By following the advice in this post you will feel more confident challenging society’s expectations around midlife women and learn how to embrace your curves with this empowering guide on body confidence and self-love
Have you ever stared into a mirror, scrutinizing every curve, every line, every crease, and found them wanting? Has society’s unrelenting pursuit of the “perfect” body left you feeling less than, simply because your midlife curves don’t conform to its narrow definition of beauty? As a midlife woman are you tired of myths and misconceptions about weight gain and aging that only fuel self-doubt?
Let’s take a moment. Breathe. Exhale the myths, the self-judgment, the expectations. Now, let’s get down to the business of debunking, and more importantly, embracing your curves and your power.
The Dreaded Midlife Spread
You’ve probably heard it before: “It’s all downhill after 40!” As if crossing the threshold of midlife is an automatic sentence to weight gain and loss of shape. But who wrote this rule, and why do we buy into it?
We change as we age, just as a river alters its course over time, carving new paths and creating unique landscapes. But does that make the river less beautiful, less powerful, less worthy? No. Then why should the natural changes of your body make you less?
It’s true that hormonal changes during perimenopause can influence midlife women’s body shape and weight. But it’s also true that with a different approach to eating, regular physical activity, especially the heavy lifting kind, and a dose of self-acceptance, you can navigate these changes with grace. Remember, your worth is not a slave to the numbers on a scale or a measuring tape.
Embrace Your Curves, Yes Really
Consider the violin. It’s not a straight, rigid, perfect rectangle. It’s a curved, elegant, beautiful instrument. And it’s these very curves that allow it to create such sweet, resonant music. Shouldn’t you apply the same logic to your body? Yes.
Now, picture Ashley Graham, a plus-sized model who has shattered boundaries in the fashion industry? She’s graced the covers of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, and Elle, proving that beauty and desirability are not confined to a single body type.
And let’s not forget about Chrissy Metz, an exceptional actress known for her role in “This Is Us.” She uses her platform to advocate for body positivity and self-love, demonstrating that success and self-worth are not tied to the number on the scale.
These women stand as shining examples that embracing our curves is not just possible, but empowering.
Make Health – Not size – Your Goal in Midlife
Is it possible to be healthy and curvy? Absolutely! Health isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept, and it certainly isn’t measured by your dress size. It’s about being active, eating nutritious food, drinking plenty of water, getting enough quality sleep and managing stress – all things that significanlty contribute to your overall well-being.
But here’s the catch. How often do you mistake punishing regimes for healthy practices? How often do you equate starving with dieting, exhaustion with exercise? Is this what you call health?
Redefine your vision of health. Make it about nourishment, not deprivation. About movement that brings joy, not just sweat. About mental peace, not just physical strength. The journey to embracing your curves and breaking free from society’s myths isn’t a switch that flips overnight. It’s a revolution, and like all revolutions, it starts within.
First, you’ll need to untangle your self-worth from your appearance. Easier said than done, right? especially if you got a lot of attention and good fortune from it before. But ask yourself this: would you value a loved one any less if they gained some weight? Of course not. Then why do we apply such harsh standards to ourselves?
Next, let’s start celebrating your body for what it does, not just how it looks.
The Science Behind What Happens To Our Bodies In Midlife
Imagine your body as a vast, dynamic ecosystem. Each organ, each cell, each molecule, plays an integral part in maintaining a harmonious balance. As you enter midlife, this ecosystem undergoes a profound transformation. This isn’t a sign of decay but a natural evolution, akin to the changing seasons.
Estrogen, akin to the life-giving rains in your body’s ecosystem, decreases during menopause. This hormone, which plays a crucial role in regulating your reproductive cycle, also influences where your body stores fat. With its reduction, your body may store more fat around the abdomen rather than the hips and thighs, hence the emergence of the so-called “midlife spread.” And it is hard to have this new found friend as a spread. I have always been naturally skinny and when I reached my mid 40s and started to notice this ‘spread’ on my body, I freaked. It didn’t help that my clothes didn’t fit me the way they had done previously. It really grated on my self esteem and how I saw myself. I understand. It isn’t an easy switch mentally.
Simultaneously, your metabolism, your system’s natural wildfire, starts to burn a little slower. This can lead to weight gain if your eating and exercise habits remain unchanged. Moreover, muscle mass naturally decreases with age, and since muscle burns more calories than fat, this can further contribute to weight gain. Focussing on building muscle therefore is really key to boosting your metabolism during this time.
Lift heavy sh*t! Seriously, I have seen massive gains with this. Word of caution. This doesn’t change overnight but if you start lifting weights at least three times a week you’ll start to notice a difference at 4 weeks, some bigger changes at 8 weeks and definitely a shift by week 12. You have to keep at it though to maintain that muscle and hence your metabolic base rate.
Understanding these changes can empower you to adapt your lifestyle while maintaining a compassionate, accepting attitude towards your body. Remember, this is a natural process, not a personal failing.
Steps You Can Take Towards Self-Love And Good Health
The path to embracing your curves and boosting your health as a midlife woman is not a one-time leap, but a series of small, consistent steps. Here’s where to start:
1. Reframe Your Mindset
Remember that your self-worth is not defined by your size or shape. Embrace the wisdom, experience, and strength that come with midlife. From midlife women to a woman in her prime for example.
2. Prioritize Balanced Nutrition
Focus on a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains. These foods provide the nutrients your body needs to thrive during midlife and beyond. I’ve found that upping my protein has really helped stave off those cravings.
3. Stay Active (especially if you don’t feel like it)
Find a form of exercise you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be a gruelling gym workout, dancing, swimming, walking, yoga, can all do wonders. Whatever floats your boat, though I will say that lifting heavy sh*t works wonders for your bone health, motivates you to eat more protein which helps at this life stage and speeds up the BIG M for Metabolism. It also works wonders on your brain and the feel good chemicals in there. We’re talking GABA, BDNF, Serotonin, Dopamine and so on.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness can help you tune into your body’s signals and foster self-compassion. Consider mindful eating, meditation, or simply taking a few minutes each day to sit quietly and breathe. I meditate a lot, I have worked with hundreds of clients as their meditation coach and this is such a powerful tool, even done for 5-8 minutes per day in one sitting. It is life transforming because it is the quickest way to turn down the volume in your head.
5. Find a Positive Community
Surround yourself with positive influences and like-minded people. This could be friends who uplift you, support groups, or even online communities like here at Voyage & Soap, that promote body positivity and health at every size.
Being in midlife is not a curse, nor a downhill slide. It’s a season of transformation, growth, and newfound wisdom. The changes in your body are a testament to your journey, a symbol of the chapters you’ve lived.
So, as you stand before the mirror again, let your gaze soften. Let the sharp edges of society’s expectations fade away. Look at your reflection and see the power, the beauty, the resilience.
As a river changes its course, as an ecosystem adapts, so have you. And just like them, you are a force of nature—breathtaking, unstoppable, and utterly beautiful in your uniqueness. Embrace it. Own it. For the true measure of a woman is not in her waist size, but in the strength of her spirit and the depth of her love.
Celebrate Your Curves As A Form Of Rebellion, Why Not?
In a world that often champions unrealistic beauty standards, choosing to embrace you, just as you are is an act of rebellion. It is an affirmation that you are more than your physical appearance, that your worth is intrinsic and not subject to the whims of society’s expectations and fashions.
But this rebellion is not about antagonism; it’s about ACCEPTANCE. It’s about fostering an environment of respect, appreciation, and love for all bodies, in all their diverse shapes and sizes.
Visibility matters. In our media-saturated world, the images you see daily shape your perceptions of normalcy, beauty, and worth. And that’s why it’s crucial to see more midlife women, with their unique and beautiful bodies, represented in the media.
It’s inspiring to see ambitious midlife women across entertainment, the arts, business and politics, heck even royalty, thriving and not fading away. Whether you admire or critique them, they stand strong under media scrutiny, serving as unintentional but positive role models, particularly in their careers, despite their critics. I for one wouldn’t find it easy to be in the media spotlight the way these ladies are.
Seek out movies, books, social media accounts that represent diverse body types. Support brands that use models of all sizes and ages. Representation, in all its forms, not only challenges society’s norms but also reinforces your decision to embrace your own body, just as you are.
Remember, change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a journey, often marked by small victories and occasional setbacks. But every step forward you make, no matter how small, will fuel your momentum of change.
Midlife is not a crisis to be feared, nor a decline to be mourned.
My Nugget of Wisdom
Drawing from the wisdom of Brene Brown, who beautifully expressed, “You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness,” I’ve found the courage to embrace my midlife body, even the ever growing belly spread which I am forever trying to tame.
Navigating aging and body changes can be tough, but when I truly understand that my worth isn’t tied to society’s beauty standards, it becomes liberating. We’ve been conditioned to hustle for our worthiness, to conform to certain body ideals.
But here’s a new perspective: own your story, embrace your body as it evolves. This shift in mindset isn’t simple or easy; it’s a journey. Discard the myths around weight gain, and instead, invest in your physical and mental health, in the absolute worthiness of your unique self. And I promise, embracing this journey of self-love will become one of the most empowering decisions you’ll ever make.
Grab my Free Guide to Lose Your Meno-Belly
If you’re going through perimenopause and your mind is going crazy with all the changes happening in your body then go grab your FREE GUIDE to Banishing the Menobelly which is filled with lots of tips on how to manage our favourite perimenopause symptom – yup you got it, the ever expanding belly!