This blog post was originally published on my parenting blog, Franglaise Mummy, on 21st June 2016.

When I originally decided to blog about my 40 year old body the title that came to mind was “Coming to terms with my 40 year old body”, but the more I thought about it the more I hated the whole negativity of it, and I started to list reasons I was proud of my 40 year old body. I found lots and this blog post is now totally different to the one I initially set out to write.

So let’s get things straight before I start out here. Here are some facts about my 40 year old body:

  • I have cellulite. On my bum and thighs. I hate it. I hate it so much. But I have noticed it almost goes away when I do a decent amount of sport. So when I see it in the mirror I say to myself “That’s there because you chose to do something other than going to the gym. You don’t want it? Go to the bloody gym then!”
  • I have a belly that hangs over my waistband. Not a massive amount, but there is a definite muffin top when I wear jeans now, which was never there before. For those of a certain age from the UK, do you remember that advert “Can you pinch an inch?” from the 1980s? Well, I’m certainly pinching more than an inch these days. I find this very hard as I always had a very flat stomach and small waist (my weight was always in my legs, hips, thighs, bum etc), but you know what? I know that if I wanted to get rid of it, I could. I can stop drinking, stop eating any junk foods at all, go to the gym and the belly will go to a certain extent. But sometimes (often) there are better / more important things to do than go to the gym, and I like my social life. I like BBQs with friends. I like dinners out. I like book / wine club. I don’t want to turn into a boring person who won’t eat or drink anything just so I can keep my muffin top at bay. So if we’re out having lots of fun together, please concentrate on that and not on whether you can see my gut hanging over my jeans!
  • My boobs have definitely seen better days. I used to have dream breasts. At age 16 I was a 34D and I could totally do that pencil test (the one where you can’t hold a pencil up underneath your boobs?). I remember a boy in my class asking me if I had some kind of inner scaffolding, that’s how pert they were! But they were wasted on a 16 year old as I was full of insecurities around myself, my body, boys and all that malarkey. Now I’m 40 and they’ve served me bloody well, but they’re nowhere near where they once were! I’m just crossing my fingers that they don’t end up as knee-ticklers any time soon!
40 year old woman in bikini: l Get the life you love
The most flattering bikini shot I could get – tummy sucked in and everything carefully positioned!

I ummed and ahed about putting a bikini pic here. I’m in a bikini most of the time now that we live in Mauritius, but it doesn’t mean I particularly want to share those photos with the world. So I tried lots of different angles (with a very patient husband/cameraman) before I got a photo that I could just about handle sharing. But I wanted to put a realistic non-photoshopped 40 year old bikini shot up here to counteract all the perfect bodies we are bombarded with in conventional media.

Ok, so we’ve seen my biggest hang-ups, although I obviously have tons of other ones – bingo wings, double chin, chunky calves, wobbly thighs…

But I’m now going to tell you why I’m proud of my 40 year old body (maybe some of this rings true for you too?):

  • Despite one miscarriage and 15 months of trying to conceive babies with no luck, this body created, carried and bore two perfect little human beings. And I’ll tell you something – if I had to choose between the shittiest body in the world and my two girls or the most beautiful body in the world, then there’s no contest. Yes, I’ve got a mummy tummy which will probably never go away, no matter how hard I try. Yes, my eyes will probably permanently have dark circles under them. But my daughters (and their dad) are my world. So it’s totally worth it.
  • You see this pair of boobs that are really starting to sag? Well they fed the aforementioned girls for 22 months. They also went through 2 pregnancies (getting MUCH bigger and then smaller again), and you know, gravity. I’m not going to argue about breastfeeding here – I wanted to breastfeed both our girls, I could, I did. Not everyone wants to. Not everyone can. End of. As for me, I have no regrets that I now have saggy boobs if it’s down to breastfeeding.
  • I am able to be active with our girls. We recently went on a full-on 6 hour hike, which nearly broke me, but I could do it (this is the hike we did, but after it had rained a lot so was very muddy and the rivers much higher and trickier to cross). A few months back I played in a sponsored relay beach volleyball game to raise money for charity. I can carry both my girls for cuddles or when they need me to. My body (mostly) works. It might not be gracing any magazine front covers any time soon, but it does what it’s supposed to and that makes me happy.

Not everyone gets to be a healthy 40 year old. People get ill. People get hurt. Accidents happen. Illnesses happen. I might not always like what I see in the mirror, but if it really bothered me that much I could do something about it. I choose to eat chocolate on the sofa, curled up with my man, watching House of Cards of an evening. I know that’s not the way to a beautiful body, but it is the way to a happy me 🙂

I am proud of my 40 year old body for what it has done and what it continues to do.

And let’s face it, if I wanted it to look better I know exactly what I need to do… Did someone say BBQ? Count me in and mine’s a rum and coke!

Sophie x

I’d love to hear your comments on this one – do you hate your body when you look at yourself in the mirror? Do you feel proud of what your body’s achieved? Maybe having kids, maybe running marathons, maybe overcoming illness. Are you a gym bunny, a couch potato or somewhere in between? Do share in the comments below, anonymously if you prefer. And don’t forget to share if you think this might help/interest others 🙂

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