ripped, pudgy, lean, jiggly, toned, soft, hard, squishy, or anything else -- a stomach is a stomach, and they're pretty damn important.
We've reached a point in time that's incredibly conducive to pinpointing and highlighting flaws in every and any parts of our bodies.
In fact, studies have shown that approximately 91% of American women are dissatisfied with the way their bodies look.
And a 2009 body image study from Glamour Magazine revealed that 75% of women surveyed felt they were "too fat," while more than 60% said they were unhappy with the appearance of their stomach.
Another study found that, over the past decade, young men have reported increased levels of body dissatisfaction and experienced greater pressure to achieve a toned, muscular physique.
But here's the thing: stomachs, like every other part of our bodies, are unique to each and everyone of us.
And like other parts of our bodies, our stomachs serve important purposes beyond aesthetics.
1. Stomachs protect your immune system.
2. They kill off harmful microbes in certain foods.
3. Stomachs work to break down food and aid in your digestion process.
4. They store food (about a liter and a half at a time).
5. And hold food (for about two to five hours).
6. Stomachs produce substances necessary for the absorption of vitamin B12.
7. They regenerate their lining every few days to keep from internal injury.
8. They help induce burps and remove excess air after the ingestion of food or drink.
And lots, lots more.
So next time you decide to get critical of your tummy (which, you know, happens), be sure to keep in mind all that it's capable of, regardless of appearance.
Because like your eyebrows, your toes, your freckles, and your hair, your stomach is unique to only you.
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