How Is YOUR Relationship with Your Body?
I’m not sure what your relationship with your body is like, but if you are anything like me… it’s been a dysfunctional roller coaster. I’ve berated myself for years, seeing only flaws, and thinking the negative self-talk was the motivation I needed to ‘whip’ myself back into shape. It’s a never-ending battle.
As women over 40, you would think we have this figured out by now, right? Wrong. It’s a complicated, multi-faceted issue involving our mindset, emotions and societal standards. As women, we’ve grown up with unrealistic societal ideals on how our bodies should look. We’ve been told to cover up or hide so we don’t attract unwanted attention. The idea of celebrating our bodies for their beauty, strength, and miraculous ability to bring life into the world has not been instilled in us. Our bodies can also hold emotion, and trauma, which can further complicate the journey. I’ve recently started releasing trauma from my body, through Somatic Therapy. I am SO excited to share more about that below. It’s been nothing short of game-changing!
You can find my most recent menopause update here.
The Bikini That Sparked The Conversation…
I ordered this beautiful one-shoulder ruffle bikini by Johanna Ortiz and had no idea that it was business in the front and a party in the back. When I put it on in the comfort of my own home (which I highly recommend by the way – don’t ever try swimsuits on in the store), I immediately noticed the lack of fabric on the backside. With only one week until our trip to the Middle East, I really wanted a new swimsuit to take on the trip that I felt good in, but was running out of time.
I sat there looking in the mirror for what seemed like an eternity. Looking in the front feeling very confident, and then turning around and looking in the back feeling very insecure, straining my neck to really get a good close look.
I decided that I didn’t have time to order a new suit and I would bring it anyway. I told myself I will just deal with it. But how could I? A 48- year-old woman with her butt hanging out? What would people think?
Well, I did wear it. I wore it to float in the amazing Dead Sea. And, you know what… I wasn’t embarrassed or disgusted, I actually felt kind of rebellious and free!
My Body Image Issues
Fast forward a few months, and I was planning another trip, this time to California. Again, the same issue came up. I started to better understand that I have some major issues with my relationship with my body…
This is when I realized that I basically berate myself every single time I look in the mirror. EVERY time. I see skin laxity that looks like cellulite and feel disgust. I see tons of loose skin around my upper tummy and feel discouraged. I see love handles on my new post-menopause body that were not there before and feel defeated. I see flabby triceps and make myself broken promises of how I’m going to do ALL the things to get them whipped into shape. And, every time I don’t deliver on those promises, I beat myself up even more. It’s a vicious and horrible cycle. And, it’s EVERY SINGLE DAY! These negative words and thoughts have been around so long, I didn’t even really notice they were there. It was like breathing. On the rare occasion I did notice them, I told myself that these thoughts are the “fuel” I need to get myself back on track. And, what track is that exactly?? Even in the height of my Tracy Anderson days, when I weighed 108 pounds and was complete muscle, I still saw flaws.
In other words, that day will NEVER come… and on a regular basis, I was setting myself up for failure and disappointment.
A Post to Spark Conversation
In an effort to start the conversation around body love, I decided to not only post this bikini, but post a video of me wearing the bikini…on INSTAGRAM. Yikes! It’s a LOT of booty and it’s way out of my comfort zone. And, I’m certainly not suggesting you go out and buy a skimpy bathing suit. I created this post as a symbol of my intention to have a healthier, more loving relationship with my body moving forward. I created this post to possibly help some of you who may be struggling with your own relationship with your body. Do you look in the mirror and see only flaws like I did? Or do you truly love your body??
A few things that have helped me begin my healing journey that I think might be able to help you:
1) Noticing your thoughts about your body
2) Reframing those thoughts, focusing instead on the positive aspects of your body. For example, you might look in the mirror and say, “You look gorgeous today!” or ” I love my eyes and legs!” (You don’t have to say these things aloud. ;))
3) Look into Somatic Therapy. The body, like the mind, holds trauma. Somatic Therapy can help you safely release that trauma. I’ve been doing this therapy for weeks and it’s AMAZING. I discovered that a lot of the hate I felt towards my body, stemmed from shame and sexual trauma. Like I said above, it’s very complex.
Also, we recently started a challenge over on Instagram to inspire body positivity. If you feel called, and brave… I hope you will post a picture using the hashtag #ILoveMyBody2022 on Instagram. Your courage will no doubt inspire other women!
A New Relationship With My Body
Now, instead of choosing to see the flaws every time I look in the mirror, I’m choosing to see a strong, healthy body that has taken me to amazing places all around the world, helped me achieve seemingly impossible physical feats like running marathons, and even created two precious lives! Instead of constantly shaming and criticizing my body, I’m embracing it. I’m working on getting healthier mentally. I exercise because I want to nourish my body, not because I ‘have to’ or ‘need to’. For the last decade, I’ve been on a self-healing, self-love journey that is so difficult and complex. I understand now that my body is so closely tied to both. So, I share this post and these pictures today, NOT to solicit positive words from other women … or to suggest you let it all hang out… but as a symbol of my commitment to LOVE my body more… in all of its forms… even this new menopause shape!
I also wanted to share this so that maybe some of you are inspired to re-examine your own complex relationship to your body and think about the way you see and talk to yourself.
If you’d like to read more from our, We Need to Talk About Series, you can find additional thought-provoking topics here.
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