Thoughts on body image


‘They’ say that women become most comfortable with their bodies in their 30’s. Over the years I’ve read this countless times in magazines and online articles and having reached aged 32 and now post pregnancy, I’ve been reflecting on this lately.

I’ve given myself a hard time over the years in terms of my body image – at 5ft3 and being naturally curvy (read: a few more wobbly bits than I’d like, and specifically quite a little pot belly) I’ve struggled when comparing my body to the typical ideal. Throughout my teenage years I’d spend time doing sit-up’s on my bedroom floor trying to achieve ‘that perfect flat stomach’ that the latest magazine promised if I just did these few exercises. I would start crazy diets where I basically didn’t eat anything, which I’m sure did nothing good for my metabolism, and certainly didn’t result in any weight loss.

In my 20’s I discovered that the only way my body really got the message to shape up was through exercise. And not just a few sit-up’s: through proper, sweat-making exercise. The quick results this produced was really motivating and I quickly got caught up in tracking my food intake online through calorie counting websites and daily weigh-ins. The constant tracking of calories and the visible results appealed to my need for control and I developed a pretty unhealthy attitude to food, exercise, and my body image. I actually dropped to a size 8, which was quite a drastic change, having hit a size 16 before starting the exercise program and being naturally a size 12/14. Looking back now, I can see that I was that bit too thin for my frame, my head was starting to look quite large on my body for a bit there! And yet, despite all of the exercise and control of my diet, I still had a little belly.

I managed to catch myself before this unhealthy attitude developed any further, and I feel pretty comfortable with my body these days. Is this shift in attitude just down to age? In a somewhat ironic twist, given the stretch marks and the fact that my little pot belly is ever present, I think that pregnancy has given me a different kind of respect for my body. Our bodies are miraculous things, capable of so many amazing achievements, and are so much more than just aesthetically beautiful. By the time we reach our 30’s, many of us have achieved great things with our bodies – having children, running a marathon, finding a sport you love – and I think it’s this acknowledgement that our bodies are functional rather than simply beautiful that brings this sense of ‘comfort’ that I’ve read about so often.

It’s this realisation that has changed the way I look at my body and, despite the fact that I can see all of the little flaws, I’m able to look at my slightly protruding stomach and smile, knowing what came as a result of it. I’m able to look at exercise as a way to look after my body and mind rather than a means of weight loss; a way to stay healthy, strong, and happy. I’m also more easily able to shrug off the judgements of others; I feel less of a need to conform to someone else’s ideal, and that’s a whole weight taken off of my mind.


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  • Emily

    Go girl! I’m so pleased you’ve reached a place where you are happy with your body and have a healthy mind set, hopefully I’ll get there myself at some point!

    Musings & More

    • I hope so! It’s amazing how much your confidence in other areas links into your body image too – I’ve always been pretty unconfident, but I’m starting to feel more positive in every area of my life. God, I sound a bit like a self-help book now!

  • Phoenicia

    Good on you for deciding to love your body just as it is. It takes us women a long to get to this stage.

    • Yes – and isn’t that sad, all that time we waste worrying about something that is so pointless?

  • This is such a beautiful post, i’m so glad you’re happy with how you look now! I’m in my teens and i have really bad body image issues but my goal is too be more happy with how i look this year xxx

    lots of love,

    • Thanks so much for your comment. Sorry to hear you’re struggling with this, it’s such a difficult thing to tackle as you have no explanation for why you feel like that, and how you feel about your body really does carry over into so much of your life (even though you can recognise that it shouldn’t, it does). I really hope you manage to achieve your goal this year.

  • Laura Dove

    This is so lovely. I have lived with anorexia my whole adult life, been up and down and back again but right now, I’m doing okay. I envy anyone who is truly comfortable in their body, I haven’t got there yet but I’m trying my hardest. Thanks for sharing. #brilliantblogposts

    • Thank you so much. I’m really glad to hear you’re in a good place now – anorexia is such a horrible disease, it’s great you have it under control. I hope my post didn’t come across as smug – I still have my off days! Wishing you all the best.