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Changing Weight

As we get older, most of us put on weight or have body shifts. If you’ve been slender most of your life, it can come as quite a shock to try on a garment you haven’t worn in a while only to find that it no longer fits. Or you may realize that you’re now more comfortable in a larger size than you previously wore, but find no major change on the scale. Either situation may generate an uncharacteristic, new focus on food and weight, even when you’ve not been previously concerned about them.

Some people who’ve never had eating or weight problems make the transition to a larger clothing size and higher scale number fairly easily. They figure they’ve been fortunate for a long time and attribute body changes to age, decreased activity, and hormones. They may watch what they eat a bit more carefully and cut back somewhat on sweets and treats, but for the most part, food and weight remain a non-issue.

Other people have difficulty coming to terms with their new weight and/or changed body. They believe they should still have the figure they had in high school or that increased activity will return their body to its former shape and size. If growing older makes them uncomfortable, they might view weight gain as a sign of aging and deny their body changes or obsess about keeping them at bay. Instead of making small shifts in diet or exercise, they may become overfocused on turning back the clock and often develop eating problems.

If you’re someone learning to accept a larger body, it’s a good idea to review your beliefs about what you should look like. Because you’ve put on a few pounds or gone up a size, is your appearance really different? Will anyone but you actually notice? Assessing your beliefs about aging, sexuality, sensuality, and attractiveness will help you understand why you are upset about your body changes. Make sure to take all your irrational beliefs and reframe them into rational ones.

It’s important not to fall into the trap of believing that it doesn’t matter what you do, that is, that you might as well give up feeling attractive or being fit. Slipping into an all-or-nothing mentality will only make you feel worse about yourself. Instead, make sure that your lifestyle includes exercise for fitness and that you are eating foods that are both healthy and delicious. Also consider whether food and weight have become a focus in life as a replacement for living a life of passion. Put your weight gain in perspective and vow to make the most of life whatever your size.