22 Jun Body Image During Perimenopause – Eternal Battle With Yourself (Part i)
Mirror mirror on the wall, do you like what you see at all?
This picture is from a photoshoot I call “This is 45”. It was a shoot I did for myself to embrace my body as it is now with all its aches, pains, perceived flaws, and all. It was eye-opening to see myself quite literary through someone else’s lens.
This topic has been a very personal one for me for many decades. I have struggled with body dysmorphia in my late twenties and continued to have body image issues throughout my 30’s and 40’s. The hormonal changes that I’m experiencing in perimenopause have added an unexpected layer to the struggle. In the fitness industry, the physical body carries a high value. It is part of your business card and what many perceive more important than knowledge or experience. It is very easy to get carried away in trying to “compete” with the look of others. And that gets very exhausting. Body image issues are not something you just overcome, it’s something you learn to identify and manage. And by manage I mean, you learn to be kind to your body and slowly but surely, the negative thoughts become less and the positive ones take the lead. What made me take a turn to more self-acceptance was having a baby at 41. Nothing like giving birth in your 40s to mess with your body 🙂 Having a daughter and wanting her to grow up loving herself and her body, has made me take a very hard and tough look at how I see myself. I made the choice to never refer to myself or others in a physical kind of way. Try it, you will be amazed how often we say things that refer to the body and not in a positive way. You telling yourself that you are fat or need to be on a diet is not what you or your child needs to hear. It will inadvertently make them think about their own body. I became very aware of it and that is really what made me change my way of thinking. My daughter is now almost 5 years old and it’s been a struggle to accept the “new” me but I have. This body has been through a lot: I have incurred quite a few injuries in the military that make some days not very fun and have definitely made me take a step back on how I can workout and function. But overall, this body has been a good one, I have experienced a lot and it has given me the opportunity to have my amazing daughter. So it’s pretty awesome! It’s all about perspective.
Check out Part II of this post to read more about body image.
Stay curious, unafraid, and armed with knowledge
Dr. Maria Luque