What is it about turning 40? One day, you wake up, and suddenly grey hair appears in places it never did before. Tiny lines begin to form around your face when you smile, but they never seem to go away. A belly pooch develops out of nowhere or maybe you notice your booty starting to sag. Stress levels are at an all time high because of kids, career and finance, and a lot of women start to experience depression and anxiety. Your routine is still the same, yet all these changes are taking place. Why is this happening and what can we do about it?
After the age of 35, we begin to lose about 1% of bone mass per year. Our metabolism slows down by about 2% per decade and our muscle mass drops by roughly 6-7 pounds from what it was 10 years prior. When we lose muscle, our resting metabolism dips and we start to burn fewer calories. If we continue to eat the same foods as in our 20’s or 30’s, we will typically see a weight gain. The weight shifts from our hips and thighs into our abdomen, shoulders and chest. In addition, an increase in belly fat has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Let’s face it…. There are some things we can’t control. It just comes along with the aging process. Estrogen levels drop and things like night sweats and mood swings become a thing of the norm. Your thyroid may start to function less efficiently and you may experience constipation or an intolerance to temperatures. Obviously, these things should all be discussed with your physician. Routine test can be performed and medication given where necessary.
Then there are things we absolutely can control, however not enough women are doing anything about it. Things like smoking, physical activity and nutrition are all lifestyle choices that can make a huge impact on our quality of life. Strength training and weight bearing exercises can slow down bone loss. In our 40’s, fat burning requires a little more effort. Exercise can help you feel better by improving sleep and maintaining a healthy weight. It also has been shown to decrease stress levels, which in turn, will lower your chance of developing depression or anxiety.
It may be time to reanalyze the food you put into your body. Eating foods rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fiber and lean protein will help your body function at a more optimal level, supporting bone, heart and digestive health. Are you drinking enough water every day? Are you eating foods rich in water content? These are some things to ask yourself. Our cells need water and oxygen to survive. We need it to breakdown substances and eliminate waste. If waste is not eliminated, toxins build up and disease will ultimately happen.
I started noticing a few of these changes in my body around the age of 39, and I decided to take an in depth look at my daily routine. I realized that if I didn’t do something different with my nutrition and exercise program, I was going to end up as that frumpy 40 year old I didn’t want to be. The changes I made weren’t huge. In fact, I just tweaked a few things here and there. But I’ve found what works for me, and now, at the age of 42, I’m in the best shape of my life.
My mission moving forward is to help other women get in shape and stay in shape. It’s not just about looking good anymore. It’s about our overall health and longevity. It’s about having enough energy to play with our kids. It’s about decreasing the stress in our lives and living life to our fullest potential.