Learn to Make Peace with Your Aging Body

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?’

Ugh.

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.

Sound familiar?

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 sarah@sarahgracecoach.com. Or, simply comment below with your ideas or questions.

 

How to Avoid Meltdowns and Hissy fits

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

I had a mini meltdown yesterday and I’m not especially proud of it. I like to think I’m in control most of the time, and the mantra I use to keep a check on my natural warrior-like tendencies is ‘I am calm, confident, and in control’. This works pretty well most of the time.

If I feel the need to shout at other drivers it’s always with the window closed, and I keep an eye on my moods to make sure they’re not going to impact others in a negative way.

Aren’t I good? Well, not so much. Yesterday the stars conspired against me; I lost my cool and exploded over a small but ill-advised remark made by my hapless husband.

Yikes. He retreated with the dogs to another part of the house and left me to stew. Which I did…. for about 5 steaming minutes…and then remorse set in.

I spent the rest of the day feeling guilty and that I had let myself down. What had happened?

First World Problems

Get the hankies out.

OK so my car started breaking down on the way to a doctor’s appointment for which I was already late, I was in a hurry and forgot to eat, I couldn’t find a parking place and had to run, was late, and then the doctor wanted me to come back later, and despite rapidly lowering blood sugar I didn’t stop to pick up lunch on the way home because, you know, car trouble, and someone else was waiting for me there, and once home I tried to order food from my favorite delivery service, and the line wasn’t working, and then I tried ordering from a not so favorite pizza delivery and they weren’t answering, and I couldn’t prepare anything because my kitchen is currently being torn apart for remodeling.

Enter husband who makes unhelpful suggestion when I’m in a state of enhanced agitation and low blood sugar. Bless his heart.

Not one of these #firstworldproblems on its own would normally even make me blink, but when they all came at once I found I couldn’t cope.

Rescue Remedy in a book

This morning, still smarting from my failure to behave as an enlightened human being, I read something in a book by Michael Neill, super coach extraordinaire, which totally explained my lapse of civility. He helpfully suggested what I can do in the future to avoid it happening again. I want to share.

Neill says that in recovery there is an acronym called H.A.L.T., which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. When you notice yourself experiencing any one of these feelings, then HALT what you’re doing and take care of yourself.

I was feeling ALL of them yesterday when I lashed out. Hungry—yep, angry—yep.   lonely—yep, in that I didn’t feel supported, and tired—tick, tick, tick, tick. Now I’m not one to scrimp on self-care, but this just all got out of hand before I knew I was in dangerous territory.

Eat Something!

Neill says that when you notice any of these symptoms of stress to simply stop and take stock. Whatever you’re doing isn’t going to go well when you’re in any of these states.

I could have stopped and eaten, rested, taken a deep breath, and canceled some of those appointments. Reminded myself to relax. Get a taxi.  But mainly, eat something before blood sugar drops.

So the simple advice is to be aware of what is going on in your body before it’s too late. What do you need? How can you take care of yourself? Do it now.

This is going to be a new mantra for me. H.A.L.T. Lesson learned. Stop that hissy-fit in its tracks. The remorse and guilt are not worth it.

Have you had a meltdown due to hunger, anger, loneliness, or fatigue?

Try H.A.L.T. next time and let me know how it works.

margaretnashcoach.com

Why Is It So Hard to Change Habits and Make Healthy Choices?

Have you ever resolved to start eating more veggies, or quit eating so much sugar? Or to start going to that exercise class, get up earlier, or simply to choose more healthy options in your life? And then…either it never happens, or after a few days you slowly slide back to your old wicked ways?

This pattern of behavior is all too common—but, before you start beating yourself up about your so-called failure, you need to understand a few things. There are good reasons, based on brain science, that we stay with behaviors that are familiar—even when we don’t like the results.

Our brains were designed to be as efficient as possible, and even though we now know that new neural pathways can be created at any age, it requires a lot of energy on your brain’s part to create a new neural pathway and then to actually use it.

Your brain would much prefer to travel down the same old pathways, which means repeating the same habits and behaviors day after day, and year after year.

This can be a real obstacle when attempting to release some extra weight, or just to get healthier. Luckily there is a solution that is easy and accessible!

EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is an easy-to-learn energy psychology modality that will help to rewire your brain, and it’s proven to reduce food cravings – for good!

This simple technique involves finger tapping on specific meridian points while talking aloud. A few rounds of tapping will reduce your stress hormones, allowing you to think more clearly and make wiser choices around food and anything else in your life.

A regular tapping practice can improve your self-confidence and body image, as well as release old emotional issues that cause you to hold onto extra weight and unhelpful habits.

Even if you don’t need or want to lose any weight, the tapping will help you to feel good about yourself and to WANT to make choices that support your health and well-being.

You can learn a lot more about how and why this works at my upcoming class on Tuesday, March 19th, 4-5:30 PM at Lifepath.

If you’ve never done EFT before, you’ll learn how to tap, more about how it helps with making healthy choices, and we’ll all tap together. You’ll leave knowing how to use this amazing tool in your daily life.

Can’t come to the class? Personalized EFT Tapping sessions will bring you even swifter results. Enjoy significantly reduced rates here in San Miguel.

Contact me, sarah@sarahgracecoach.com, to book your Ageless Health and Vitality Package – three personalized EFT coaching sessions for just 2500 pesos (normally $295 USD). You’ll gain new motivation and clarity for making choices to support your own radiant health and vitality. Or, book a single laser session for 1000 pesos.