40 is the New 30

Hahahahahahaha, not quite!  I’m ok with that.  Do I think my friends and I are making the most of our 40’s? Hell yeah!  I have a feeling that’s why I know 40’s are not the same as my 30’s.

There’s the obvious, metabolism slows done, random ailments seem to start showing up at a moments notice, the laugh lines are starting to have babies.  I’m definitely tired and let’s just say I don’t bounce back from a fun night quite as easily as I once did.

There’s the not so obvious.  I’ve started to have a deeper appreciation for my life.  I am proud of what I’ve managed to accomplish and I’m shocked that my kids survived their youth, so I’m pretty pleased with those results so far.  Let’s face it, if there was a parenting 101 handbook I didn’t read it.  I no longer worry that someone disagrees with the drink I sent them to school with or the tv show we watched last night.  I have confidence in my choices or at least have stopped fretting over trying to make everyone else happy.  It’s much easier to focus on my family, plus they’re the ones I should’ve been thinking about the whole time!  Why exactly did I let the judgmental glares of others even take up part of my day????  My biggest parking lot concern now is getting through the school parking lot without getting hit by a teen driver, scary but much easier to think about than the glares of the past.

My Forties have brought me pride, guiltless pride which I love!  I’ve become less concerned with what others have accomplished.  It took until my forties but I’ve finally grasped that we all have different abilities, we start with different challenges and benefits and it’s actually a good thing.  It’s not something to use to make myself feel like I have failed or I am a bad parent, friend, employee etc.  It’s really a blessing we all have different talents and stress hits us at different times.  If all my friends were having problems at the same time who would be there to help get everyone on track!?!

Silly but one of the best parts of being 40, is appreciating my body; dimples, veins, ailments and all.  I was forever comparing myself to others when I was younger.  Now I compare myself to me.  This has been a mental and physical change for me.  I think at some point I went from wanting to look good to wanting to feel good about me.  I want to actually feel good in my own skin.  In the past, my brain wanted to look like the models we all compare ourselves to, but I’m gonna go with genetics had a different plan.  Now, I’m happy because I feel good [most days; we all PMS sometimes!], I feel like my confidence shows and my BF just has to smile at me and then I feel like one of Beyoncé’s girls.   You know the ones that run the world;)

So aging has its ups and downs.  I am really enjoying the ups.  Confidence feels good and freedom, well that’s down right liberating.  Funny thing, I’m pretty sure the change wasn’t really how many days I’ve lived as much as learning to change the way I look at my days.  My perspective is probably one of the most powerful things in my day and I can control that!  WOW, just typing that made me start singing the Beyoncé Who Run the World song again:)

At this point I realize it’s not that life isn’t fair, life is life.  Everyone has bad days, devastating ones even.  Everyone also has wonderful days that fill our hearts with joy<3  When things are truly starting to become overwhelming I remind myself of how insanely good my next good day is gonna feel, because its true.  I’ve come to understand and appreciate without the rain I would surely lose my appreciation for the sun.

Why Diet?

At this point there’s no chance I’m going to start looking like a Victoria’s Secret Angel, so why make the effort?

Let’s be real, most of the things I’ve sacrificed aren’t exactly doing me any favors. French fries and pizza they taste so good, but they generally leave me feeling, lethargic, bloated and craving even more, usually something sweet like ice cream.  Once ice cream hits these lips, it may as well be like the explosion of a gun at the start of a race announcing, let the cravings begin!!!

When I look at it, most simple changes I’ve made are not really sacrifices. They’re better choices. Why should I stick with my diet?  I feel like diet is a little harsh, it’s more of a mid-life lifestyle change, not to be confused with a mid-life crisis;) OK, back to the reasons why I should make the changes. It’s a given, I’d love to see the number on the scale drop, and certainly not feeling like I need to use pliers to zip up my pants is a bonus. Those really aren’t my motivators, they’re just lovely benefits.  Here are four reasons why I want to stay on track.

My health is a huge motivator. My thirties brought its own set of life changes and health issues and I adjusted and faced each one. The challenge of my forties is totally different. Exhaustion is harder to combat, and I’ve started waking up with aches. Hell, sitting in my chair at work can leave me feeling as achy as a good workout used to. These changes have been subtle. They came on slowly and it’s taken a little while for my brain to understand the impact of age, maybe my brain is slowing down too, not cool! These days, it’s basically yelling, “Hey lady, you aren’t 20 and you didn’t work out, you shouldn’t ache!” Moving is helping me keep some of those aches at bay. Making better food choices is helping me cut down on headaches, sleep better and bringing some energy back. I’m already feeling stronger and healthier 6 weeks in, and I’ve only made simple changes. (K.I.S.S. keep it simple silly)

My relationship; I’m lucky my BF is joining me on the quest for dropping a few pounds and bringing sexy back, at least our version of sexy;) This is something we are doing together which makes it easier, it keeps me focused and it absolutely motivates me. (All smiles) In our lives there’s a lot going on; jobs, kids, houses, parents etc., so there’s no shortage of ways for us to support each other. The diet is a way we can support and help each other. This is something that is strengthening our relationship. I’m sure you can relate to this, work can be draining and I don’t want that to keep me from enjoying my evenings with him.  I want to get home and feel full of life even after a stressful day.  Our evening should not revolve around me being zoned out on the couch.  The changes I’m making are slowly bringing me back to life.  They are also giving me confidence.  I’m not sure if confidence affects your relationship, but when mine is low it absolutely changes me. Confidence in my appearance leads to confidence in other areas, and that definitely helps our relationship. I want my relationship to be fun and playful. The results from a small amount of effort have a huge impact on my relationship. Totally worth it!

My friends are another big reason I want to continue the journey. Being honest with myself, acknowledging I’ve entered the danger zone of 40’s fatigue and gotten fluffier than I’d like has brought me closer to my friends. It allows me to complain and relate to my friends because it’s happening to them too. Maybe it’s a little sinister but, YAY, I’M NOT ALONE! They understand when I’m hangry and don’t hold it against me. They know the challenge of a slower metabolism and how hard it is to keep at a goal that 10 years ago I would’ve conquered with ease. It’s quite possible we’re bonding over a challenge that will be a part of our lives for a long time, at least until our eye sight gives out;) The support of a good friend can push me just enough to keep going. Don’t get me wrong there’s a couple of times I’ve cussed out my BFFs under my breath because I want someone to say go ahead and be lazy. Thank goodness for fierce friends who don’t tell me what I want to hear. They tell me what I need to hear. (You know who you are!)

My kids;  I don’t need to be a certain size for my kids to love me, they’d love me even if I looked like Mrs. Claus. They keep me moving and I want to have the energy to not only get to their games but be there to cheer them on. Getting healthier is giving me that energy back. I want them to see I have made a choice to take control of my health. They need to see how good choices, even simple ones like what I snack on, have an impact on my life.  Teenagers’ emotions are so out of control showing them how exercise and diet can empower them and help them sort through their stresses is a huge lesson I want to give them. It’s just not a lesson I can teach with words, it requires living as an example.  Amazing how my kids without even trying are forcing me to manage my life, who’s teaching who???

If dieting and a few life style adjustments can lead to that many benefits, it’s absolutely worth the effort to change my approach on my day. Amazing how a few small changes are leading to a very big impact on my world and that’s exciting!!!

Peanut butter Oreo blizzard???  No thank you;)

*K.I.S.S.

alphabet-brick-wall-close-up-1115681

Over the years I’ve learned what has become a very important lesson. I want to share this because it’s giving me patience with myself. Often, I feel like we treat others with a whole lot more kindness than we do ourselves. Why is that?!? I probably have been my biggest bully throughout the years, and we all know bullying is not ok!

I’ve had to learn and accept that I don’t have a magic wand to point and change the world around me. I can’t bippity boppity boo myself into a better mother, or better friend, or a better partner. I can’t magically be thinner or smarter than I was when I woke up this morning. Even when I know what changes I need to make to improve something about myself, I’ve learned I need to give myself time to change. I think understanding this has taken me years.

Knowing what I want to change is part of the battle, deciding it’s worth the work, that’s when the change can start. As I begin to accept I really am an adult, and there’s a need for me to make big-girl choices, I also get that change is a process. (I know, I’m 42 you’d think that the adulting thing would have sunk in a couple decades ago😉). Here’s the thing, changing one thing about how I go about my day can lead to a chain reaction affecting how I can use my time throughout the day. The mere thought of trying to figure out my schedule is enough to keep me from working to improve myself. Of course, the longer I put something off, the more of a 911 situation it generally becomes. This leads to me making myself feel like a bit of an idiot for not addressing the issue sooner. Let’s call that what it is, a serious downward spiral.

Over the years I’ve adapted K.I.S.S, keep it simple silly. I’m trying to take things and break them down into small manageable changes. Dieting is a good example. I know what needs to be done to get into shape. (Exercise 4 times a week, cardio on at least three days, weight training to build muscle and help my bones, no fried food or junk food, cut back on alcohol, soda etc.) If I tried to implement all of that into my week, I would need an overhaul of my daily routine. I’d have to think differently at almost every point in my day. That’s way too much, way too fast to even get started.

Instead, I’m looking for small changes, having my water bottle in plain view, working my 15 minutes of walking into my work day, cutting out fries and potato chips. These things won’t get me to my final goal, but they’ll get me on the right path. I can manage these small changes, which means I’m not mad or frustrated at the end of each day. The small changes make it easier to be kind to myself, letting me end my day feeling good about sticking to my new goals. After a few days this confidence grows, and I start looking for the next small change.

So far, this technique is working and maintaining some semblance of sanity at my house, woohoo! Not every day will be perfect but each day I can be a little better and a little stronger than the day before. I’m going to celebrate my good choices, remind myself to be kind to me and K.I.S.S. (keep it simple silly)!

*PS. K.I.S.S. really stands for keep it simple stupid, just a small change to lighten it up:)

Can you have fun, maintain your life and be fit in your 40’s???

At 42, nearing 43, I have not been active in more than 2 years and it shows. Like most of us in my 30’s I put a few pounds on.  I managed to bring exercise back to my life and got back into shape. Of course, my version of being in shape may not be everyone’s. At the time I could knock out a 10k without much pain and effort, my weight was steady, and it managed to stay that way for 5 years. What happened??? I got busy, comfortable and if I’m being honest, LAZY!

My late 30’s was definitely a challenge; divorce, two kids, a career, several rounds with skin cancer and a soft tissue sarcoma. This was enough to give myself a little too much wiggle room in the lazy department. I mean I had built in excuses, who would want to exercise when you’re going through radiation treatments or recovering from yet another surgery. BUT in reality, I wish I would have had the capacity to be that coach that looks at the athlete and says, “oh you’re tired, life is hard, do you want this??? If you do, stop with the excuses!”

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you need a break and sometimes you need to take a nap instead of a run. If I’m being honest, that’s not how I lost my physical way in life. I’d fought to get back into shape, you’d think I’d remember all those wins and challenges, how good they had felt and how long it took to change. Instead I started losing my physical way with a big plate of nachos while watching my favorite show, or an ice cream treat after already having had garlic cheese bread and pizza. Oh, it tasted so good; can you say HAPPY BELLY?!? Overtime I kept indulging and kept allowing myself to relax and take it easy. I mean I’d earned some lazy, am I right??? At least that’s what I’d say to myself each time I decided to snuggle into my oh so comfy couch. The results, slowly all those fabulous habits eroded.

What I didn’t realize is how much it was weighing on me. I mean it showed up on the scale, that was the weight on my frame, but the real weight came mentally. Slowly I realized I was constantly comparing myself to other people. Sometimes trying to justify my choices and sometime beating myself up. Every time I went to put on a pair of pants that didn’t fit, I would curse myself. Weird thing, I realized this was affecting me not just physically but mentally as well about a year ago.  So why has it taken me so long to decide to figure this out???

I’ve finally realized, I’m scared. What if in my forties I can’t physically pull myself back together? What if it’s harder than it was in my 30’s, what if I can’t get the weight off? What if I never run another 5k?  Today I remembered something I learned when I was in my 30’s, fear is false evidence appearing real. Think about it, most things we fear are never as bad as they seem. Often, we have fears because we make assumptions or don’t have all the information to approach life’s new challenges.

I realize I was talking myself into failure before I’d even started. This usually led to more garlic cheese bread and ice cream.  I have a boyfriend, which is a new chapter in my life. He’s a partner who wants to grow and face challenges with me. He recently signed us up for the Biggest Loser contest with his company. I have decided I will take this opportunity and his support and start working on my fear of not being up to the challenge, my fear of failing.

August is the month I start looking at making positive changes, taking control and still letting myself have fun. First steps, start walking and start logging. I am tracking my activity and using myfitnesspal to track anything that goes in my mouth, that includes alcohol. Not gonna lie, I like to have a few drinks (depending on your definition of a few😉) a couple times a week, CHEERS! I’ve dusted off my running shoes, which are now walking shoes, and I have broken out the sports bras. GAME ON!

So, let’s see what reality looks like. How many good choices can I make in a week? See what I did there? I’m focusing on my good choices, not the times I will inevitably choose poorly. I mean, I want this to be a lifestyle change and I am human, there will definitely be some bumps along the way.

I will be celebrating my improvements and pausing when my will power is lacking, trying to learn along the way. There isn’t a lot of information online geared towards busy women in their 40’s. I mean there’s the basics, eat clean, exercise regularly, count calories, don’t eat fast food, stay away from soda, watch the alcohol, we all know those things. The problem is my life doesn’t always stay orderly enough to follow those “healthy guideline” This is the reason I want to share my journey.   Let’s see how I problem solve on the fly when I have no choice but McDonalds, and what secrets will truly be physical life hacks for busy ladies in their 40’s and beyond.

Can you have fun, maintain your life and be fit and in your 40’s??? I have a feeling the answer is you absolutely can! I’m about to embark on an adventure to find out exactly how it’s done in my busy world. If you would like to join me on my journey and learn a little something, or just have some laughs with me, I’m here for ya!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑