Adjusting to body changes is difficult. Often, this comes up during our journey to eat more mindfully. Recovering from an eating disorder, giving up dieting for good, exercising less, listening to our hunger and fullness signals, adding in formerly “forbidden” foods, essentially all the things we work toward in having a more intuitive relationship with food and movement are also things that are likely to cause changes to our body. More importantly, no one’s body is stagnant. Our bodies change throughout our lives. In spite of it not being realistic to expect our bodies to stay the same, many of us work so hard to prevent these changes via our food and exercise choices.
So knowing that we absolutely will deal with body changes, how do we navigate this? One of the biggest struggles many people report having with this is the sense that right as they feel they are getting comfortable with their body, it changes. This means having to adjust to this new normal, and can also kick all our negative self-talk back into overdrive. It feels awkward and discouraging. It’s OK to notice changes in our body and have an emotional response to that. We don’t have to attempt to love the changes in our body. (Doing so likely won’t be successful anyway).
So, what can we realistically aim for? We can aim for continued body neutrality. We can aim for allowing all our thoughts, and not dismissing them. We can allow for recognizing when body changes mean an adjustment needs to be made (this could be a myriad of things, not just food and exercise). We can allow for needing to give ourselves many reminders that bodies change and it’s normal, not a negative thing. We can allow for needing many reminders that our weight and the shape of our bodies, are far from the most interesting thing about us.
In other words, the change can be difficult, but working towards acceptance of our bodies no matter what they look like at the moment, is so incredibly important because we will see these body changes our whole life! The more we can work toward acceptance of our bodies as they are now, the more skills we can develop for rolling with these changes as they continue throughout our lives.