A couple of years ago I put on my favorite black pants (you know, the ones that look good with everything, casual or dressy) and realized they just didn’t fit the same. Too tight, pinching at the waist.
I’m sure this has happened to you before—it certainly wasn’t my first go ’round with jeans getting tight. Of course you don’t need an aging body for that to happen… but these were the stretchy, elastic-waist kind. One of the reasons they were such a go-to!
I was like, WTF??!
And it wasn’t just pants… my shirts suddenly began to pull across the chest, the hems riding up higher and higher. Blouses that used to fall to my hips now hung a couple of inches higher.
Suddenly I had the big breasts I’d longed for since age 15. And, it seemed, shoulders to match.
How did I not notice that my body was slowly morphing?
I could think of a few explanations—including a phenomenon that I have dubbed ‘the boyfriend effect.’ Or maybe, I reasoned, my clothes were shrinking in these Mexican washing machines.
But, deep down I knew, I just KNEW, that this was more than simply a wake-up call to cut back on the muffins for a while.
This was about hormones, and a new post-menopausal body.
EMBRACING A NEW LIFE PHASE
My very last period had occurred a few years earlier—right after my youngest daughter graduated from college and just days before my other daughter’s wedding. (The irony of that was not lost on me… although it took almost a year to realize I was officially done.)
That was it. No more cramps, no more PMS, no more wondering if my moon would show up during some big event.
Sure, relief…. but also, grief.
I’d left my Maiden years and my Mother years behind. I was embarking on that third phase of a woman’s life: the Crone years.
When I started coaching women as a life a wellness coach several years back, I was in the throes of menopause, transitioning to Crone. I realized that this is a powerful time of spiritual awakening, an opportunity for transformation and I wanted to share that potential with others. To rewrite the cultural story about aging.
My message was, and still is, about ageless living—looking and feeling radiant and beautiful no matter what year you were born!
As in, yes let’s take care of ourselves so we are strong, flexible and glowing… AND, let’s enjoy and accept what is. Let’s stop trying to diet and botox our way back into our 18-year-old bodies.
And then… a couple of years post menopause, here I was, totally freaking out because …. FAT!
REWIRING FROM THE CULTURAL MESSAGES
If you’re a woman who grew up in western culture you likely were inundated with messages about the horrors of being fat. Our culture glorifies thinness—especially for women. (And that actually really pisses me off! But it’s a subject for another blog.)
As an impressionable adolescent I drank the Kool-Aid, and I yo-yo dieted my way through my teenage years.
And, despite even after I learned how ridiculous it is, for the past 4+ decades the number one criteria with which I’ve measured the viability of every outfit is, ‘does it make me look fat?’
I don’t want to be that woman! I know better.
But the narrative is planted so deeply in my brain wiring that I must devote Intention and Attention on a daily basis to change it.
And… I DO know it’s possible. With a different mindset I can make peace with grandma boobs, I can look at my rounder body and see a wise goddess… instead of a paragon to be ostracized because she doesn’t look like a waif.
And it’s not just weight that—well, was weighing on me about this body I’d known so intimately for over half a century.
There were other changes too. Muscles that groaned at me upon awakening. The way getting up from a meditation cushion became an exercise in pain avoidance. Joints and bones that are less resilient and yell at me after too much walking on working out.
We don’t want to just give in as say, ‘oh, that’s just the way it is now…”
Yet, at the same time denial and resistance don’t work. After all, what we resist persists.
For me, it’s about accepting what is, while making choices that feel authentically good from the inside out. Not just the sort of choices that feel good because they satisfy cravings or artificially fill a void. (Hello, chocolate chip cookie with my coffee!)
This is a tricky balance—this being in acceptance…. yet also taking action steps and making daily choices that support living agelessly, with radiance, vitality and vibrant health.
SO, HOW DO YOU MAKE PEACE WITH AN AGING BODY?
1. Acknowledge and Accept what is.
This always has to be the first step before any lasting change can happen. Stop fighting it, take a breath and simply allow that this is what is.
2. Be present with whatever emotion arises with this acknowledgment.
Most of us do anything we can to avoid unpleasant emotions. It seems to make sense – they hurt! Yet, when allow ourselves to be with that emotion, feeling it in the BODY rather than amping up the panicked and painful thoughts, then it passes through in an amazingly short time.
3. Forgive yourself for any actions from the past.
It’s much harder to be present and make choices from the present point of power when you are caught up in recriminations and regrets! Let them go. Begin again.
4. Interrupt unhelpful thought loops.
When you catch yourself starting to bemoan your wrinkles, your belly rolls, or your aching joints, make a conscious decision to turn your attention to something that IS working, or that you are grateful for. Or, simply turn your thoughts to another subject completely.
5. Give yourself a compliment every day.
If you can’t quite (yet) bring yourself to celebrate and love your Goddess-like crone body, look for aspects of yourself that you truly to like. It could be your eyes or hair, it could be your cooking prowess, or perhaps your intelligence. Look for little and big things and say something nice to yourself. Bonus points if it’s out loud!
6. Remember who you really Are.
We are naturally so identified with our bodies. And yet, we are so much more than that. Stillness, meditation, inspirational reading are all activities that can tune you back into your true Divinity. Remember that this body is just a vehicle that moves you through this current life. You HAVE a body (and they are wonderful vehicles). But you ARE much more than a body.
If you’re able to engage these tips, you’ll find yourself naturally making healthier choices on a day-to-day basis. I, for one, set an intention to be more mindful of each and every one of these.
Now, a couple of years after that initial despair at the way my favorite clothes weren’t fitting quite right, things have begun to shift again. I stopped hating what is, and it began to get easier to make choices that supported my healthy wellbeing. This has led to a natural releasing of some of that extra weight.
If you’re noticing that it’s difficult for you to engage with any of the suggestions above, I’ve got a resource for you.
Maybe you don’t want to to accept yourself and your body right now, and you just don’t understand how you can possible interrupt unhelpful thought loops.
If this is the case for you, I’d like to help. Email me for a complimentary Weight Release Assessment. We’ll talk for 30-45 minutes and help you understand at least three you may be making in your weight loss efforts and the #1 thing you can do to change that.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, simply comment below with your ideas or questions.