I just switched my closet from winter clothes to spring clothes and I have noticed that a few of my shirts are tighter and shorter…and it’s not my dryer! I have become “thicker” everywhere. I went out clothes shopping and am at that critical point where I am just on the cusp between sizes.
If I would lose a few pounds, I know I could comfortably wear the smaller size. But to lose weight will require my lifestyle to become more of a focus in my life. I already eat good quality food, I enjoy running and go to group fitness classes, I practice mindfulness and actively work to manage my stress, I (mostly) sleep 7 hours a night… I already do focus on my lifestyle – and am not willing to add in any more time. Working out and prepping good quality food is not my full-time job!
In all the discussion about accepting our bodies is a flat space that I think we need to acknowledge…the process of letting our previous bodies go and accepting our midlife body is a challenging process – it has been for myself and the many people with whom I work. Can we have a *real conversation* about what this has been like?
Over the last few years, my weight has continued to creep up. With working more, being busier with my boys, traveling more for work and for fun…having more social occasions that involve good wine and cheese pairings (and the snacks that go with it). I have my version of a midlife lifestyle.
Based on my priorities in my work and personal life, I am not willing to change much. My lifestyle is not my full-time job. Which leaves me with a choice:
If you need to focus that much on your diet and lifestyle to stay the same weight and size, your world is too small.
Knowing that there are biological reasons that explain why my body is changing doesn’t make it easy to “accept”. We live in a diet-centric culture:
Magazines do not adequately portray what do REAL mid-life bodies (and skin) look like. The diet industry tempts us with empty promises – could I really make my body change? Our co-workers who do the keto diet leave us with doubt – should I really be eating this jar of overnight oats? Is this bag of carrots really okay? Can I really eat these grapes? (Spoiler alert – yes, they are okay!).
We need to accept our bodies where they are right now, and we need to provide our bodies with self-care not abuse. I If I only evaluate the success of my lifestyle efforts by my weight and size, I am getting stuck focusing on an outcome that I do not have total influence over. I am also missing out on the benefits of my self-care that I am gaining.
Accepting our changing bodies is not easy when we live in a diet-centric culture.
Accepting your changing body is a process. Here is where I can focus my health and lifestyle energy. I can:
As you go through the process of accepting your changing midlife body, ask yourself – how can you be a healthier version of yourself at *this* age and stage of your life?