Gwyneth Paltrow On How She Came To Reject Unrealistic Standards On Body Image And Ageing - Women's Health

Gwyneth Paltrow On How She Came To Reject Unrealistic Standards On Body Image And Ageing

“I know myself, I like myself, and I am so grateful for the wisdom that comes with age.”

To scroll through Gwyneth Paltrow’s Instagram page is to witness a woman deeply in love with her life. Her enthusiasm and zest for life practically sings out from the phone screen, evident in her beaming smile that takes centre stage in varied landscapes – picturesque coastlines, Italian vistas, restaurant tables crowded with food, and family dinners. Over the years, Paltrow has gone from critically acclaimed actor to Wellness Guru, and while her company – Goop – has certainly raised eyebrows with questionable products like the Vagina Candle and, more recently, a sexual libido supplement named DTF (yes, really, they went there), the fact remains that thanks to Paltrow, those conversations we used to find uncomfortable are now finally taking place. Even so, Paltrow is only human and as she recently revealed, even she has her hang-ups when it comes to body image and ageing. 

In a recent interview with People, the actor and Goop founder revealed that despite being someone countless women look up to as a source of fit-spiration and wellness, even she struggles with body image issues and ageing. Paltrow, who shared a snap of herself posing in the nude to celebrate her 48th birthday, revealed that the effects of ageing are something she continues to grapple with daily as her appearance changes. 

“Unfortunately, we’re always looking at ourselves with a critical eye,” she told the publication. “I would love to get to a place where I don’t do that anymore. I want to show up for myself in a more loving way, because it’s all going south from here! There’s nothing we can do about it.”

Known for her candour when it comes to talking about struggles most others would deem taboo – postpartum depression, sex, and body image – Paltrow has often spoken about how her first pregnancy 17 years ago was a shock to the system when it came to her changing body. “I was just coming out of my 20s when you’re in that sexy, young girl phase,” she told People, adding, “And then you’re like, ‘Well, how do I reconcile who I am now with that?’ For me, it was really about giving myself time to be a mother, and letting my body dictate where it was going.”

In the years since giving birth to her first child Apple, Paltrow also welcomed a second child, Moses. Since becoming a mother and learning to embrace her body, Paltrow has embarked on a journey of self-acceptance in which she has made a conscious choice to reject the unrealistic standards for how her body should look or the rate at which it ages. 

“We have all these expectations. Some women feel when they have kids that they don’t feel sexual because their body isn’t back yet,” she said. “But it’s like, ‘Who said our bodies have to look a certain way?’ It’s hard as you age and change. But it’s about bringing a wider spectrum of acceptance.”

Paltrow added: “For me, as I go through the ageing process and really start it, I realise it’s less about, ‘Oh, I have this wrinkle, am I going to fix it or not?’ And more, ‘Do I feel vibrant?’”

So, just what are the things Paltrow turns to when it comes to feeling vibrant? As she’ll be the first to tell you, she focuses on the “fundamentals of wellness”; things like meditation, hydration, nutrient-dense foods and cutting back on alcohol (although she admits to being human and indulging in too much alcohol during the pandemic). 

“I would never want to go back to my 20s, or even my 30s for that matter,” admits Paltrow. “I know myself, I like myself, and I am so grateful for the wisdom that comes with age.”

Now, Paltrow is bringing some of this radical self-love and acceptance to the small screen through the latest offering from Goop in a Netflix series titled, Sex, Love & Goop. Focusing primarily on sex positivity and the relationship we have with our bodies during intimacy, the series sees five couples navigate a range of topics, from intimacy to past trauma. Paltrow works alongside health experts to utilise techniques that see the couples thrive and their sexual relationships bloom. 

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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