This week on the podcast, we discuss radical body acceptance during midlife and menopause.
We are bombarded with societal pressures and cultural conditioning related to aging and body image.
When we critically evaluate the messages we receive from media and online sources, we can embrace our changing bodies and challenge the incorrect notion that women’s value diminishes with age.
By practicing radical acceptance and empowerment, and rejecting the idea of trying to reclaim a past version of ourselves, we are more able to nourish our body, stay active, and receive our self-worth from a place of genuine self-acceptance and empowerment.
I believe this journey towards radical acceptance is an ongoing and courageous rebellion against ingrained stereotypes and societal expectations.
By dismantling cultural conditioning and embracing our authentic selves, we reclaim confidence, courage, and vitality.
Listen in as we engage Radical Acceptance and Radical Empowerment on our midlife journey!
Jump on the waitlist for the next cohort of The Midlife Upgrade Course here
Full Episode Transcript
Hey, my friends, how are you? This week I wanna dive into talking about radical acceptance of a physical body in midlife and through menopause. There’s such a big change that can happen for us physically, whether it’s weight gain or a change of shape in our body, the change of skin of elasticity, the way our skin looks, our face, our hair.
It changes for some of us really rapidly through perimenopause and menopause. And I think what alarms me is how much of what we are fed through media and online and all of the info that we are fed about menopause is.
Is through this lens of halting aging, of getting back to the body that we once had of keeping our looks remaining the same. And the problem with all of that, as you know, is that. It is steeped in the culture of women being attractive and valuable at a certain age. You know, not beyond 30, 35. Once we’re in midlife, women are sort of forgotten about.
Of course I can only speak in generalities, but that’s, you know, that’s our Western culture in terms of how women are perceived right now, it is changing, but we as women who are in midlife are living with and through those societal values and ways of looking at women where our value. Diminishes incredibly beyond 40.
And so when you see the diets and the health regimes, I think it’s so important to cast your critical eye over them and check in. Is there wording in here that is inviting me to try and halt the aging process that is full of fear and negativity about what it means to grow older?
That is the languaging, is reaching back to try and get the body that I might’ve had when I was. In my twenties or early thirties, the way my skin might’ve looked then, so look at the languaging that’s used because we are being fed so much information that is destructive to our wellbeing and our self-worth.
But it’s so embedded in our culture that we really have to cast a critical eye on these things to notice what’s going on there. And so, you know, like if I’m a woman in midlife, I’m in perimenopause, and I might talk to a personal trainer. If that personal trainer is not aligned with my values around what it means to be a woman in midlife and what I value as a woman in midlife, but has all of the unconscious bias that so many of us carry around aging and around being female in aging, then what that person is gonna offer me is.
Actually not for my overall wellbeing. because it’ll be looking at what success is through that lens of anti anti-aging,
then what I’m gonna get served up is not gonna be helpful for me long term. In fact, it’s probably going to. More lead me to feeling burnt out. And there is a lot we can do as women from an individual perspective to really move into this place of radical acceptance, of our physical body, of our changing skin, and here and the way we look and embracing the changes and noticing.
When that critical voice arises in terms of how we look, you know, when we see ourselves say in the mirror or in a photo, that we can counter this in a voice, know that it comes from cultural and gender conditioning, and decide that we are going to dismantle it first and foremost just by not believing it.
So there is a lot of work we can do. With ourselves to practice radical acceptance and even more than that, like this radical empowerment of ourselves as women in midlife. So you can hear that that is really, really different to me, changing my diet, doing lots of cardio, working out every single day to try and.
Get some form of myself back that I had 10 years ago. It doesn’t mean that we, you know, when we go down this path of radical acceptance and radical empowerment, we still wanna eat well and nourish our body for ourselves and our vital energy. We still wanna be able to move and be active and be strong, but how we measure.
When we are doing well, how we measure success comes from a very, very different place. And so that’s what I’m talking about When, when, you know, we deconstruct that gender conditioning, that really slaps us in the face in midlife and we step into an age of radical empowerment for ourselves as women. And because culturally, generally speaking, we are not there yet.
We have to think really critically about what we are seeing, what’s showing up for us online, what we are reading that maybe. If we are not looking at it from, from a place of critical thinking, we just accept it the way it is. So much of that information devalues older women. , I think what we need to do and what has helped me and is helping me ’cause it’s like an ongoing journey, right? I’m not sure that I’m. You know, I’m definitely have come into much more acceptance of who I am, how I show up, what I look like, how I move, all of that stuff. But it is an ongoing journey because of the culture that I live in and that I’m a part of.
And that you are a part of off because this is how change slowly happens, right? So that we can take a step back and look at. All of the, all of that information that’s reflected back to us as being reality and think really critically about it and wonder about where it comes from and what stereotypes it is perpetuating about women.
Even when this information shows up as being seemingly helpful around, you know, I’m talking specifically around eating plans and diets and clothes, probably what we do to our skin and our face and our hair and all that kind of stuff. And I’m all for. Of course I’m all for. We get to play and we get to choose, and we can do what we want to do with our bodies because we have choice around that.
And there is no judgment coming from me around that, but I think it’s really important to understand for ourselves, why am I choosing that intervention for my physical body? Why am I choosing that way of eating or that diet plan? Am I desperate to lose the 10 kgs that I’ve gained in midlife? If I am, why?
What is that based on? Do I subconsciously think that if I lose that weight, I will look better, therefore, I will feel better in my body. So who says I will look better? What paradigm dictates that I would look better with 10 less kgs on my physical body of weight. You see how that can, that often comes through that lens
of that stereotype of how women are valued of being a certain weight, looking certain ways, a certain age, and that is something that for us, if we can break that down in terms of how we see ourselves and how we see the world as individuals, then bit by bit as a collective, these things start to change and.
Oh, I am not suggesting it is an easy path
because we’re having to counter
Everything that’s modeled to us in what we see out there in the world. And so it’s an act of. Like I said, radical empowerment, but it’s also an act of rebellion. But this act of rebellion is going to give you your confidence and your courage and your mojo and your vitality back at the core of who you are.
Because if we can settle into rest, into radically accepting, this is how I’m showing up now. And I love it and I love who I am, and I am going to be myself in this world, and I have got this next amazing chapter coming up in my life. Can you feel the energy of that? Can you feel the shift of that? And it’s, it’s a process for sure.
It’s a process for us personally, it’s a process for us as a collective. I think there’s a sneaky tell that things are moving in the right direction for us if slowly, but they are moving in the right direction where there’s much more of a wave of women who are willing to let their hair go naturally gray, and they are.
Obviously they’re looking gorgeous and stunning, with their silver hair and the gray hair. It just is gorgeous. But can, can you see how that’s become more normalized for women in midlife? And yeah, I think even 10, 15 years ago, it wasn’t as normalized as it is now. There was just an expectation that, you know, as your hair starts to go gray, aside from our wonderful outliers who rebelled against it, but for most women, they would dye their hair like they, they didn’t sort of think too much about it.
Well, that has started to change and I think that’s such a great. If small, but it’s a great indicator that the tide is turning for us, that we are bit by bit, taking our power back as women in midlife and,
So I’m not gonna suggest that it has been particularly easy for me going through menopause and seeing the changes in my physical body and the change of skin. And definitely I’ve put on like, I don’t know, but 10 or 15 kg, something like that, and having times of battling with it and, and trying to. Create change, i e lose weight.
And I really needed to look at the reasons why I was doing that. You know, like really how am I feeling in my body? How is my vitality? How is my energy? And I think there’s a stage that we go through in mid midlife where because of the changes that are happening, We start to dis-identify from the physical body as being important for our self-esteem and our self-worth.
And, you know, all of our conditioning
has put us in that room where, you know how I look, how I show up. Has a direct relationship to how I feel about myself and my self-worth,
I’ve had some tumultuous times with that experience in my life going through chronic illness and my twenties with Crohn’s disease. I lost at that time, I lost way too much weight, so I was like just under 40 kgs at one stage, which is ridiculously unwell. And to be fair, at that stage, I couldn’t look after myself.
I couldn’t really bathe or shower. I was just sort of living in my, in my bed or, you know,
and I had fistulas. And I had to wear an ostomy bag for I think a year and a half. This was when I was in my twenties. So this is a, you know, in that time where our, potentially our physical body or our
is looking pretty good. Well, it wasn’t looking pretty good when I was in my twenties. It was looking really unwell and sick for a really long time, and I battled with the fact that I had to wear an ostomy bag. I battled with the fact that I was so thin that just about every person I talked to as I got better commented on it That was just one of the, you know, the impacts of having Crohn’s disease is that my, I wasn’t absorbing the nutrients.
I just lost so much weight when I was really sick. And then I had to deal with the, the scarring on my abdomen and around my navel from the from the fistulas, which did, you know, did eventually heal, but they left a lot of scarring and then, Realizing that my body was never going to be back to the way it was, like physically from the outside, looking in and making friends with that and realizing that for myself as a young woman, it didn’t bloody matter.
Right. It really didn’t matter. And that this physical body is something that moves me through life moves you through life and it does its best. And it will have scars and it will have imperfections. And as we’re in midlife, it will, you know, show signs that it’s in midlife. But that I shifted my relationship because I was forced to, from being so sick for so long, I shifted my relationship with my physical body to being much more friendly rather than me trying to have power over it to make it look a certain way, so that then I would receive the acceptance from others so that then I could be able.
I could accept myself. You can see how that plays out for, as I was then, a really insecure young woman. But it’s also really, really normal and because of my experience with Crohn’s disease and what happened with my physical body in there, I, and, and then how it looked as I, you know, as I got better, I. Was forced to just accept it the way it was and to be okay with it and to be okay with the scars and the fact that it looked a little strange now and that.
It wasn’t what I wasn’t what I expected. Life lessons. Right? It doesn’t always turn out as we expect, but what they offered to me was this renewed relationship with my physical body that was much more friendly, a much less me trying to sort of will or beat my body into submission through exercise or diet or whatever other things we do to our physical body.
And I have really leaned into that experience in my twenties as I’ve been going through menopause and midlife and seeing the change in my physical body. I’ve really leaned into that relationship with body as a friend, as a vehicle for you, your heart and your soul as you move through life. And I think that that is a really helpful perspective.
To bring forward for ourselves in midlife. ’cause I, I know, and I hear, and you would hear from your friends and acquaintances and other women in our age group that it’s tough to be in that phase of life where previously I could have guided my body into being a certain way. I e. Losing weight or changing shape, but in menopause, because so much changes in terms of our metabolism and hormone balance and hormone fluctuation.
What worked before doesn’t work now. And so then what we see is a lot of us trying to find the thing that works. You know, is it keto? Is it. Intermittent fasting,
is it, whatever else, the new wave of how we should in inverted commas, eat, be.
And what I’m suggesting is that if this is coming up for us, let’s take a look at what our underlying subconscious motivations are. Because if they’re coming from that place of
our gender conditioning out around valuing ourselves as a woman, it’s actually time to really break that down and to throw out what doesn’t work. Throw out all of that societal conditioning. None of it’s our fault. Right. It’s just the environment that we’ve grown up in. So let’s not blame ourselves for it, but let’s sort of deconstruct it and then come back to this neutrality, to this place of acceptance of my physical body in this moment.
And then for me, I love to think about this idea of radical empowerment of. Okay, so if it’s not that, if I’m not going to look after myself and if I’m not going to look after myself from that place of this gender conditioning that I’ve grown up in, how do I want to look after myself? What is going to be important for me going forward?
Is it my vitality, my strength? My flexibility, my resilience, and
the beaming life force of my heart and my nervous system, and my energy showing through my eyes and my skin and my movements. And if it is that, then what can I do to support myself in that? And so you can see how if you do come from that place of that radical empowerment of ourselves in midlife, then what we choose to do, how we choose to move our body, to strengthen it to what we choose to eat,
is coming from a very different place. And I’m gonna say it’s coming from a much more holistic whole place that is gonna serve you for this next chapter of your life. Because coming from anything else is gonna lead to burnout, is gonna lead to disappointment and despair.
And it’s a bit of a leap. It’s a big leap when everything else around us is showing us something different. But we are seeing signs that this is changing. We are seeing signs of more and more women radically accepting themselves in midlife and not just, not just accepting and. Fading away, but accepting and empowering themselves to step forward in their life, which is so key and so important, and you are so needed in that.
And the more of us that can support ourselves and support the women around us to do that, then we start to make a change in the collective. And that. Is radically exciting.
So my friend, I hope that has been helpful this week in terms of an approach to really embracing and radically accepting all of ourselves. And redefining what it means to be, what it means to feel amazing, incredible in our own skin, and that we de-center this, this idea of. Somebody else’s gaze on our human body as being a, you know, like a measure for our worth, which is how we’ve been raised for sure.
And actually, I come into ourselves, come into this place of deep embodiment and you know, when you accept yourself exactly as you are. With the scars and the wrinkles and the whatever else is that are there that have been there. They tell the story of your life and the ones that are to come when we can live with our body and in our body from that place.
We live from such an empowered perspective, and I think it’s. Of course we are never done, but we can drop the harmful striving that is. That so often comes along with, with midlife and with perimenopause and menopause. My God, have we not got enough to deal with in terms of fluctuating hormones and changing energy levels, but we also have to strive to fricking get this body that a 30 year old has when we are 55?
I don’t think so. I do not think so. No thank you. Own your gorgeousness from the inside out. This body is moving you through life in the best way that she knows how. And I think, you know, I’m grateful for my physical body. I think, you know, coming from this place of thanking our body for all that it does for us.
40, 50, 60, however old we are, however mature we are in this life. Our body is doing the best for us, and it’s time we embraced her and nourished her and gave her the movement that she loves and supported our physical body to be strong in a way that works for us and to feel vital in a way that works for us.
All right, my friends, hope that’s helped to flip the script a little bit, to flip the perspective. I’m still growing in this journey. I, you know, first person to put my hand up around that we are a part of our culture. We’re a part of our conditioning. But the more of these conversations that we have, the better and better it is for all of us.
Okay, so have an amazing week. This is something that we. That we talk about this radical acceptance and radical empowerment, not just of our physical body, but of our whole selves and our midlife upgrade course. The next cohort will be starting sometime in October. I’m not fully year there yet with the date, but if you wanna find out about the early bird specials and when the doors open, go to my website.
Meegancare .co nz slash waitlist. Pop your email down on the wait list, and you’ll be one of the first to know when the doors open and when those early bird specials arrive. Alright, have an amazing week. Move most deliciously with your body through your life. Love you so much. Talk to you real soon.