Lets talk about the M Word..
I went into early menopause at 36 – long story wont bore you with details but its fair to say it changed a lot of things and not just my bodyshape.
Your body shape naturally changes as you age, as the amount of fat you carry increases, whilst things such as muscle mass decrease. However, during menopause, falling oestrogen can also affect your body shape further.
Fat may increase, and our muscle mass can decrease. All of that changes our shape. What happens when we go through the menopause is that falling oestrogen can affect those changes further and more deeply.
1. Fat distribution/Belly fat
Probably the number one for a lot of women is that you start to put on weight round the belly. Instead of being pear-shaped with a waist and slightly more shape to our hips and our thighs, the weight starts to increase in the middle and we can become more of an apple-shaped person. We become much rounder in the middle.
2. Loss of muscle size and density
Loss of muscle size and density can be caused by a number of factors. If you’re going through the menopause, it could be joint aches and pains which is hindering exercise. It can be fatigue – how can you go out and run, exercise and be active when you’re feeling really, really tired?
Breast changes are very common during menopause. As we go through menopause, they can lose their pertness. They can start to sag. They can start to completely lose their shape and their density and they become a lot less firm.
For a small number of women, breasts can actually increase – this happened to me, which is very often due to a specific type of hormonal change. This is a really difficult one to sort, but you may find that plant oestrogen supplements can be of some benefit. Dehydration can affect breast structure, so just make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.
The other thing to do is when breasts change is to make sure that you are wearing the correct size bra. A few years ago, I decided that because things were changing for me, I’d probably need to get my bra size checked. I was mortified because I discovered I’d been wearing the wrong size bra for probably about 7 years.
Again, posture changes can be caused by a number of issues. Our bones get weaker. Our spine gets less stable, so we tend to be less upright. We end up slouching more.
Looking at all these changes, it’s all very well for me to say, “Embrace your new shape.” It’s a difficult one but we all have to do it.
My shape has changed (boobs and tummy bigger) and sometimes, we just don’t feel the same about ourselves.
Our confidence can go but it’s about realising that we can enhance the changes by doing things like getting new bras and sometimes, dressing differently can help too.
TWO THINGS THAT REALLY HELP:
Getting your colours done can make a huge difference to how you feel about yourself and makes you look better – the colours will enhance how you feel.
Dressing for your new shape – talking to a professional who can really advise you on how to style and flatter your shape can help you start feeling a bit better.
Other things to remember are reducing your stress levels where possible, if you have gained weight especially round the middle, eat well and exercise regularly, even if it’s just a 15-30 minute walk each day.
I hope you found this helpful. If any of you have any tips as to how you have managed with the body changes that have gone on for yourself and what have you done to make yourself feel better, please share them because this can make a lot of difference for a lot of women.
It happens to us all, so lets all talk about what has helped and support each other.