The Delicate Subject of Body Image at Midlife


When it comes to your body, is it one or the other with your approach? Give up (on your weight particularly, your fitness, your water!) or power through (force yourself to the gym, to eat “healthy” food even when you don’t really like it)?

Neither approach actually works. Giving up makes you bitter and miserable and powering through hardens you and is exhausting!

So what’s left?

What’s possible now that you’re closer to 50 (or passed it) than you are 25!

Body Image is Complicated

Firstly a few truths!

How you relate to your body is a reflection of how our culture views women.

Truth #1

Yes, read that again please…

Your body image is not your ultimate truth, it’s what you’ve absorbed from the cultural messages that you’ve been swimming in since the day you were born.

Your body image is not personal, meaning you’re not the only one that hates your body. The statistics on how many women are on a diet at any given time are horrendous. We are so dissatisfied with the way we look because dissatisfaction drives a market economy.

Your body image is probably not empowering. Most women are disconnected from their bodies, don’t trust them and don’t know how to take care of them. Many women feel betrayed by their bodies especially at midlife when The Menopause hits them.

And, if you explore feminist literature, you’ll find beneath these feelings of distrust and betrayal are outdated patriarchal and/or misogynistic beliefs.

You are probably unaware of the beliefs you have absorbed!

Truth #2

Until you’re not anymore!

At some point in our lives – whether it’s through our studies, seeing an enlightened practitioner, attending a Retreat (hint to join mine!), a women’s circle or gathering or, if you’re really lucky, through having a mother or aunt who was aware – eventually we awaken to the disempowering voices in our heads and we realise those voices aren’t ours!

Why do I want to heal my relationship to my body?

At midlife (for men too), or at menopause, everything starts to change. We’re ageing and we’re entering a new phase of life, our wisdom years. We’re being invited to grow up.

We’re being invite to grow up!

Growing up involves making peace with our past, taking responsibility and then acting from now on with maturity and wisdom. This is what gives up peace!

In my experience of working with both women and men at midlife, all of them want more peace. They’re looking for flow, ease and grace. They’re sick of the struggle and the inner conflict. They’re ready to make peace with their bodies.

How do you make peace with your body?

Acknowledging that you want harmony within is the first step.

But then what?

How do you achieve it?

Learning to be Yin

Gosh, I could talk so much here about moving into the Autumn phase of life, how that’s more Yin than the summer phase of our lives and so on, but that’s for another day.

What I want to say is a different way of saying “slow down”. Nobody wants to slow down and in my experience it’s pretty damn hard.

But slowing down is essential. Here’s why:

  • Your body tires more easily
  • You need the time for more inner reflection
  • Your Yang-ness needs to be balanced with some more Yin for you to feel harmonious
  • You’ll get less sleep due to insomnia and hot flushes
  • It feels good
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Brenda Rogers

With over 25 years experience as a corporate trainer, naturopath, yoga teacher and wise woman educator, Brenda is the head clinician and coach at Quintessence Health.

"A healthy mind and body simply ensures you have the time and energy to fully express and manifest your life’s purpose – it facilitates the unfolding of joy."

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