Since being peri-menopausal, you may have noticed that last years comfy pants are not that comfy anymore and maybe it’s time for an underwear update?
A new swimsuit may be first on my summer shopping list this year as I’ve noticed how much my body shape has changed.
During the transition to menopause, our bodies start storing fat differently. Think about puberty and pregnancy, the body is just doing her job, be that prepare for pro-creation, feeding a baby or protecting your bones, heart and brain as we move through menopause.
As we live in a society that (still) favours, thin, young, wide-eyed beauties (and now thick lipped- WTF?), it can cause a lot of inner conflicts and may be very difficult to accept that our bodies are changing.
It’s very frustrating when you eat the same and move the same as you have done for years and still the weight just creeps us and nothing you do seems to work. Thing is, due to the lack of oestrogen and change in metabolism, what you did before is not the same as your body needs now. Your body had a very different function before menopause, it was also a time you needed higher amounts of energy.
Now in our late 40’s and 50’s we’re still pushing and functioning as in our 20s and 30’s with careers, family, household and other stressors and pressures added to the mix and expect to look and feel like we did when younger. (remember the late nights, junk food, working and then going out again)
Biologically our bodies need less energy from food as our metabolisms start slowing down and our stamina changes, all which I believe should be embraced.
Yes weight gain can be upsetting, unhealthy (if out of control and combined with unhealthy lifestyle), frustrating and make us feel ‘less than’, unsexy, old and invisible.
I want to cry BS to that.
There’s more to life than worry about your butt size when society needs your wisdom, charm, experience and no-nonsense attitude!
I want to share five important factors to consider about menopause weight gain and how adopting a different attitude and approach could be healthier than punishing yourself with restrictive diets and chasing an ideal number.
When looking in the mirror, the first thing we see are all the faults (I know I do!) Grey dry hair, long stray hair on my chin, more cellulite than when I last looked, a belly I can cradle in both hands and OMG the bingo wings. Yup, all in about 3 seconds.
Next time you notice the habits of your mind rambling off all your imperfections just STOP!
Breathe, then name three things about your body that you genuinely appreciate. Sit with that for a moment, how does it feel? Where do you feel that appreciation in your body? This is not some cognitive positive thinking exercise, really feel it and be with that appreciation. It’s very easy to overlook the good that is right in front of us at times.
2. Change the narrative
Bodies change, that’s what bodies do. Get out of your head and into the body to really connect with that fact.
Can you relate to this changing body differently? Your companion and friend? Seeing the belly fat as protection, a softness, a feminine comfort?
Love is accepting, treating kindly and with respect. Do you love yourself? Can you treat yourself and your body with kindness? Can the words you speak be soft, gentle and caring?
Maybe the fat around your middle has nothing to do with the physical body but more about how you feel about yourself? How much you care for yourself, your whole body and the narrative around it.
Just try it, it may feel fake to start out with, but what do you have to lose?
Softly whisper words like, love, care, protection, feminine, soft to yourself and see how you feel?
3. Body respect
Changing the narrative doesn’t mean giving up on the physical care your body needs.
Nourishing food, movement, less stress, a shower and hair cut.
The more you respect your body and yourself, the better you will care for her. Who knows, maybe with this extra love, affection and attention your body will respond in a way that surprises you.
You may feel lighter, more content and more confident and that radiance will shine through you like a beacon of light that makes people stop and stare. Not because you lost 5kg, but because you really care, for yourself and THAT shows!
What happens when we scream at our children, nagging them and punishing them every time they do or say something that pisses us off? They recoil, live in fear and probably do the opposite of what we beg of them. What happens we ask from a place of contentment, calm, humour, love and affection?
Can you apply the same narrative to your changing body?
4. Mindful eating
I have a confession, I’m so bored of food. Lockdown food fatigue and so looking forward to eating in someone else’s house or going out for a lovely meal.
Thing is we still have to eat and bored or not, it’s the attitude we bring to our meals that are as important as the ingredients.
You could eat the best food in the world, but if it’s eaten while stressed, angry or watching TV you can just as well eat pot noodles every day.
Bringing mindful awareness to your meals can help to reignite the simple pleasure of eating the most basic foods. Noticing the texture, smell and even being grateful for where it comes from and how many hands it passed to get to your plate.
Bringing mindfulness to eating will also help to get in touch with the physical sensations in your body. Maybe you’re full, but you’re eating beyond that, maybe you’re not hungry in the first place but you’re eating anyway, maybe you’re still hungry, but the ‘rules’ say you shouldn’t have more calories, so you stop, overriding the body’s wisdom and internal cues.
How can you bring mindfulness to your next meal or cup of tea?
5. Don’t stop moving!
Since moving from London, I am walking a third of what I used too. The result? I’m less active, by default of not living in the city and using the car more.
I make movement a deliberate intention for every day. Stand while watching TV, dance when a fab song is playing, walk the dog, go for a run, do my plank and push-ups – every day.
Not to lose weight, but to feel strong, fit, connect with my body, checking in how she’s feeling? A bit stiff some days, a bit tired others, incredible energetic also some days.
We lose muscle mass as we age, our metabolism slows down, lack of oestrogen makes us less supple and our joints get a bit stiff. So no wonder that dynamic yoga class is a bit of an eyesore these days.
Find what works for you and inject love into body movement and feel the benefit of living in your body every day!
Like a racehorse, she (your body) needs exercise, rest, good nutrition, love, fresh air, massages and a good hairbrush. (and new shoes!) but unlike a retired racehorse, you are just starting a new phase of life, one to be embraced, cherished and feel excited about. You don’t need the body of a 29-year-old to FEEL good about yourself, your life and the future!
It’s not about getting into shape – you have a shape, it’s perfect for you, you are beautiful and perfect as you are.
It’s not about changing shape, it’s about embracing the shape you have and with that comes, respect, care, compassion and love.
If you can’t who will?
If you’re struggling to cope with the physical and emotional changes in peri-menopause and it’s affecting the quality of your life, then I’ve got your back.
I can help you mindfully navigate these challenges with tools, skills and support so that you can transition through this phase with ease and grace, feeling fricking amazing and be the best version of you even in the midst of a hormonal storm.
Get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!