Aging happens, but it doesn’t have to ruin your life.
Even so, some days it looks and feels like aging is winning.
Wrinkles. Achy bones. A Babka sized muffin top.
We may hate our wrinkles, but deep down, the idea of aging into disability or chronic illness is far worse.
And for good reason.
The airwaves are polluted with ads for prescription medications featuring (mostly) older actors.
We all know parents, siblings, and other relatives who are infirm, suffering from common diseases.
We read about the epidemic of loneliness and the effect it has on our health.
(Haven’t read about that connection? Here’s a 4-minute read on that.)
Or, you may be living with the myth that “if it runs in the family, you can count on getting” ___________ fill in the blank.
That’s just not true. And it’s a conversation for another time.
For now, trust me.
For evidence, check out this article from NeuroscienceNews.com.
Despite that fact, the stats can be scary.
Heart disease is still the #1 killer of women and cancer is not far behind. Alzheimer’s disease might be the one we fear most and for good reason. Women with Alzheimer’s outnumber men two to one regardless of age.
These lifestyle diseases, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and now Alzheimer’s are preventable and reversable in all but a small percentage of cases.
Why am I talking about diseases and genes in an article on looking and feeling younger than your age?
Because all diseases contribute to or cause inflammation and inflammation ages us.
It rusts us inside and wrinkles us on the outside.
Now for the good news.
The same habits that can prevent or reverse diseases can also help us look and feel better!
Here are my 9 must have habits of women who enjoy good health, look younger than their age, and feel younger than their years.
Living in the 9 won’t guarantee you’ll never get sick or that you get to skip all forms of serious health setbacks.
It does mean you will have a stronger immune system and a stronger body. You’ll be ready mind and body to get through whatever comes your way so you can get back to the business of being fabulous.
The 9 aren’t only tips about food and exercise.
They’re here. Four tips for a healthy body.
Four inner game habits to cultivate.
PS – Those four make the other four easier to adopt and stick with.
Let’s get started with your 9 habits checklist.
(In case you are doing the math, the habits I mentioned add up to 8. The last one wasn’t easy to categorize.)
List the things you are tolerating in your life.
Why start here?
Tolerations are things that steal our focus and energy.
By identifying what you are unhappy with about your health, your body, how you look, how you feel, or about your life in general you get a clear idea of where to start, which thing needs your attention most so you can move it out.
If you don’t get specific, you’ll end up with spotty results, get frustrated and quit.
Once you have your list, (feel free to let it all flow, nothing is off limits), choose one small thing to take care of right away. It’s no good just capturing them all and staring at the list, lamenting how much better life would be if only they were taken care of.
For instance, if you are sporting a size or two more than you prefer, what do you want to add to your days to turn that around? Using the lifestyle tips here are a great place to start.
As you get the items on our list handled you make room for something you want vs a needless distraction. Oh, and after you do one, pick the one you’ll do next. Don’t make the list a toleration.
Eat By Color. You may have heard this before, but when was the last time you looked at your plate to count the colors? A variety of fruit and vegetables give you important antioxidants like polyphenols. They scavenge the “bad guys” called free radicals. They also lower inflammation by reducing your acid load.
Adding plenty of these diverse and delicious foods into your diet provides more fiber. Fiber is king when it comes to overall digestive health and oh yeah, regular elimination. #Poopisgood
Eat protein at every meal and snack.
Protein keeps us satisfied longer, does not affect blood sugar levels and is the basis for building up all that breaks down internally. Don’t know why you want stable blood sugar? See Thing 4.
Protein also aids in slowing down any carbohydrates you might be eating at the same time.
You likely already know that blood sugar is one of the components of balanced energy but too much of a good thing leads to metabolic syndrome, diabetes, fatigue, mood swings, cravings, and a few other undesirable experiences.
In practice this could look like a bit of cheese or nut butter—with that piece of toast; fish, chicken, or tofu in your fried rice or noodle bowl; nuts with your chocolate.
Strive for balanced blood sugar throughout the day.
This really should be in all caps. Not because I like to yell at you but because it is one of the most important health habits to cultivate.
Blood sugar rises naturally after we ingest food.
How much food and what kinds make all the difference.
Protein, fat and fiber are your friends.
Everything else, not so much.
Not that any foods are bad just that some—starches and sugars and things that go bump in the night turn into sugar—can lead to a bad thing called insulin resistance, diabetes, and inflammation.
Many of the symptoms of middle age—including the disease processes above–are fueled by the blood sugar roller coaster.
How the heck do you even know if your blood sugar is balanced or not?
Start by checking in after you eat. How do you feel?
If you are energized after a meal and remain that way ‘til you get hungry next you are in a good zone. If you eat and feel sleepy not long after, wake up tired every day, have a jiggle belly and can’t seem to get rid of it, have regular cravings — you are out of balance.
Just let it go.
If you have friends that stir it up just to feel alive, divorce them if they can’t or won’t adjust the volume around you.
Look at the list of tolerations you wrote and see if any are creating drama.
Got a car that needs a repair — take care of it.
Living a life that’s stifling? What’s the price of staying?
The drama that comes with making a big life or relationship change might seem out of the questions but all too often, the body will find a way to let you know it’s time to get this sorted.
Thing 5 is vitally important.
Take it to heart for even a moment and see if there is something waiting in the wings that you can control now by taking some kind of action.
Even if it promises to be hard, ugly, unpredictable, or seems impossible.
There is always a way out of “no way.”
And the toleration is not living rent free in your heart or your head.
Love yourself enough to take it on.
The Yumm Factor, include it every day.
It’s what makes life delicious whether it’s chocolate, wine, salad, a walk, time with your loved ones or an animal makes no difference.
Every day do things you enjoy just for the heck of it. Watch a funny or moving YouTube video, read a poem, call a friend and gab, eat something sinful and enjoy every last bite — no guilt, no beating yourself up after.
Your sanity will thank you and when you live by the motto Exess in Moderation, all foods have a place in our lives.
Connect with your inner fabulon.
Your inner fabulon, the you that feels alive, powerful, beautiful— she’s always in there you know.
What do you wear every day? Does it make you feel good?
How do you speak to yourself every day? Are you nice or nasty girl — nasty is a prescription for drying out your soul and crushing your motivation to live your dreams?
Do you have symptoms that contribute to exhaustion or not liking the way you look? Got a few extra lbs that spark that self-loathing and helplessness feeling? Reach out and connect with someone who can help. There is no reason to suffer and what… let years slip by because you “don’t know what to do or where to start?
Come on, you’re a smart woman. Ask the women in your circle who are radiant what they do. Find a professional who can help. A doctor might be able to help with symptoms. A coach (like me) can help with life’s confusions, weight loss, self esteem and so much more.
Speaking of movement, do it.
Regardless of where you are on the fitness scale matters not at all, your body craves moving. Evolution designed us to think on our feet.
Did you know that we improve every single marker of aging when we get daily exercise.
Your physical limitations—pain, replacements, broken thises and that’s — are all real and not a good enough excuse to do nothing, unless that’s your doctor’s prescription for healing.
Moving juices your emotions via endorphins, feel good creatures that flow freely when we exercise. It also moves blood, which can help reduce inflammation—a contributor to pain.
Not to mention activity improves your resting blood pressure and blood sugar. Improved sleep, sex and memory are all also on the list of benefits.
And if you want strong bones and a toned look, nothing beats weight-bearing exercise. While I advocate a combination of cardio, natural movement throughout the day, and weight bearing exercise, anything beats nothing in this game.
This is nothing new but I had to throw it in because as I mentioned above, we improve every single marker of aging when we get daily exercise.
Besides, who’s going to nag you if I don’t?
Oh and don’t forget to hydrate now that you are moving more.
Be who you most want to be. There isn’t time to be anyone else or anything someone else wants us to be.
I don’t know about you, but somewhere along this adult timeline with the speed of life, the desire to make things work in relationships, be a “good” wife, appreciate all I have, and love “what is,” some of who I most want to be got buried or lost.
One aspect of what I most want to do in the world is help women figure out how to live fully expressed and happy.
Hmm, am I doing that? Yes — and there is room for improvement.
What about you?
Do you wish something were different?
If that something would make you happy or happier, what stands in the way of you having it?
Living the second half full out is in part, looking at those “if onlys” to see if we need a big change or a small one, then taking on the work of doing what needs to be done.
Creating a life we love is no small task, and people both complicate and enrich the process all at once. Some days all we can do is have the doughnut.
What matters most is how you feel in your day to day.
It’s your one life. Don’t let it drain away — spend it passionately going after whatever helps you feel most like you.
Keep this list of 9 handy for those days when you need a bit of a boost.
Let me know if I can help.