I’ve struggled with my weight since when I was younger but I slimmed down considerably later on. Unknowingly I became paranoid about eating, in fear of being labelled “fat” again. Now in my 50s, I wish I could say that I have completely accepted my body, but truth be told, I’m still getting there. What can I do to cope with it and accept my ageing body?
Sarah J. – Portland, Maine (USA)
Answer by Anne Poirier – The Body Joyful Coach
We live in a society that is obsessed with “looking good and younger“, so no wonder why you feel the pressure. As a matter of fact, over 90% of us have “I hate my body!” moments every day, and the fact that 80% of our thoughts repeat day after day, makes for a lot of negative thoughts about our body image. It was only when I made these 3 radical decisions: to throw my scale away for good; vow never to diet again, and reject diet culture and society’s “thin ideal” that I began to not hate my body.
A way to get your self-esteem back is starting to gracefully accept and appreciate your body from a different perspective. It has brought you through all of your experiences and has been there throughout your life. It has been part of your greatest achievements and successes and also a part of your lowest of lows. The grief, sadness, failures and illnesses have all been experienced through your individual physical body. Take a look at it through the lens of your experiences and start a body gratitude practice. Think all about the wonderful things it can do for you.
Speak to yourself in a kind and compassionate voice. Honour your own self-care. When you are tired, take a nap if you can. When you are hungry, eat, and when you’re sad, cry, journal, or call a friend for support. You will never be any younger than you are today. How about we start to honour and value every day that we get to live in this body, rather than see it as something that needs to be fixed? Because it doesn’t. It just wants you to hear it, value it and enjoy it. Your body deserves love. Choose to live a different story, a new one. A body neutral one. One where you start noticing and appreciating the things your body does for you. You deserve to treat yourself the same way you would treat the 5-year-old you because she is you and you are enough.