For women, body image can change through the regular menstrual cycle, pregnancy and at midlife. During the menopause there is often a shift in fat deposits from the lower to the central body. Negative body image may appear to be a problem for some women going through menopause, particularly their distress at a perceived increase in weight.
These negative feelings can also influence self esteem and sexuality. Further, society’s negative views of ageing women can be very undermining.
Changes to the body associated with menopause, such as hot flushes, have the potential to make women feel differently about their body image. Some women going through menopause report that they do not know their body any more – “I used to know what to expect from my body, now it is like my body is not under my control”.
Weight and Body Image
Even at midlife, the “ideal” look is being about looking thinner to look better. Yet it is important for the individual to be at their own healthy and comfortable weight not compared to anyone else.
While nutrition, physical activity and other behavioural patterns influence the risk of disease beyond the reproductive years, it is never too late to modify lifestyle to optimise health and wellbeing.
Useful Resources for Body Image
- Physical Activity – Adults need at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise (such as walking) most days of the week.
- Nutrition – Healthy eating and dietary recommendations.
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