Q: “Hi Paige, In the last couple of years I’ve noticed A TON of changes in my body. Even though I haven’t made any lifestyle changes (i.e. exercise, what I’m eating, sleep, etc.), my clothes are fitting tighter. Did you notice changes like this, too, in your early twenties?”
A: What a great question!
Bottom line. YES! I totally noticed changes in my body in my early twenties.
The most frustrating part?
I was SO unsure if this was normal or not. I’d find myself Googling “Is it normal for a womans body to change in her twenties?”
I’d come up with nothing.
Though I guessed that yes, it was probably normal, I wanted to hear someone else SAY that it was normal. I didn’t want to feel alone in my changing body. But nothing… no one talked about this…
That left me wondering things like:
Am I doing something wrong?
Maybe I HAVE made changes and I’m just not aware of them…
Should I be worried about this? Should I fix it?
Is this normal?
It also left me in a constant state of wanting to hang onto clothes that were too small, curious and impatient wondering if one day they would fit when I figured out “what I was doing wrong” and “how to fix it.”
GAH. The self-doubt and insecurity this caused…
Can any of you relate? If so, I’d love to hear in the comments because truly… this is not something that is talked about!
If I were to look back and support my early-twenties-self… here’s what I’d say to her:
Dear Younger Paige,
It’s totally normal that your body is changing. You do not need to fix her. Instead, have grace for your changing body. Don’t shame her. She loves you.
Go and buy some clothes that you didn’t wear in high school. Honor your body. Love her and care for her. Treat her well.
Rather than focusing on “fixing” yourself or worrying whether you’re “doing something wrong,” embrace her. Embrace that all women’s bodies change.
Look at the older women around you. Look at the women who are in their 50’s. Who of these women have had NO changes in their body? That’s right. None. We ALL experience changes in our bodies. Whether it’s wrinkles, hips, or bigger pants.
The moment you go out and buy clothes that fit you is the exact moment that you’ll begin to be less critical of yourself. So don’t wait for that. Buy a few things that fit you now. You’ll be so much more comfortable.
Just like how in high school you no longer wore your middle school clothes, don’t expect your adult self to wear your high school clothes.
Allow your body to change. Instead of focusing on controlling her, focus on taking incredible care of her and let the number on the scale (ditch that too, as soon as you can) determine itself. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t identify you.
Oh, and find a hobby OTHER than focusing on controlling your body; it’s the least interesting hobby you’ll have in your life (I can promise you this – the future is bright).
Your Future Self
(who loves you no matter what)
Share your thoughts with me and all who are reading, in the comments. I’d love to create some conversation around this. Especially since I know there will be many different angles around what bodily changes may look like for each of us.
I promise you, beating yourself up and constantly trying to FIX yourself will only make it harder to feel better about yourself. So join me, and even if you’re trying to feel better (that’s okay!), do so with love, compassion, and grace. Be slow about your progress. Don’t force it.
To end, I want to say that I’ll probably (definitely) be coming back to this post in my thirties, talking about how our bodies change in our thirties, then forties, then fifties, etc… This is a challenge that we’re all going to have to work through for a lifetime. So we may as well learn to do it with grace, right?
Otherwise, how long will we be fighting the natural changes in our bodies? (I don’t want to do that, and I’m going to guess that you don’t want to either.)
All of my love!