It makes me cringe when I hear or read that over 40’s shouldn’t…..you fill in the gap here. (wear a short skirt or their hair long, go dancing at a night club or have tattoos)
What over 40’s shouldn’t… is give a crap about anyones rules for them.
I seriously grew up thinking this rubbish. I didn’t go out dancing at 30 because I thought I was too old! I watched everyone around me for approval and followed ALL the rules when it came to fashion. I was a boring version of what was trending for the most part.
As a teen, I would take the train into London and knowing that there, in the city, there are NO rules about style, I could really be me. I’d put together outfits I wanted to wear that were risky and edgy. I felt amazing. I’d wear clothes inspired by some hip hop video or something I’d seen in a magazine, an outfit I’d NEVER wear in my own neighborhood. I loved it. I felt fierce.
Fast forward to now and I really don’t follow anyones rules. I know what I like and I definitely cover parts that aren’t my favorite but that’s completely personal to me and my body.
I still find myself “inspired” by other peoples style choices. Let’s face it, there’s some icons out there who are well over 40, 50 and beyond.
I look at people my own age or around about it and I wonder, who would dare tell them about those archaic rules.
Yes, Ms Halle Berry (54) No short skirts or short shorts for you!
This is me! Post Covid-19 Quarantine. No gym, No diet plan, No carefully curated before and after picture. Just me, in my pj’s, feeling content with life.
You see the thing is, for the past 20 years, I’ve either been “on a diet”, just finished a diet or am in need of going “on a diet” and I finally stopped.
No More Diets for Me!
I have more “Before” pictures than I could add here and as embarrassing as it could be to share them, here they are. The real me, unedited.
The first ones here are from 2002 but my very first “before” picture was in the year 2000.
It was my very first step on this yo-yo journey and it all began when I wasn’t even an ounce overweight.
My hunny wanted to try a weightlifting program he’d read about and I enjoyed sports and physical activities. He needed a bit of moral support, and me being the super wife that I am, decided to join him.
It was a 12 week program with diet and exercise. I surprisingly dropped 2 clothes sizes, packed on some muscle definition and lost a bit of body fat in that 3 month period. I didn’t have an accurate way of measuring back then so the scale was my guide and despite obvious physical changes, I only saw that scale weight as a disappointment.
All I can remembered feeling at the time, was embarrassed of how big my bum still was. Wow! kids today would’ve been coveting that ripe peach.
In 2001 I went on to have another baby, number 4 for me and after gaining 50lb again with that pregnancy, despite my desire and effort to be a “fit” Mum, I had some fat to lose, so I figured I’d get back on my “diet”.
Sound familiar anyone? down then up, down then up. I lost and gained the same 20lb over and over.
The sad part of the story comes with the lack of “After” pictures I could find.
I scrolled as far back as my phone goes and only found a few. The ones I have, showed me pulling faces, clearly embarrassed to be “posing” in my less than perfect state. I couldn’t see the shoulders, the abs, the face or the biceps. Only the lack of something, a flaw, those damm thick thighs.
Now you may think I just never finished my programs all the way but that is just not the case. Clearly, my family pics taken a few months after each of my “befores” show me more lean and I can tell I was looking better but for some reason, I was unsatisfied. It wasn’t good enough. Not worthy of the pictures.
Funny story: It was a time when everyone seemed to put decals of their latest marathon conquest or extensive bike ride brag on their car windows. Boyd decided to put my Bodyfat % in a decal on my back window as a joke (I had measured my body composition in a bod pod)
We walked out of a restaurant and saw a couple of guys puzzled over the “17.2” on the glass. One looked at me and said ” what’s that? two thirds of a marathon?” with a smirk. to which I smugly replied ” nope, it’s my body fat percentage” and he became wide eyed and said “right on!”
He was impressed and I was proud of myself for a change.
Over the years, I’d tried so many plans.
Body for Life
I even went to a camp in Colorado for a week.
I’m sure there were more and several I did multiple rounds of but the truth is:
THEY ALL WORKED!
They worked for the period of time I stuck to them and as soon as I reached my goal weight or size or body fat %. I was done.
Time to celebrate.
Bring on the free meal, the cheat meal, the cheat day the cheat vacation. As soon as I reached the goal, I could go back to “normal” eating which included drive thrus, all you can eat buffets and quite often, things I just wouldn’t normally even want.
After years of this pattern I finally got to the point where I just didn’t start. I made jokes about working on my “Before” pics, that I had a free day in 2012 that hasn’t ended. I ate like it was my last meal ever because I knew at some point I’d be back at it, depriving myself again. I had to make the most of this moment. Food and I did not have a healthy relationship.
So fast forward to today and answer the 20lb question:
How am I here looking all slimline and sexy when everyone else gained weight in quarantine???
The truth is, I have no real answer but I can tell you this:
About a year ago, I told myself, no more diets. I thought about all the things I’d “learned” over the past 20 years, about food and threw it away. All carbs aren’t bad, fat isn’t bad, eating only bacon isn’t fine (even if you loose 20lb in a month, true story) Fast food doesn’t give you acne, I don’t need x number of calories, I don’t need more protein, 6 meals a day, or to give up caffeine or sugar completely. The stories in my head went on and on. When did I give up all fruit because it was too high in sugar???
My new story goes like this:
No foods are off limits.
I eat when I’m hungry and not as a social event.
I Stop when I’m done or have had enough to satisfy the taste.
I eat fruit and veggies and pay attention to energy and activity.
If it leaves me feeling bloated or lethargic? Then sometimes I avoid it.
I Get outside.
I go on a daily walk or bike ride, leisurely not heart rate raising.
I started to exercise at home, just once a week at first with elastic bands, now 3-4 times and I even went to a big gym.
I dance, any chance I get, Zumba, U-Jam, Retro riots.
My man is no longer working in another state so I’m less busy.
I’m less stressed.
I have better and more sex (yep I said it, it matters)
My hormones are balanced.
But mostly, I have a more positive attitude towards my body. It has been showing up for me for years, despite my abuse and neglect. I am grateful that all my body parts function and I am aware that in my worst state, I was still in a place many could only dream of.
I no longer care about the scale or body fat %, just how I feel and that I can perform all the fun things I want to do.
I am fine in a bikini, imperfections and all and am happy to take pictures to document the fun events I get to take part in, I don’t worry about the roll or the bumps.
I Say NO! to diets.
I encourage you to think through some of the stories you have in your head about your body and your relationship with food or exercise. Is it serving you well or holding you back?
Then when you’re NOT trying, you could get a “Before” & “After” like this one.
In an ideal world, we’d all have had a top notch skin care routine and regular visits to the med spa since our mid 20’s but to be honest, most 40 somethings weren’t taking selfies all day as our face morphed into our mothers so we didn’t notice the need for such things until one day, we saw ourself in someone else’s picture and thought “DAMN!” I need…….something??? The question though is, what?
There are so many factors that determine how our skin ages from genetics and lifestyle to air pollutants and climate. The way we’ve protected it in our youth plays a factor and for the most part, if you’re an 80’s child, you didn’t use protection at all you used baby oil and fried yourself. We all wanted the glow but unfortunately that abuse shows up later on our skin along with any other abuse we’re now in therapy for.
So to answer the question, where to start?
My answer will always be botox (or dysport or jeuveau or xeomin) If you want the quick fix, the biggest bang for your buck, then a neurotoxin placed correctly in the forehead and eye area, will relax and soften those lines or prevent new ones forming. It’s the best place to start. Botox is charged by the unit and ranges from $9-12 per unit. Patients are getting between 20-60 units and occasionally more but I would plan for around 40 starting out. It lasts around 12 weeks for most people but your lines don’t just reappear on day 90 so some can stretch out visits. There are also coupons and incentives from the manufacturers so ask about those but don’t settle for the closest groupon, still look for someone recommended and experienced, they might even price match if you ask.
This should really be number one but I say skip straight to botox then ask questions. Don’t be afraid to consult with an experienced Aesthetician. Most of us are fluffy, feel good people, it’s why we do what we do. I know it’s scary to walk into a med spa,
“my first time was hilarious. I had some questions about laser hair removal and before I knew it, I was in the back room with a couple of disposable razors trying to get rid of my 70’s situation. Feeling fresh and clean, she started my treatment and it wasn’t until she flipped me over on my face did I realize I even had hair back there. Like a pro, she grabbed a razor, finished the job and voila, I was a believer.”
Most of us already know we want and need all the things but it’s usually our budget that determines what is actually possible. Most great spas offer complimentary consults and you can ask all the questions you like. Be straight and tell them you’re just getting started, you’re overwhelmed and you have a limited budget. Take notes if you like so you can plan for future treatments. The larger spas often have more equipment and treatments available so they’ll give you more comprehensive information on your options where as a small place with only one laser is going to tell you there’s is the best and while that may be true, start with all the info at least, then shop around for the particular service you need.
Some place’s specialize in just one thing like hair removal or injectables while others have a wide range and can take care of it all. Most places offer package deals or memberships with reduced pricing or incentives to bring friends and shop more. Some get you in and out at the speed of light and others take their time to make sure you’re comfortable. There are many options so get a feel for what would work for you.
If you don’t want to go the consult route, most places will offer a signature facial on there menu. It usually includes a thorough cleaning, some exfoliation, hydration and protection. If it’s a great facial it will also include a skin consult under a lamp where they can advise you on home care and treatments for your concerns. This is generally less like a sales pitch but don’t be afraid to as questions, you’ll get great info that you can take away and while you may be offered products, you can say you’ll have a think about it because you will after all. The best facial includes massage and something extra like a foot scrub or hand treatment and you should feel generally relaxed at the end.
Armed with the information from your consult or facial, you can build your homecare routine. This will have a huge impact in the long term and will also increase the positive effects of any treatments you’re getting. Don’t waste your money on a treatment if you’re not going to take care of things at home. It’s like going to the dentist twice a year but not brushing in between visits. Whatever is sitting on your skin at bedtime is absorbing in whether it’s dirt and makeup or a delicious serum. Even half ass home care is better than none but ideally, skin needs to regularly be:
all of which can happen at home and then the spa trips become about the repair and prevention with an occasional pamper, fluffy thing thrown in.
I’m going to do a series of what treatments work for what skin concerns but for a quick glossary of services you’ll hear about and to consider:
Basic Facials or Targeted facials- $50-150 (all skin types)
Chemical peels $75-200 (various skin concerns, mild to aggressive)
Lasers $200- $2,000 + (various skin concerns)
So take a selfie right now and file it away as a “before” picture then ask your best looking friends where they go for things because the chances are they’ll get a referral perk and you’ll be close on their hotness heels before you know it. A year from now your selfie game could be so much stronger or at least your trauma caused by others taking pictures of you will diminish.
I think there’s an unspoken rule that retired men leave home to golf for extended periods just to escape the “crazy” wife. The golf buddies share a knowing nod and console each other meanwhile the women, who’s tried to look hot her whole life is now, literally on fire, with pain, bloating and mood swings that make her want to curl up in a ball or kill someone. It makes me wonder how lesbian couples make it through these years together when the odds are that 50-100% of the couple, is ready to punch you in the face at any given time????
If you ask me though, and I’m going to tell you my opinion anyway, this sluggish, weight gain, loss of interest blah blah feeling, can happen way before retirement. I think the first time I went to a GP with the above symptoms was in my mid 30’s. They did one thyroid test, told me I was fine and I went home thinking he knew best and continued feeling crap with no explanation. Maybe I was just busy and tired. What I didn’t know was, there are multiple hormones to test and the “fine” range is so vast that you can feel crappy at the bottom or fabulous at the top of the “fine”range and who doesn’t want to feel fab? We call it “OPTIMAL”
So fast forward 10 years and imagine my excitement when I discovered that the afternoon slump” the “can’t be bothered to go to the gym” and the “don’t touch me, I’m sleeping” can all be addressed with a blood test and a few hormones. When testing is done by the right people, the results tell you all sorts about yourself. Like I need an iron supplement and some Vitamin B. You may choose to not change anything but the info is powerful none the less.
Of course, all I want is everything so I followed instructions for all the things and can testify the my new “balanced” restoration of hormones not only makes me feel like I’m regaining my youth but I don’t have to deal with the crappy pre or menopausal symptoms either.
I know someone’s likely screaming at the computer
“But Nat! HORMONES GIVE YOU CANCER”
Well I ask you “do they though?” go do the research.
Certainly there’s risks and side effects to all medicine, and at a specialty clinic, you’ll be monitored for all of them, but since 100% of my direct relatives have died due to cancer of some sort, I’m pretty sure the odds are against me anyway and I’d rather have a flat belly, good energy and a banging sex life (yeah I said it) whilst not sweating through my sheets and strangling my husband because of course it’s his fault (jk) than the 0.00000001% chance of possible increase risk of cancer.
So if you wanna chat about it, leave me a question in the comments and I’ll add it in.
Just remember I am not a doctor but I work with docs who specialize in this and I’m happy to share my experience.