Yes it sucks!
You see a reflection of yourself and can’t believe it’s you. On top of feeling overwhelmed, hot and bothered, you struggle to accept this changing body.
Nothing you do seems to stop the weight from creeping up.
Peri-menopause starts anytime from your late 30’s and early 40’s, as your hormones start fluctuating and one of the (many) things that happen to women is weight gain.
Our bodies are changing and this can be hard to get our heads around, especially when we still feel so young and spritely in our minds (uhum)
But then there’s also the second blow of how we beat ourselves up, minute after minute, day after day, year after year!
‘I’m too fat, my legs are too big, my hair looks shit, my nose needs fixing, THIS tummy that I can hold in BOTH hands, my arse, my arms, no wonder no one respects me..’ and the STORY goes on and on.
Maybe you’re so used to practising this kind of self-talk, that you’ve become really good at it, like a habit that sticks.
What would it be like to have a different conversation with yourself? A different habit of being with your body?
Ok, so you don’t like your body. What now?
Losing weight must be the answer to liking your body, right? WRONG!
Thing is, there’s so much more to this picture.
Maybe you’ve gone through a really stressful time.
Maybe your thyroid is underactive and maybe you’re just eating a little bit more than what your body needs.
Could be that two glasses of wine has turned into three and the bi-weekly 5k run has dwindled to nothing.
Maybe the years of yo-yo dieting and weight cycling has contributed to your metabolism being on the slow side and nothing you do seems to help.
Stress, lack of sleep, little movement, too many cookies, longing for love and touch, DNA and hormones all have a role to play!
Maybe nothing in your life has changed, except that your body is preparing for the menopause.
So, how do you feel good about yourself in this body you don’t recognise as your own?
Here I share seven things you can do to feel different about your body that doesn’t involve any restrictions or punishments.
- It’s a head thing, not a butt thing
- Notice the body bashing gremlin and give her something else to do for a while
- Your body confidence starts in your thinking. Just because someone is a size 8, doesn’t mean they’re happy in their bodies, chances are she’s still finding fault with something
- Stand up straight – posture is confidence. Notice how your posture changes depending on your mood.
- Wear clothes that are comfortable, suits your body and accentuate your assets
- Yes, it may be time to ditch the skinny jeans (why do they call them that?)
- Dresses are your friend
- Accessorise with fab statement jewellery
- Wear colours that suit you (get your colours done, black does not suit everyone)
- Move your body in a way that feels good.
- Put on some music and sway your hips, move your arms and touch your toes. You’re losing muscle mass, and maybe you don’t feel like doing sprints in the back garden, but that does not mean you have to stop moving your wonderful body and shake what your mama gave you
- Body loving-kindness and gratitude
- It’s so easy to focus on the negative, the bad, the wrong that we forget about the good, beautiful and blessings that are in our lives right now
- Our brains are hard-wired to stick to negative and harsh thoughts and beliefs, practicing gratitude is the antidote to that negativity.
- Notice all the things you appreciate about your body, even if it’s ONE thing, but do it, daily!
- Body respect
- Honour your hunger and your fullness. Soldiering on in the quest for weight loss on a hungry tummy is bad news for everyone. A grumpy, hot and hungry woman is not a great look, even if you’re a size 6. On the flip side, eating beyond your physical fullness is also counterproductive.
- Eating more than your physical body needs will lead to weight gain, feeling bloated, stuck with heartburn and belching, also not a great look. This can also exacerbate your peri-menopausal symptoms.
- A varied diet consisting of foods that are nourishing, tasty, wholesome and keep your blood sugar balanced is key to smooth out those hormonal fluctuations.
- Building new habits
- Start small. You want to practice mindfulness, start with 5 minutes. You want to cut out caffeine, reduce by one cup. Want to get fit? Start by walking 10 minutes and incrementally increase your speed and time.
- Practising mindfulness helps us to recognise thought patterns and negative self-talk. It creates a little space to observe our thinking and an opportunity to choose differently how we will react.
- Every time you notice that you’re being mean to your body, kindly steer awareness back to your feet, breath or another anchor in your body to steady and ground yourself.
You only have this one body, she will be with you till your last breath. Changing the narrative is such an act of self-care and love. You may not love her, but treat her with respect, because heaven knows as a female body she has strength and abilities that should be celebrated every day.
What is one small thing you can do today, to build a healthier relationship with your body during peri-menopause and beyond?