In My 40s – Waist Has Started Thickening

By February 22, 2013

I am in my 40s and over the last few years, my waist has started thickening to the point that clothes don’t fit me the way they used to just a year ago! I have also gained about ***lbs. I hate it! I am trying to eat intuitively, but find it is harder than ever before. I can’t exercise as much as I would like because of my schedule, but also even when I was exercising I was tired a lot. I have had a lot of stress in my life with job losses, financial crisis, as well as other family crisis. I am taking birth control pills continuously for hormonal balance (as prescribed by doctor). What is really bothering me now is I feel so self-conscious about my body. I don’t like the way I look in my clothes. I hate that I can feel my waist “jiggle” as I move about. I really don’t like that certain clothes just don’t fit me anymore. I don’t like feeling this way, especially since I am a Christian and know in my heart that God loves me no matter my size. I am so unhappy with my body right now. Please help me. I want to lose this extra weight and no matter what I do (eating hunger/fullness method), I feel as if I am gaining, not losing! Thanks for your help.

Dear Visitor,

It can be disconcerting to adjust to our bodies as they change with the different seasons of our lives. But step back and catch your breath for a moment. Let’s look at the big picture. Most women experience a shift in body shape in their forties, particularly as they enter the perimenopausal years. Similarly, most women experience a rounder belly and some abdominal bloating right before their periods. And of course there are all the changes that happen to women’s bodies after giving birth. What is all this telling us? The physical changes that we so often despise and fight are, in fact, naturally occurring, and part of how God designed us. Too often, we focus more on how our bodies appear instead of what they do for us each and every day, moment by moment.

Freedom comes with respecting and appreciating our bodies—and accepting such naturally occurring changes. But it also sounds like you are coping with a lot of life issues and pressures right now. Stress plus lack of sleep can cause hormonal changes in the body that can lead to weight gain. There are probably circumstances that you can’t change right now, but think about what you can alter and how you can better cope. Right off the bat, you don’t need to add stress by constantly worrying about your appearance!

Is there a pastor or counselor you can talk to, who can give you guidance on handling the stress in your life? Is there a trusted friend who can pray with you? Maybe that same person can take short walks with you. Physical activity is one of the best ways to combat stress and, of course, has so many added health benefits. I know you don’t have much free time in your schedule right now, but do what you can to add steps and movement to your day, and you will start to feel so much better—physically, mentally and emotionally.

This difficult season will pass, so hang in there and keep walking in faith. God hears your prayers. He will get you through and help you on your journey to good health.