What did you see when you looked in the mirror today?
If the words that come to mind are “too much ____” or “not _____ enough”, take a step back and try to view yourself from a new, body-positive perspective.
Menopause can be a challenging time for many women who find that their body is changing in unexpected ways. Exercise, diet, and other habits you’ve previously relied on to reach healthy weight goals and care for yourself, may now seem fruitless in delivering their usual results. That may be because hormonal imbalances during this phase of life can cause the body to distribute fat differently.
Fat can accumulate around the midsection, and metabolism can slow down. This can feel frustrating, and at times depressing, especially when ads and social media constantly share examples of what we should (and shouldn’t) look like.
Now is the time for a new outlook.
This is the moment to stop allowing society’s less-than-positive beauty standards fill us with insecurities about our bodies.
But, that’s easier said than done. We know how easy it is to slip into self-judgement mode throughout menopause, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are three tips to help you find your way back to loving your reflection in the mirror:
- Embrace your body as it is today.
We often think of menopause as something to worry about — a sign that our bodies are aging and we’re losing our youth. While it’s true our bodies are shifting, it’s important to remember that these changes aren’t necessarily bad! According to a 2019 study, postmenopausal women were more satisfied with their bodies and ended up paying less attention to specific body parts.
Menopause is a natural part of who we are and should be viewed more positively by society at large and ourselves. This change of life isn’t a sign of weakness but rather a mark of strength. It’s a time to celebrate a life well lived!
- Treat yourself with kindness and compassion.
The media often perpetuates unrealistic beauty standards, making us feel like we don’t measure up — especially during menopause. Instead of comparing yourself to an image that’s been digitally enhanced or altered, remind yourself of all the amazing things your body has done for you over the years and access that touchpoint of gratitude. This will help shift your perspective from one of judgement to one of self-love and acceptance.
- Decide what health and wellness means to you.
We all have a unique relationship with fitness and wellness. And we may think that exercise only works if we lose weight or see physical results. This isn’t necessarily true! Moving your body can help improve your emotional health, physical strength, and have other benefits that may not manifest as a physical change.
Hormonal imbalances can make it difficult to lose weight, so it’s important to shift our mindset about physical activity. Focus on how it makes you feel rather than what your body looks like. Being healthy doesn’t have to be about working out every day or having a gym membership. Instead, consider experimenting with gentler forms of movement such as yoga, tai chi, or walking outdoors for fresh air and sunshine — each can help improve your mood during this transitional time.
But, if you’re looking for therapies to help with menopause or thyroid-related weight gain, it’s worth consulting a doctor to find out what works best for your body. They may recommend weight management medications or bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
BHRT can restore hormone levels and improve menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. And since a 2021 study found a connection between body image and these symptoms, therapies like BHRT can help boost overall body positivity during menopause.
It isn’t about being perfect; it’s about being your best, most balanced self, physically and emotionally. Compounding pharmacies like Belmar Pharmacy offer specifically tailored medications for menopause and other hormone-related issues, based on your prescriber’s advice.
The journey through menopause is a unique one that looks different for everyone — and it’s important to remember that no matter what changes our bodies go through during this time, there’s still plenty of goodness to relish in every stage! If there’s a day when you don’t feel overjoyed or positive about your body, that’s okay, too. Consider taking a body neutrality approach and just being present in the moment without judgement or expectations.
When it comes to menopause and body positivity, the key is to focus on what makes you feel good and treat yourself with love and kindness. Be gentle with yourself. Find activities that bring joy, surround yourself with supportive people, and don’t forget to celebrate your body for all that it is — an extraordinary vessel that brought you to this exact moment in your life. Embrace all of it!