On Body Image In My Thirties

Growing up, I never had a particularly healthy relationship with my body. I always overate and ended up much bigger than all of my friends, then finding myself focused on losing as much as possible and tettering on the edge of an eating disorder; at neither end of the spectrum was I any happier, because it’s not about the size of your clothes or the weight on the scales, but how you feel inside. For most of my life I’ve dabbled with diets and lifestyle choices aimed at satifying my need to fit into the societal norm, but the results were only ever temporary – as soon as I started eating normally again, or stopped going to the gym to burn off what I’d eaten for lunch that day, I found myself back to square one and feeling all the worse for putting myself through it. My twenties were spent pretending to love myself but actually loathing what I saw pretty much every time I looked in the mirror, but when I hit the big 3-0 something clicked inside me and I really started not to care.

A cliche I’m sure, but as your third decade creeps up on you it seems all those issues, concerns and worries you had as a teen or twenty-something seem to fade away – being replaced with rediscovered confidence and respect for all your body does for you on a daily basis. I stopped being concerned with what other people thought of me, I stopped caring about the label inside of my clothes and I stopped worrying about whether or not I should eat the cake. (The answer is always eat the cake!) With age undoubtedly comes the ability to gain perspective, to appreciate the wider issues in the world and to celebrate our own uniqueness; complaining about having a wobbly bum, bingo wings or a tummy that sticks out over the top of your jeans seems nothing in comparison to losing loved ones, seeing the country’s economy go down the toilet or dictators coming into power.

Happiness is a choice, and I made that choice for myself and my wellbeing.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have a longer pair of legs, boobs
that have seen better days and hips that actually fit into dresses, but
that doesn’t stop me being grateful for what I do have and realising
that diversity is what makes our world so beautiful. I’ve learned to
dress for my body shape (and my age) without sacrificing style, sticking
to a few key looks that I know work for me and allow me to feel good –
rather than self concious or worrying about the fact a garment doesn’t
quite fit. Gone are the days when I’d buy something just because it was
cool or on-trend that season, instead reaching for cuts and colours work
for me; and if that means swapping Topshop and New Look for a lot of
Next and Marks & Spencer then I’m totally there for it.

What I’ve found fascianting about the last few years is how my body is changing; I’ve been gaining a little extra cushioning in certain areas that were never historically a problem, and seeing parts of me that were once my fave evolve into areas I’d rather keep covered up. (Bingo wings, I’m looking at you!) It’s medical fact that your metabolism starts to slow in your thirties and we find ourselves tackling issues that we never even considered in the decade before, but for me that’s brought with it an increasing ‘f*ck it’ attitude to love the body I’m in and look after it in every way I know how.

I’m never going to be super skinny, just like I’m never going to be
5ft 8, but I do make an effort to go to the gym a couple times a week
and ensure I have a balanced diet; my downfalls may be coffee, diet coke
and sweets, but I counteract that by eating a tonne of fruit and veg
alongside water and supplements to ensure I’ve got all the minerals I
need. It’s about a heathy balance and finding happiness alongside
respect for your body – because it keeps you breathing, moving and
enjoying life without you having to think about it.

So
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: my body has changed a lot in
the last few years, and definitely not for the better, but I’m ok with
that. I’m ok with it because I’m thankful for what it does for me, I’m
happy with the curves I have and how I feel walking down the street, and
I couldn’t really give a toss about what anyone else has to say about
it. I’ve earned my right to live my life the way I want to, and if that
way is having a slice of cake and a glass of prosecco at the expense of
my growing waistline every so often – so be it.

My body, my choice.

Pictures taken by Kaye Ford
 

BooHoo Embroidered Boho Dress | £25.00 | SIMILAR HERE

Kate Spade Tassel Sandals | £110.00 | SIMILAR HERE

Circle Basket Bag | £30.00 | SIMILAR HERE

SHOP THE LOOK 

SIGN UP TO MY MONTHLY NEWSLETTER HEREEXCLUSIVE NEWS, GIVEAWAYS & INFO ON WHAT YOU’VE MISSED!

Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.  

16 Comments

  1. Kay
    July 9, 2018 / 9:49 am

    Love this post!! I was always the opposite, in my teens and twenties I was so incredibly skinny that I couldn't find clothes to fit (this was before shops started selling smaller sizes). I felt terrible and self conscious all the time. After having three children in my thirties my metabolism and body changed a lot, I have gone from a B cup to a DD and up several dress sizes. Now in my fifties I only have to look at food tout weight on, funny how when we get we wanted we realise we don't actually want it after all. I am slowly coming to terms with my body and trying to be happier about it. xx

    • Hayley Hall
      July 9, 2018 / 11:53 am

      Thanks for sharing your story Kay – it's difficult when you start to see changes and you assume you'll be one way forever! But loving ourselves for all we are is all we can ask for. x

    • Hayley Hall
      July 10, 2018 / 7:25 am

      No, but I'll check it out – thank you!

  2. Erin Russell
    July 9, 2018 / 5:59 pm

    I love this so much! I have swapped Topshop and Zara for Next recently, time to accept they just are not built for people with large bum/thighs. I really want to be body confident by my 30s (I'm 27 right now) because I am SO self conscious all the time right now, and I am so done feeling so poop about myself! Erin || MakeErinOver

    • Hayley Hall
      July 10, 2018 / 7:26 am

      Honestly, when you get to your 30s you genuinely stop worrying so much and learn to love everything you have to offer – but until then, always remember you're unique and brilliant just the way you are!

  3. Jo
    July 9, 2018 / 7:30 pm

    You look absolutely beautiful and it's always great to see your rocking various outfits – there has been change in recent years but it's still tiresome to see such a narrow view of beauty in the media when people are all so different. Anyway, I meant to comment because I read your article about chub rub and forgot to comment on that. As a fellow sufferer, I can report that bandalettes are a life changer. Zero rub!

    • Hayley Hall
      July 10, 2018 / 7:27 am

      Thanks Jo! And yes to the chub rub life savers!

  4. Merkitty Blog
    July 10, 2018 / 2:42 pm

    I love that you're more accepting of yourself now you're in your thirties. I'm 32 now and I wish I had the same kind of views as you. I'm extremely body insecure and I feel it's just as bad as when I was a teenager, if not worse. One day I strive to feel as confident as you do. Maybe it will click for me too one day. Here's hoping!

    • Hayley Hall
      July 12, 2018 / 7:47 am

      Honestly, just start celebrating the bits about you that are great and appreciating the uniqueness of even the bits that you have issue with – we're all built to walk/breathe/laugh and we often put focus on a bit of wobble that in the bigger scheme of things isn't important. Hoping you find your inner confidence soon xx

  5. Mz Neti
    July 10, 2018 / 6:37 pm

    Well said. . . Love the body you're with right now, and continue to Enjoy this blessed Life.www.madamtoomuch.com

  6. Pam Scalfi
    July 11, 2018 / 9:15 am

    I'm not yet 30 but I feel the same way. I've stopped to care on what others think. I will happily wear that bikini or swimsuit and feel good about it. I have also stopped going so much to these hot fashion stores. I mush prefer Matalan, M&S and the likes because they make clothes that just fit better on me and my not a size 0 body. I love this post, and what can I say you look truly gorgeous in this styling!Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

    • Hayley Hall
      July 12, 2018 / 7:48 am

      Thank you Pam! Going to stores like H&M and Topshop can be so damaging – I often can't fit in even their biggest sizes because they're so inconsistent with their cuts, even though I'll pick up a S14 in somewhere like M&S!

  7. Michelle Blackadar
    July 17, 2018 / 5:54 pm

    LOVE THIS! im currently in my 20s and no matter how many times i try to tell myself i love myself i can always tell that it’s a lie. this was really motivating to me and encouraging that i’m not doomed to hate myself for the rest of my life unless i become skinny. sending lots of love xx ~ Mich | simplymich.com

  8. Bettye/Fashion Schlub
    August 6, 2018 / 5:57 pm

    LOVE this post (and your darling dress)!!! It took me a loooong time to get to the point where I could say I really didn't care that I didn't look like most of the people around me…so I'm impressed and glad for you that you got there so young!I found you from a link on Not Dressed as Lamb's "unmissable reads" post…and will be back!Bettyehttps://fashionschlub.com

  9. Sharon Sinclair-Williams
    August 15, 2018 / 6:08 pm

    Came across from Catherine @notlamb but I already have followed you for ages. I love your positivity about your body, Hayley. I'm 55 and only just starting to embrace it .. probably as a result of starting my blog last year. Being surrounded by such positivity in the blogging community is so empowering. I've always struggled with why other people are so bothered with my weight and suddenly I just don't care.You always look gorgeous … Sharon xo

Leave a Reply