The frightening thing about ageing is how it sneaks up on you! Most days I don’t feel my age, which is a tad over forty but we won’t go into specifics. I guess still feeling youthful is a good thing, but ageing is nevertheless a reality. The natural process of getting older brings with it a few not very pleasing attributes. Some I have learnt to accept gracefully, others not so much. One of the things which I have battled with the most is how my body has changed over the last few years! Lack of muscle tone and difficulty losing weight, have been two of the most challenging things to accept, especially with the impact they have on maintaining Body Confidence!
Body Confidence Over 40
I have been toying with writing this post for a while now but struggled with exactly how to approach it. Let’s face it one’s body image is a very sensitive subject. I also think many women are too afraid to talk about it for fear of being judged. For me, the hardest thing about my “body confidence”, has been deciding what I am willing to accept and what I am not.
I was always super active as a teenager, as well as being muscular, and I did not have a problem with losing weight nor my overall body image. I can honestly say I have lived most of my life, happy with my body. After two pregnancies with a substantial weight gain on both occasions, I still managed to get back to a healthy and acceptable weight. I never quite achieved my pre-pregnancy weight, but I was rather skinny before I fell pregnant the first time, so it did not bother me.
The thing is, once I turned forty it all seemed to go a bit pear-shaped (literally)! To say I was not happy is a massive understatement and admittedly I felt a bit depressed. I am all for women having sexy curves, but when I started feeling fat, I knew something needed to change.
Weight Loss Goals
Most women probably never openly admit to the fact that they are unhappy with their weight or body shape. The problem is that it does start affecting other aspects of your life and more especially your self-confidence. Nevermind the fact that weight gain can also be very unhealthy and lead to a myriad of other complications.
Last year, after a good friend successfully managed to lose a significant amount of weight, I decided it was time for me to address my issues. I had tried a few approaches along the way, but nothing worked, which was mostly because my heart was not in it.
My short-term weight loss goal was 7kg, as well as needing to lose significant centimetres on my stomach and hips. When I started in August last year, my main concern was the weight I was carrying around my waist. I knew that my diet, although relatively healthy, needed to change. My love of wining and dining did not aide the cause either. I decided to consult a dietician and work out an eating plan that would suit my lifestyle – more about this in another post.
The most significant change for me, however, is not about the numbers but rather a boost in my self-confidence. That and the fact that I am happy to wear short dresses again.
I knew that although my weight was my primary concern, I had also let my fitness levels slip. So my approach needed to be two-pronged. I had to get my weight down and my fitness levels up.
Along with changing my eating habits, I knew that I needed to up my game as far as fitness was concerned. I also realised that exercise is not only vital for my body but my sanity as well. Long story short, I was not going to get anywhere fast by sitting on my butt all day!
Although I have a gym membership, this alone was not enough – I knew that I had to start running again! I started slowly, initially doing interval training and slowly building up to a full 5km run, which I can now happily say is up to 8km. It has been slower than I had hoped, but I am making progress and getting closer to my goal of 10kms. The next step for me is to enter a race and test my ability – so watch this space.
Running is my primary form of exercise, but I also include weight training, boxing, as well as a mixture of pilates and yoga in my weekly regime.
By writing this post, I am hoping to encourage those of you who find themselves in a similar situation. I am certainly not saying there is a “one size fits all” approach but the fundamentals are the same. Your age and situation might be different but living a healthy life applies to us all. My advice is, if you are not happy, do something about it. Don’t put things off or let your current circumstances define your future.
One crucial point I feel I need to stress is, don’t do this for others because if you do, it will never become your reality. You need to want to change. Otherwise, it will be impossible to reach your goals! You also need to realise that your journey is ongoing and a day-by-day challenge, and try not to be too hard on yourself. Rather celebrate every victory, no matter how small.
Do you struggle with maintaining body confidence? If you do and are willing to share I would love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.
Disclosure: This post has not been sponsored or paid for.