How I am Dealing with Body Changes
Whether you are in your 30’s, just hitting puberty, pregnant, or going through menopause, your body constantly goes through many physical changes – different shapes, sizes, and forms. Some changes are subtle while others are lot more apparent; body changes also looks different for everyone. How I looked in my teen age years is very different than college and definitely 7 years post-college. We live in a society where the general expectation especially for women is to look a certain way and god forbid, if you go through body changes, everyone gets on your case. Body changes already brings in emotional distress, insecurities, and negative body image issues so clearly more BS from the society/peers/family/friends is not what one needs. I am writing this personal post on “dealing with body changes” to share my journey, few tips on how I deal with it, and some key messages for everyone.
Thank you prAna for the partnership & dressing me up!
I was a chubby kid (per Nepali society standards - whatever that means) because that is how a lot of my families and friends remember me while growing up. I am not even exaggerating but that is the first comment I get when people see me after a long time because I am so fit and in shape now (again, whatever that means). I think it was right around junior high that I started to pay more attention to my weight and intentionally ate less/skipped meals to lose weight. I am sure there was some disordered eating going on but thankfully I grew up in a household where dieting, body dissatisfaction, or anything related to negative body image issues didn't exist. We were always encouraged to eat to nourish our body, get adequate nutrition for proper growth, and the idea of good or bad food just wasn't there.
Just Talk About It : I wish I had known about body changes and how it is a natural + necessary process while growing up. In Nepal, we didn't have any health ed class to talk about the basics of reproductive health and all the weird changes that comes with puberty. I later learned that girls are supposed to gain weight during puberty for proper growth and development (fat cells helps produce estrogen which is needed for menstrual cycle). Puberty is already hard as it is so please, talk to your kids as appropriate about body changes and do not talk about weight gain in a negative/embarrassing manner. It's a natural process and if excessive weight gain is your concern, perhaps find fun physical activities you two can do together, enjoy nourishing healthy snacks/meals as a family, and focus on healthy living rather than weight being an issue.
I am wearing Daria Sweater Hoodie & Deco Crop, which are both super comfortable + versatile! Daria Sweater Hoodie can be worn by itself or with a long sleeve shirt in the winter. I love the fact that I can wear my yoga tank underneath and hop to a yoga class or dress up with a pair of jeans! Use the code MHMDX15 to get 15% off your order.
Remember body changes are necessary : Besides puberty, pregnancy is another time when women go through body changes. While I haven't personally experienced that myself, I sense the pressure pregnant and new mothers get from everyone including their loved ones. Before anyone tells you otherwise, please educate yourself on pregnancy-related weight gain which is needed for your baby. My RD friend Kylie from immaeatthat has a really great post on A goodbye to my pre-pregnancy body; it's a great read for everyone. Also, weight loss after pregnancy looks different for everyone!! You just went through a major life changing experience, take your time to heal, bond with the baby before falling into the comparison trap and feeling guilty about your weight changes.
Please read this post if you already haven't : Why Self- Care is a Must!
Many women find their body changing during menopause and it's mostly due to changing estrogen levels and hormonal shifts that changes the distribution of body fat, making it more likely to accumulate in the abdomen. Also, decreased physical activity, stress, and other lifestyle factors can bring about body changes. While hormonal changes are natural and inevitable, it is important to be mindful about other factors and take necessary actions to minimize its side-effects.
Do not comment on anyone's physical appearance : I don't care who you are or how much you care for me and my health but you have no right to make comment on my physical appearance. It really pisses me off when people are so quick to compliment/show concern about others physical appearance regardless it is about weight gain or weight loss. When I was younger, I remember feeling uncomfortable when people talked/commented on my weight, even worse when they start comparing with others. I am sure people comment/praise with good intentions but honestly, it is best to talk about other things besides weight. If you really want to compliment, focus on the big picture - health & well-being rather than weight. Weight is a personal + sticky topic and if you are really (like really) concerned about your loved ones, talk to them in private, share your genuine concerns but please do not make it a public event.
Make peace with body changes : Over the years, I have experienced body changes and accepted that it is natural + necessary. As I began to practice what balance truly meant in terms of emotional, mental, and physical health, my perspective on body changes has shifted more towards healthy living. It is no longer about the weight, mileage ran, or the amount of calories burned and it's made me a happier & healthier than ever.
In my own personal and professional experience, I have learned that it is so important to breakup with an unrealistic idea on how your body should look like. If you are not familiar with the concept of "set point theory", here is a great post by my RD friend Robyn on "Finding your Healthy Set Point".
Get professional help : If you are not happy with your weight or you have exhausted your options personally trying different things, maybe it's time to get some professional help. There is a plethora of information on healthy living including nutrition & exercise on the internet but if you are overwhelmed, not getting anywhere, and spending a lot of money on products/programs, perhaps it's time to find the right help. Depending on your need and where you are in your journey, consider making an appointment with a dietitian // personal trainer// behavioral therapist // mental health counselor etc as these individuals can pinpoint your problem areas and help you towards better health & happiness!
Deco crop I am wearing is a fun, stylish, and well-fitted capri (mid-rise) which are super important to me. These are great for running errands as well as for fitness classes. Use the code MHMDX15 to get 15% off your order.
If you are not familiar with prAna, their philosophy is to "pursue sustainable, traceable, and responsible action to protect our environment and inspire the adventurous spirit". I love the fact that their outfits are mindfully made in order to support fair trade and sustainable practices. I have few other pieces from prAna and use them very frequently because it's versatile enough to fit my lifestyle - they are great for being outdoors, perfect for both casual outings, and running errands. For more, info, learn about how prAna supports sustainability!!
PS. Don't forget to use the MHMDX15 to get 15% off your order.
I want to end this long winded post with a quote from Ellen Degeneres : "To me beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It's about knowing and accepting who you are".
Have you experienced body changes?
Do you have any helpful tips and resources to add? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
I received prAna’s clothing as a part of Fall campaign but I was not compensated to write this post. All opinions are 100% mine as usual.