How I’ve Developed a Healthy Body Image in My 30s
posted on August 6, 2019 | by Chelsea Becker
Something common that I hear among friends – myself included – is that people generally feel better in their 30s than their 20s. It likely has to do with not drinking so much, eating food groups other than pizza, sleeping a little bit more, and taking better care of yourself. Plus, I think we all just know ourselves a lot better vs. still trying to figure that out during our 20s.
But something I constantly hear friends complain about more so in their 30s is body image. And I’ve 1000% been there – but I do think I’ve worked hard to develop a healthy, loving body image now that I’m 32. My body is far from perfect and I have days where I struggle hard, but for the most part, I’m proud of it. Here’s what I’ve done, and what I recommend trying on days when you’re giving your body more hate than love.
Learned my body type
I’m pretty sure I tried every single trend that came out during my 20s. I love fashion and was always game for trying the newest thing – even when it felt forced or uncomfortable on my body. For example, tube tops. I have a large natural chest, so anything not involving a bra with straps or support isn’t the best look on me (something I get now!). Getting specific with items I loved wearing has helped tremendously because now everything in my closet is something I feel good in.
If you haven’t already, take inventory of your body type – and also what you feel best in. Do you like v-necks or scoop necks or high necks on you best? Do you have hips that work best with a cinched waist? Do you find yourself reaching for a certain color in your closet because it flatters your skin color? Shop and wear accordingly.
I’ve become somewhat ‘boring’ in my 30s and it’s because I prioritize my future self. I’ll gladly skip out on happy hour if I’m tired and need sleep, and I’m not always up on the latest TV show because I’d rather meal prep than binge. Though I have weeks, even months, where I let self-care slide, I always feel shittier about myself when I’m off my game.
Even if it’s not with the intention of shedding weight or anything to do with my physical appearance, I know that eating healthy food, getting enough sleep, a consistent skincare routine, and downtime makes me a happier person. Usually, looking better follows suit and it’s a added perk to self-care, so I definitely notice I feel and look my best simultaneously.
Find the self-care acts that make you feel happy inside and the outside will follow. I know that sounds cheesy as fuck, but it’s true!
I can’t remember where I first learned about dry brushing (think it was Geri Hirsch), but it’s changed my relationships with my body. First up, it’s known to help with inflammation, cellulite and it’s energizing. And while those things are nice, it’s the actual practice that has been a game-changer.
As I dry brush from toe to head, I thank the body part I’m working on. So as I’m brushing my leg, I’m thanking it for being strong or part of me instead of noticing the veins or the flabbiness or whatever the hell we all pick on internally.
Think of it as your 1:1 time to give your body some love and attention.
Whenever I’m doing yoga regularly, I notice I feel best about my body (and in my body). I think it’s mainly due to the fact that in yoga, the instructor is usually incorporating a meditative or mantra aspect to the class – something you don’t always get in other workouts. It’s a practice that celebrates the body – and where it is in that moment – instead of getting yelled at to push yourself further or whatever. Plus, the amount of strength and flexibility gained during a regular yoga practice make me feel really, really good.
(P.S. for a great free program online, I like Yoga with Adriene on YouTube.)
Replace negative thoughts
I learned this super simple positivity tip a while back: whenever you find yourself complaining about X or wishing for something different about your body, replace it with something positive. Example, now that I’ve had a kid, I notice a lot more cellulite on my butt which wasn’t always there. But instead of focusing on that when I’m in workout pants, I think “dang this butt is still pretty cute!” or “I’m grateful for the glutes underneath that helped push my baby out”. You can actually rewire your mind’s thoughts if you do this over and over and over again.
Even if you can’t get yourself to play this game every time (sometimes shitty moods just can’t be replaced with positivity), shoot to make it the norm.
Do you have a more positive body image than you did in your 20s? What has helped you?