body image, loving your body, fabulous at forty,

Funny how time catches up with the image you have in your head of how you imagine being 40 will look like. The image above was in my very early modelling days, ahem, somewhere near Tenby on our of our family holidays. Fast forward a few decades (ouch that hurt to type) and well I’m at that place and a hell of a lot more comfortable in my own skin than I ever was in my twenties. Yes there are a few more laughter lines and the stubborn grey hairs which refuse to stay away after what feels like only 3 days after a visit to the salon, but on the whole I’m pretty happy with my lot. Sure I’d like to be a few pounds lighter, I’d quite like to have more toned upper arms and longer hair but with that said, there is one place which is never going to be my happy place and always ends up in an internal battle of indecision (partly due to being a Libra) and faffing and that is the changing room in any department store.

I’d like to consider myself a fairly rational, albeit occasionally ditzy creative type who is not obsessed with my weight and does her best to look after herself in terms of what she eats and her exercise. Get me in a changing room and I become possessed by some kind of weird fashion mag voodoo stuff which basically descends into varying conversations starting with the “does my bum look big in this” line and lots of rearranging of fabric, shuffling on one foot, shifting hair hurriedly into some kind of top knot and trying to see if heels would “fix” the outfit in question.

Why is this? After a brief stay back in the UK and on a mission to revamp my working wardrobe – I was faced with familiar territory – the ubiquitous changing room of a well known department store. I sighed heavily to myself for what I can only describe as an ordeal and mentally prepared for the battle to commence. Surely I can’t be the only woman who actually hates shopping?

After taking a good few minutes to remove the several layers I had chosen for this shopping trip (note to self not the best outfit choice but it was a bit parky) I started my assault on the three outfits I’d randomly selected during the 45 minute meanderfeast which was the selection process and found that I was actually rather enjoying the experience?! This was news to me. Perhaps it was the holidays and the lack of children so no stressful “Mum are you almost finished” moments. It could have been the fact that I was shopping for a purpose and had carefully selected my wardrobe but I think it was the light bulb moment that I was happy with my shape. For the first time in a very long time I actually looked at myself in the mirror and thought – wow ok, you look great.

This got me thinking. Why now am I much more comfortable with my own body image and is it really true that as you age you grow into the real you? I’d love to know what your experiences have been with your own style and how you see yourself. I find it fascinating still how as a society we are so pressured to look a certain way, dress a certain way or eat only certain foods. It’s quite liberating when you get to a place where you don’t care so much and that being healthy and happy far outweighs any concerns that you might not be shaping up next to the 100th photograph you’ve seen of Beyonce on a beach looking fabulous. I applaud campaigns by high street brands who have started to realise that we all want to be beautiul and size is not the issue it’s what’s inside. Perhaps if more people could get to this place earlier in their lives it would alleviate those horrible years where you never feel happy with how you are because of how you think you should look…

Remember, adventure is out there!

Nat x