Bit of a brain offload today, I’ve been pondering over this topic for a while, and personally struggling with it quite significantly. Sometimes the best way to sort something out in your head is to write it all down, and 9 times out of 10, there are others who feel/have felt the same way. Please don’t read this post expecting a ‘how to’ guide on self acceptance, I haven’t really got that far yet! It’s more of a ramble about my thoughts and questioning things, but maybe somebody will relate!
When it comes to our ~bodies~ whether your 13 or 33 I feel like we are constantly wanting to better ourselves, in whatever sense that might be. We always want a bit more muscle, to be more toned, to be a bit slimmer, a little bit thicker, whatever your preference may be it seems far and few between that we ever stop and think “oh, im perfectly happy with the way I am right now”. There’s always a “but”, “yeah I’ve been working out a lot, but I just want to be a little more (insert preference)”.
If it stays as a healthy balance (and not a destructive obsession), maybe it’s a good thing that we are always looking forward to what more we can do rather than standing still. But what about when you get a bit older, just a few more years in most cases, and then you look back and think “I can’t believe I was punishing myself over (whatever it was), when now I look back I would love to have the body again!”. What then? Do you punish the 22 year old you for not appreciating what they had, and then go on to punish your 26 year old self for looking different to before? And then what about in another few years, will the 28 year old you look back and think “I can’t believe I was so obsessed with being the 22 year old me when the 26 year old me looked great”? Does it ever end?
I have found myself in a weird place where my ~body~ is just different to how it used to be, and its frustrating. I’m eating better than I ever have done, going to the gym more than I ever have before, I have a PT, and yet I just can’t get myself back to my “old” figure. But at the end of the day I’m getting older, we are growing up, and maybe it isn’t that I’ve “let myself go”, but just that our bodies are changing and they aren’t what they used to be, and may never be that way again. And although I am pretty sure I will look back in a few more years and think “you idiot, you looked fine!”, it’s hard not to punish yourself in the moment.
No matter the logic, it’s hard to accept when your body looks different to the one you grew up with. It’s hard when certain styles of clothes you used to feel great in, don’t look so good anymore. You have to learn how to dress again and what suits you. For the past year I’ve been wearing things trying to minimize the size of my boobs for example, well, NEWS FLASH – they aren’t going anywhere! So now I’m trying to work out a style where I can embrace them rather than hide them, It’s EXHAUSTING.
There is so much on body positivity at the moment which I think is fantastic, but when your not entirely positive about your own body, it’s easy to punish yourself for that, too. I always try to think of it this way, there is not one friend that I have, not one person I know, that I ever see and think something like “their arms look fat”, and I’m sure they aren’t thinking that about me either… so why do I constantly think that of myself and put myself through that?
My main struggle is photos, sometimes I will go out feeling great about myself and then somebody takes a picture, I see it back and I feel confused, what I look like on the picture isn’t at all how I thought I would look, I look bigger, the angles that used to work for me absolutely don’t anymore. However, I sometimes go back to that same picture a few weeks later and I like it again! It’s a very weird time…
So, heres a few facts that I recently learnt while I was researching bits and bobs on this topic;
- I’m not sure if this is specific to women, but we reach the peak of out metabolic rate (calorie burning) in our early 20’s, and then it starts to slow down again from there
- At the same time your metabolic rate starts to decline, your hormones also change (yay), and what goes hand in hand with that is an increase in fat distribution to naturally fatty areas such as the thighs, hips and bust
- Because of your hormones changing, its normal for acne or general skin issues to rear their ugly head again! The spots we thought we were finally over from teen years are likely to come back again between 21 and 30. Yippee!
- Between 25 and 30 you might start to notice cellulite appearing, this is because your estrogen begins to decrease, which in turn means there is a decrease in circulation. Less circulation means less oxygen and nutrients getting to where they need to go, less oxygen to these places means less collagen production. We have already said about fat distribution increasing in naturally fatty areas – so these fat cells start pushing through the collagen (which has decreased), and then HELLO cellulite!
It’s really easy to beat yourself up about your body, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I did! But as you get older your body is changing, and there isn’t much we can do to stop that – however hard it is to accept. It’s important not to give up on a healthy diet and good exercise routine and blame everything on getting older, but maybe the more we can start to accept the way we look NOW, rather than how we want to look, or how we used to look – the better.
Love, Chelsea xxx
The images throughout this post are a reflection, they are all images that at the time, I looked at the had a negative body image about myself. Now I look back, I was absolutely fine! One in particular was only from this April, and by June I didn’t mind the picture anymore!