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Top 5 Tips About Turning 40

40When I turned 40, I wasn’t vaguely bothered by the fact I was turning 40. After all, it’s just a number.

But, a lot of people I knew were significantly bothered about leaving their 30s behind. They got depressed, went into denial, all kinds of things.

Why?

It’s not a death knell to having fun and experiencing life. After all doesn’t the saying go “life begins at 40”, and nowadays 40 is the new 30.

In the 16th century average life expectancy fluctuated between 30 and 40 and didn’t actually rise above 40 until mid-19th century

Even in 1905 the average life expectancy was just over 49 years.

So you could say that back then reaching 40 was an achievement and considered pretty old.

Today though, average life expectancy is a lot higher, so why is there still this stigma attached to turning 40?

That aside, here are the top 5 tips I learned as I climbed over the hurdle:

Tip 5 – Watch your weight (aka Middle Age Spread)

You know when you were younger, you could polish off pretty much anything you fancied food-wise and have room for more with no fear that your jeans wouldn’t fit the next day?

Middle-age spread is not a myth.

I’ve always been fairly obsessive of my weight as you know, but when I hit 40 those few pounds I put on were not quite so easy to shift.

In fact, 2 years ago I was probably the heaviest I have been for over 20 years. I mean a lot of people probably wouldn’t even have noticed, but I did. My jeans started to feel a little too tight – and this is coming from the girl who always buys a pair of jeans 2 sizes to big to start with – and I just felt uncomfortable.

Nothing I did seemed to shift the weight.

In the end I radically adjusted my diet. I gave up sugar, completely, for about 3 months and the weight fell of. Then I gradually started introducing the sugar again, and when I felt a bit heavy, cut it out.

And I started exercising more. Nothing ridiculous like 5 hours at a gym every day. No. I found some fab workout DVDs which I could do at home – and yes I know you need the willpower to make yourself do it – but they were 10 minute workouts. If I had enough time to take out to make a cup of tea, I had enough time whilst the kettle was boiling to do a 10 minute workout.

2 years down the line I feel healthier than ever. It is now part of my daily routine to exercise and if I want a piece of cake I will have it, but just cut down on the sugar for the next couple of days.

So, don’t forget to watch your weight.

Tip 4.  Mid-Life Crisis

I guess, turning 40 does make you ponder about your life; what you’ve done, what you regret doing, what you regret not doing, what you feel you should have done, what you feel life is all about.

Of course, the answer to that one is 42!

Hitting 40 does whack you with a reality check that life is passing you by.

Some people go out and buy a sports car, others just inwardly panic.

After all you’ve had 40 years on the planet and what have you done?

I haven’t really done much with my life, to be honest. For sure, I went to  university and got a degree. I didn’t use it. I sort of fell into the IT world (and was part of the gig economy before it was the ‘in’ thing to do), went to drama school because I’d always wanted to give it a shot, had a baby (not exactly how it was supposed to be) and kind of floundered.

I don’t regret a thing. After all I would be in the same place I am now even if things had been different. It’s all down to the choices you make, and I’ve been too scared to do anything most of my life.

But when I hit 40, that was when I started rediscovering me and rebuilding myself.

So rather than a mid-life crisis, I had a mid-life re-birth.

Tip 3. Bloody Hormones

Yup, when you reach 40 those old hormones start wreaking havoc.

For us women we have “the change” to look forward too.

Although the average age for the menopause is about 51, it’s actually more about the ‘peri’. This is the transitional phase between the regular, normal monthly gubbins we’ve been used to for oh so many years and them stopping. Perimenopause can last between 4 and 8 years and normally starts in your mid-40s, but can start earlier!!

To be honest, the symptoms of the ‘peri’ are pretty much the same as the real thing, so once you start the ‘peri’ the end is in sight, so to speak.

But don’t think men have it easy. Yes, our estrogen levels may experience a sudden drop in our 40s, but for men their testosterone is on the decline by 1% a year from the age of 30.

So we may get night sweats, hot flushes and soreness in various areas, but men get to join us in the depression, mood swings, decreased libido and weight gain.

So do we all need to go onto HRT?

No!

The simple things, apparently are to make sure you get enough sleep, watch your weight (see Tip 5), exercise and try not to get too stressed.

Tip 2. Go With The Flow

Let’s face it, we can’t stop time. If we could we would all stop the clock at the most amazing points in our life, wouldn’t we?

Yes, we’re going to get wrinkles, begin to go grey or bald (if we haven’t started already), our joints will start creaking and bits of us might stop working properly.

BUT that’s just life.

Just embrace it.

I’m not saying let yourself go, of course not, we’re turning only turning 40. We still want to feel good and more importantly feel alive.

So take the vitamins, buy the anti-ageing stuff (although personally egg-white face masks and olive oil are a wonder), colour your hair, buy a toupee, anything o ensure you still feel good about yourself.

BUT.

We can’t, and shouldn’t want to compete with the 20-somethings.

We have something they don’t possess yet, experience and maybe, just maybe a little bit of wisdom.

Tip 1. Don’t Panic, Just Jump In

Turning 40 does not mean it’s time for the twinset and pearls or pipe and slippers. Definitely not!

It’s time for adventure.

After all, in your 20s you couldn’t afford it, in your 70s you might be too old to enjoy it, so isn’t your 40s the perfect time to start something new and enjoy an adventure or 2?

When I turned 40 I wrote of list of 40 things to do in my 40s – and yes, there are a couple of gaps at the bottom to which I am still open to suggestions. Some of the them are stupid, silly and inconsequential. But they are just things I’ve always wanted to be able to do.

It’s fun trying to think of what to put on there, and even more fun when you do them. I know I haven’t done many of them, but I am confident that I can, and will, get another 10 done this year, at least.

 

The most important thing I have learned is that life is mostly about experiences not things. Things are just stuff, whereas experiences stay in the memory for ever and are priceless.

So, don’t panic about turning 40. It’s easy. Just take a breath, jump right in and enjoy it 😉

 

 

 

 

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I’ve Done It!

I am a recovering ‘biscuit-a-holic’.Biscuits

It’s been a whole year since my last biscuit.

They were my bete noir, my one temptation, my big bulimic tendency – whenever I felt a bit down, I would reach out for the biscuits and would quite happily munch through near-on a whole packet with a cup of tea.

But no more.

I gave them up for Lent in 2011 and found that pretty easy. So last December – after having one too many – I decided to give them up completely.

Again the stopping was very easy, and then from not having eaten them, my sense of smell underwent a drastic detox.

No longer when I opened the biscuit tin (SC is partial to a Malted Milk) did I smell delicious biscuit smells.

Oh no!

All I could smell when I opened the biscuit tin was the processed fats and sugars.

It took 10 days for the nice smell to go, and gradually over the course of a month the sense of the vile processed smell increased.

And now, a year on, the vile processed smell is still there. It is quite repulsive, and makes me glad I don’t indulge any more.

I can honestly say, that I do not feel the need to have a biscuit and even when I have made them at home with SC I do not feel the urge to eat one.

Biscuit addiction – cured 😉

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What Can We Learn from the Yo-Yo

The one thing we can all learn from the humble yo-yo is that what goes down will always come back up and then go down again!

And this can be applied to many aspects of life, but let’s focus on weight and relationships.

How many of you have been on a diet?

Hands up now, don’t be shy…mine’s up too.

How many of you have reached your target weight and looked fabulous?

Now, how many of you, when you reached your target weight then resumed eating as you did before you dieted?

Come along now, I’m sure there’s a few more hands need to go up!

And didn’t you all find that you ended up back where you were when you first started the diet, plus a few more pounds?

So what do we do?

That’s right, we try another diet plan, because clearly the first one didn’t work?

And so it continues, ad infinitum.

See, the yo-yo effect. And what did we learn? Absolutely nothing, because when we reached the start, i.e., back where we started, we launched into yet another diet.

Stop the yo-yo!

The same thing is true of relationships.

How many of you have been in a relationship, which didn’t last for various reasons, only to ‘give it another go’ and then rediscover why you broke up in the first place?

Because, the same faults, things you didn’t like or clashed on were still there.

A leopard can’t change its spots, so despite all best endeavours, really you will just end up going backwards and forwards like a diet.

Take my first love, Boomerang Boy – we’ve been out many times, and it’s always ended the same, he says that he’s got too much going on in his life (commitment phobe?) to deal with a relationship as well. I never see him for ages, and then out of the blue he reappears in my life, we both still like each other, start going out and the yo-yo effect takes hold. I remember why I loved him – he’s funny, can be a gentleman and has never been unfaithful when we’re together. Then all the bad stuff starts coming out – his immaturity, his drinking problem, etc!

Mr Wrong No. 1 was exactly the same – not that we broke up frequently. I used to bottle up how I was feeling with regards to him treating me, e.g., asked me to move in and I end up living out of a suitcase, does everything he wants to do, etc. I then exploded and explained that a relationship is a two-way street and we need to make an ours. All is fine for a couple of weeks and then, back to exactly as it was before. How I survived 3½ years I still wonder!

But you see that’s the yo-yo effect. We want it to change, but we never learn that it won’t.

So what do we do?

THROW THE YO-YO AWAY!

Forget diets. If you want to lose weight you don’t need to watch points, give up carbohydrates, starve for 2 days out of every 5, etc. You need to eat a balanced healthy diet and most importantly exercise. Yes you can have a slice of cake, but not 6!

And you need to be sure of why you want to lose weight. Is it because the jeans are feeling a bit uncomfortable, or do you think you will be happier thinner?

Trust me, if it’s the latter it won’t work. You can only be happy by being true to yourself and accepting yourself for who and what you are. Be happy being you, because you won’t be happy trying to be someone else’s idea of you.

And if it’s for the former reason, then yes, you are the only person who can lose weight. But a diet involves a permanent lifestyle and mind-set change, not just a temporary one!

As for relationships, sometimes people can change, but it is very rare. So when it’s over, remember the good times, but don’t wear rose-tinted glasses. Remember the bad times and vow never to go back there again!

Never look back!

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