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Article: Perimenopause & Weight Gain: Embracing Our Peri Beach Body

Perimenopause & Weight Gain: Embracing Our Peri Beach Body

Hey Peri Babes! Let’s get real about something many of us are experiencing but rarely discuss openly: our Peri Beach Body. If you’re like me, you’ve noticed that during perimenopause, your body starts to change in ways you didn't expect. You might be gaining weight around your waist and hips, and those favorite summer clothes don’t fit the same. Suddenly, the beach, a place of joy and relaxation, feels like a stage where you’re hyper-aware of every new pound and dimple of cellulite. WTH!

The Struggle is Real

I love the beach. It's my happy place, a sanctuary where I can unwind, soak up the sun, and play with my kids. But lately, I've been feeling less confident about showing up in my swimwear. I’ve found myself worrying about what others might think when they see my middle-aged body, MY MIDDLE-AGED BODY! (I dread the sound of that phrase). It’s a hit to my confidence, making me feel old, less sexy, and less attractive. Does this feel like you? Are you going through the same? 

Growing Up with Unrealistic Standards

A 2023 survey by AARP reported that more than 70% of adult women feel pressure to live up to beauty standards dictated by social media and advertising. For those of us who grew up in the 90s, this isn’t surprising. We were bombarded with images of supermodels like Kate Moss and actresses who epitomized the "heroin chic" trend—young, slim, and flawless. These unrealistic standards were ingrained in our minds during our formative years, making it incredibly challenging to rewire our brains even today. 

Despite the body positivity movements gaining momentum, many of us still struggle with these deeply rooted perceptions. Personally, I now avoid taking photos in swimsuits. I feel very self-conscious and prefer pictures from the waist up, ideally just my face with a big hat and huge sunglasses. LOL. Who can relate? 

This persistent societal obsession with women's physical appearance contributes to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and eating disorders among women, particularly those aged 35-55. Our generation is now navigating these body changes, often feeling pressured to maintain an unattainable standard of beauty.

Shifting the Mindset

Talking with friends going through the same changes has been enlightening. There's an overwhelming identification with these body changes and the need to adjust. One friend mentioned dealing with sagging boobs and an "apron belly"—an expression I hadn’t heard before that made me LOL because I have one too. Another one shared her frustration of weight gain despite staying active, working out, and eating fairly healthy. Yet another friend shared her journey of gaining weight but also gaining love and appreciation for her body. It’s clear: while all of our journeys may look and feel different, we are all experiencing this. 

So, how do we shift this mindset? How do we move away from these ingrained perceptions and start appreciating our bodies for all they’ve done and continue to do for us? Here’s what I’ve been working on:

Gratitude Over Criticism: Every time I catch myself being critical, I switch gears and think of something I’m grateful for. My body has carried me through so much—why not celebrate that?

Positive Affirmations: I spoke with the self-affirmation queen Nadia Carta, and she gave me some great ones to say: "Thank you my body for walking through life with me” or “I am gorgeous the way I am and I love and honor this body” and she also encourages to say “I love you” to ourselves as often as we can. It might sound cheesy, but these affirmations really do make a difference. Studies show the power of positive self-affirmations and how they can reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Try looking in the mirror and giving yourself a genuine compliment every day. 

Focus on Health: Instead of fixating on weight or appearance, I’m focusing on how I feel. Am I eating well? Am I moving my body in ways that feel good? Does my body feel strong? Health is more than a shape or a number on a scale.

Community Support: Connecting with other women going through the same thing helps. We lift each other up, share tips, and remind ourselves we’re not alone. Consider signing up to nnabilife.com newsletter or giving us a follow at @nnabi.life on Instagram  to join our amazing community of Peri women. 

Embrace Your Journey

According to the Mayo Clinic, women tend to gain about 1½ pounds per year during their 40s and 50s, with much of this extra weight accumulating in the midsection. It’s normal to feel out of sorts, but it’s also an opportunity to understand and embrace these changes.

Remember, we come from a generation where sexy was synonymous with young and slim. Now, as we navigate these changes, it’s easy to feel inadequate. But here’s a powerful thought: in 2, 5, or 10 years, we’ll look back at pictures from this time and think, “What was I worried about? I looked amazing!” Let’s start loving our bodies now, celebrating the strength and resilience they show every day.

Ready to embrace your Peri Beach Body with unapologetic confidence? Let’s leave self-doubt behind and tell our bodies how grateful we are for everything they do. Let’s show the world that true beauty is diverse, strong, and unapologetically real. Go Peri Beach Body!

XX.

Marina Pen, Co-founder of NNABI

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