How to Finally Find Body Acceptance in Your 30s
posted on October 22, 2018 | by Tessa Bowman
Unfortunately, this is a tale as old as time. From a young age, we see and read subliminal messages of what the ideal girl/woman is perceived to be. If we don’t believe we fit that ideal, we start finding what’s “wrong” with us and look for ways to achieve what we believe is the “perfect, most desirable woman.”
In this process, we tend to develop unhealthy habits and our relationship with food suffers. We can end up obsessing over things that won’t ever bring us happiness and, frankly, don’t really matter.
My hope for you is that as you enter your 30’s, you are ready to let go of these damaging mindsets. If you have been struggling with this, here are some healthy mindset shifts to help you start down the path to change your relationship with food and towards acceptance of your body:
Skip the scale, because weight ≠ health
The obsession many of us have with constantly weighing ourselves doesn’t do much good. In fact, it mostly causes us to focus on an inaccurate measure of health.
How often do we hear someone else or even find ourselves saying, “Just 5 more pounds to my goal weight…”? Somewhere along the way, we decided that we will be happy once we hit a certain number. I have news for you. That “5 pounds” doesn’t exist. Happiness isn’t a destination, and neither is health.
I’m not saying weight doesn’t matter at all, but there is no exact number that signifies we are at peak health. Constantly weighing ourselves sets us up to be easily disappointed, and many times, “that number” isn’t even related to health at all.
Our weight can fluctuate a few pounds within one day. As we have all probably experienced, we can retain more water before our period and weigh a little more than usual. Not to mention most people always weigh themselves in the morning; if they don’t like what they see, they will now go into their day with a negative mood!
The truth is, you might be much healthier at a heavier weight! A scale doesn’t show how well you are eating or how much muscle you have. Those two things are what actually matters. Instead of weighing yourself in the morning, write one thing you like about yourself or your body and why.
Count nutrients, not calories
If you have found yourself obsessing over the scale, you are more than likely to also have spent countless hours of your life tracking the calories of every meal and snack you eat. Well my friend, I have good news for you. You can stop doing that. I’m giving you permission to delete your calorie app and just enjoy the food you are eating.
Our Western culture is hyper-aware of calories. Calories are posted at restaurants and on every single piece of food/drink we buy. Why the obsession? Well, at a base level our weight is partly determined by tracking calories in or out. But, just like less weight doesn’t indicate better health, less calories doesn’t mean better either.
In certain circumstances, there is value to tracking what you eat. For example, many times we think we are eating better than we are. Once we write it all down, we can see how many times a week we are actually having dessert and wine, for example. This tracking isn’t focused around calories but rather what food groups are making up your day.
Choosing what you eat based on calories is not something I recommend to someone long term. Generally speaking, if you fill your plate throughout the day with real food – vegetables, fruit, nuts, some complex carbs and protein – you shouldn’t need to track every calorie in and out.
Lift yourself up
Think about all the nitpicking things you say to yourself in your head on a daily basis. Now, imagine you have a daughter (unless you already do, then pretend you are talking to her). Tell her all the things you tell yourself…
-“Ugh, your nose is big.”
-“Your butt looks so flat in those jeans.”
-“Yuck, your muffin top is poking out of your Moana shirt, let’s change that stat.”
-“Oh no, a size 8? You better lay off your veggie pouches.”
It’s horrific, right? These are the kinds of things we say to ourselves every. single. day. and many times multiple times a day! I was lucky enough to grow up with a mom who taught me my body was perfect and to thank my lucky stars I’m healthy. Even with all of her positive self-image upbringing, I still battle with those negative thoughts. It’s so easy to compare ourselves to everyone around us.
What’s helped me to retrain my brain is to catch myself when I think a negative thought. I compliment myself on something afterwards. Something else I do is when I’m in the shower, I’ll go through my different body parts and thank them for what they do! Sounds silly but it’s more to help reprogram my thoughts towards positive ones.
We are so focused on our appearance we forget the functional purpose of our physical body. If your biggest concern is your thick thighs, then girl, you have it made. Let’s wake up and thank our body every day for bringing us into a new day, flawed it might be, it still works.
What helps you with body acceptance – if anything? Share below!