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  • Writer's pictureastridlonghurst

My darling body...why I love you MORE at 60!

Five fabulous body love tips to help you age with confidence

At sixty, there’s a blessing in my bones, a glow in my heart and a radiance in my thinking. My body has settled from all of the experiences of the past and wraps herself around me like a beloved friend. And indeed, she is. We have been through so much together and here we are, like Thelma and Louise, standing strong and refusing to allow anyone to take away our freedom! However, unlike Thelma and Louise we won’t be driving off any cliff top any time soon. Instead, we follow the call of the wild heart as we soar into new adventures of possibility and endless potential.

I used to believe that sixty was old, I now know that it’s gold. It’s pure alchemy that invites me to dance with my day and look with eyes of wonder at my longest companion & dearest relationship in my life: the one that I have with my body.

My relationship with my body has been nothing short of an epic drama.

My body and I have been through the highs and the lows together and to be honest, I am surprised (and very grateful) that we are still together. My body wars began young (as so many do), with the death of my father when I was five years old. From that day on, my world changed and I sought comfort in the sweetness of chocolate that well-meaning relatives would give me. Their intentions were, to somehow make up for the loss of my father, however, all it did was to set in place a struggle with weight, food, emotions and myself which lasted many years.

Pretty face, shame about the body

At twenty years old, I wore my body as an apology. I didn’t much like the shape, size or the skin I was in. I remember being told from a complete stranger that I had a pretty face and what a pity that my body didn’t match up. From that moment on, I only saw my face when I looked in the mirror. I felt rather like the disembodied grinning Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland as I too became disconnected and disembodied from my body. From here, followed endless battles with food, lack of confidence, holding back in my life because I just didn’t feel good enough to be seen and many new diets that I would always start again on Monday morning and end by Monday evening!

Body Confidence is a choice

However, what I know now at the fabulous age of 61 is that loving our body is a journey and also a choice that takes time. Just as I matured with age, the connection and love for my body has also deepened over the years. I also believe that our “mess” often becomes our message. If it hadn’t been for my own body and self-confidence struggles, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today, doing the work I adore in my Body Confidence programmes.

My body has taught me how to love unconditionally and turn every day into a romance with me. When Arthritis seared through my joints and inflammation burned through my body, I learned how to be kind to me and how to soothe my aching joints and bones. When my blood pressure rocketed sky high, I listened to my body’s plea to slow down and take more rest. When I was doubled over in pain from gallstones, I understood that I needed to eat more consciously. My body has been my greatest teacher and my wisest, most loving friend.

Every wrinkle tells a story

Age brings its own itinerary. Our body changes to reveal a rich golden wisdom which is born from our experiences. Every wrinkle has a story, every scar shelters some pain. The body we have in our sixties is not the body we have in our twenties and personally, I’m glad. The body that I have now is one that I wear with pride, love and much gratitude. Long gone are the days that I would apologise for being me and instead I applaud every step that I take. I have to admit that if I was my body, I think I would have left many years ago. I wouldn’t have put up with the kind of abuse that I inflicted on my dear sweet body all through the years. My body is a testament to the extraordinary power of unconditional and often times unrequited love. And I have to say that right here and now I am so very grateful, humbled and delighted that we are still together and we live to breathe another day.

Five fabulous Body Confidence tips for loving your body more with every year that passes.

· Write a thank you note to your Body! Begin with the words, “Dear Body…” and then just write down all the things you are thankful to your body for!

· Add the words, “And I’m still adorable!” to your vocabulary! Whenever you feel you have made a mistake, got it wrong, feel too tired, put on weight, etc try adding the words “And I’m adorable” to a self-criticism. For example, “I burnt the dinner, forgot to phone my friend, completely overate and I’m still adorable!” It’s a lovely way to remind you that no matter what happens…you’re pretty fabulous after all! At the very least, it will make you smile!

· Stop apologizing for your body – applaud it instead! At the end of every day, take a few moments to stop and applaud your body. Thank it for everything it has done for you as you give it a round of well-deserved applause!

· Inhabit the moment. When you are feeling frazzled, stressed or worn out, stop and become aware of where you are feeling this in your body. Take a deep breath and allow your hand to rest lightly over the area where you feel the emotion. Feel your feet firmly on the floor and drop your breath into your lower belly. Ask yourself quietly, “Is everything ok right NOW in this moment?” Do this a few times, each time connecting with the moment you are in. This helps your mind to come back into the present moment, rather than spinning out into the future.

· Every day, upon awakening, say softly to yourself how blessed you are to have another day ahead of you. Give thanks for all that you have and tell yourself that you are looking forward to the most glorious day ahead.

What do you love more now about your body? Have you learned any body lessons that have had a positive effect on your life? I would love to know. What are the tips that you would pass on from your own body journey and life experiences?

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