You either have excellent genes or you will have to work 100 times harder to keep it all in one place, looking and feeling good.
All the way into my late 30's I was feeling like a teenager (sometimes even acting like one); I didn't have gray hairs (well except for one place); my knees didn't squeak; I didn't need progressive lens (still don't think I do, but they insist - read the drama here); I didn't have a thyroid issue; I wasn't so picky with food; I wasn't so moody (hmmm - maybe I should scratch this one); I didn't have pimples or stray chin hairs; my butt didn't feel this heavy and I sure as heck could hold my pee longer (trust me the little things count).
Today, we take a look at some of the changes our bodies go through after 40; albeit that these can occur before 40, slowly creep into the 40's with you, or just never occur. I think we can all agree that we would prefer the latter. But these changes are all a part of this wonderful journey called life, so we embrace them!
1. You and your body parts don't see eye to eye anymore
Just try sitting on the floor and getting up. Yes, I agree some of us are more nimble than others. For the not-so-nimble, you start making that weird sound you use to hear yah gran-mama make and you wonder, what the heck!
Once upon a time, you could also probably see your body parts below your belly quite easily, without tipping forward. Some still can. Great! Remedy - eat healthily and exercise. There's always a light at the end of the tunnel. Plus reducing your waist inches reduces the likelihood of diabetes.
2. Your vision
Let's just say this is an ongoing battle with me and my ophthalmologist - check it out here. You develop dry eyes, you can't thread a needle anymore, bright lights affect you, you can't read without them anymore and the list could go on. As we speak, I'm having to draw for the progressives because my eyes have now started to hurt. Sigh!
3. Weight Loss Battle
"Our metabolism decreases about 5 percent for every decade we are alive," Boling said in her article about tackling weight gain after 40. Sodas, pizzas, ice cream and cake are not so easy to hide again. You can't just revel in them and then do a 20-minute workout the next day and it's gone. Nope. Furthermore, for the not-so-lucky ones, like myself, this is when you find out about certain health issues - like thyroidism, which in my case makes it very difficult to lose weight. What that means is a 360-degree lifestyle change, taken in small doses of course to make it more realistic and manageable. Also, remember the saying, it's 80% food and 20% exercise. All-in-all, get your health checks done and speak with your nutritionist and doctor to find out the best solutions for you.
Quite self explanatory don't yah think. Luckily there are many options out there to help with lifting, tucking and perking. Just saying.
5. Hair Today Gone Tomorrow
There is a little thing called chin hair that appears, most times, only in public and disappears once you get home and get out that tweezer. Remember the debate I had about whether we should have a magnifying mirror or not? Well, girlfriends, this is where it comes in handy. As for your other hair, well you all know where that's heading eventually. Again, if you have good genes you have nothing to worry about. If not, the wig market supply is endless.
6. Craving Nuts and Seeds
We use nuts and seeds in everything, in all forms possible, as if our lives depended on it. Maybe it does though.
Perimenopause - the transition into menopause. Hip hip hooray, no more monthly saga. Yeah right. This also has its fair amount of issues.
This is the time when our estrogen levels start to rise and fall unevenly, which may in turn cause your cycles to lengthen or shorten. Ladies brace yourself, if you think you're having hot flashes, yup it might just be that. If you have difficulty sleeping, yup you can blame Ms. Perimenopause for that too and, if your "vajayjay" is dry as the desert...yup blame Ms. Peri.
Other symptoms may include: headaches, random hair growth (#5 above), changes in libido (from zero to nuff), weight re-distribution or gain, mood swings from anxiety, anger and unexplained sadness to uncontrollable laughter and crying and then there is also some short-term memory loss. Exciting times ahead.
8. Tear Ducts That Go For Runs
Is it only me or do you find yourself crying for everything? Just the mere question, "how are you," can make me burst into tears. Hmmm. Talk truth, it happens to you too don't.
9. You Become Prettier
You know why? Because now you care less about the naysayers and trivial stuff; you are more confident about who you are and what you want; you laugh about the things that use to make you sad and you say exactly what you need to say, thereby reducing your stress levels. Don't believe me? Go take a look in that mirror and smile.
10. Changes in Sense of Smell, Taste and Hearing
I have bad allergies so my sense of smell has always been high, but I can tell you that it has certainly heightened in the last few years. Things I use to be able to tolerate I can no longer take the scent of it.
My taste has also changed. I've never really had a sweet tooth but it's even worse now. I can't seem to stomach anything that's sweet, mind you, that's great for my derriere, but a girl still likes her occasional slice of cake and ice cream.
As for the hearing, I've always just said...I really can't hear you because I don't have on my glasses. Enough said!
Again, if you are having issues with any of the above, outside of your normal functions, go speak with your Doctor.
11. Chances for Breast Cancer is Higher
Feel up your breast - they are yours, get to know them. Get your screening done. MayoClinic recommends starting your screening at 40 and doing regular check-ups thereafter. Talk to your doctor about options and regularity.
I did my 1st mammogram & breast ultra-sound in my late 30's because I felt a lump. I was diagnosed with fibrocystic breast, which is a common and benign condition. I make sure to feel and screen on a regular basis.
If you haven't gotten your examination done since this year, please make your appointment and get it done. No time like the present and as Rachel Hollis keeps saying in her book, Girl Stop Apologizing, "if not now, when." Get it done ladies! Review your family history, speak to your doctor, do your checks, get healthy, reduce stress, #feelandscreen.
12. Fertility & Pregnancy
Due to Perimenopause, it is highly likely that your fertility will decline and becoming pregnant may be difficult - not impossible, so avoid the "surprise." In addition to that, if you do become pregnant, you are at risk for more complications, including, but not limited to, diabetes, high blood pressure, miscarriages, etc.
13. Metabolism Slows,
As you age your metabolism slows, this is a reality. Exercising and eating healthy helps. Oh and skipping meals is not a solution to your now weight problems either; it actually worsens it by slowing down your metabolism further. Eat regular, small meals and exercise. If you dislike exercising, find a hobby that gets you moving. Gardening for example can provide you with a great workout.
14. Quit Smoking
Quit and reap the benefits of improved oxygen levels, better skin, reduced risk of heart diseases and cancer, and improve your life cycle.
15. Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation can be caused by some of the other factors that affect us over 40, for eg. perimenopause. However, sleep needs to become our best friend so as to ward off the effects sleep deprivation can have on our mental and physical health.
Here are a few things you can do to help the sleep along: develop a sleep routine by going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time (heck I need some serious help in this department). Turn off the TV, phones, laptops and tablets at least 1 hr before bedtime. Keep your room dark and ensure you have a comfortable room temperature, especially in the summer months. Drink a glass of water before bed. You can also listen to soothing music or have "white noises" playing in the background to drown out all other distractions.
16. Don't Ignore Your Pains
Did you wake up feeling an aching pain in your leg and you wrote it off to the exercise you did yesterday or the fact that you are indeed getting older? Rethink that. Yes, it may have been caused by the exercise or your aging; but it could also be a warning sign for bigger issues. If in doubt, go see your doctor.
17. Collagen Loss
This is a natural cycle in the aging pro