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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Taking Care of this Old Body

I like to think I have some wisdom about some things, more because of age and experience (learning things the hard way) than anything. I also know it has to do with examples given to me in my life.

So here's the question ... How do you take care of your body, I mean physically?

As I approach 40, I find myself wanting to talk to my 18 year old self and beg and plead with her to do some things to take care of her future self. I was as stubborn back then as I am now, so I probably wouldn't have listened. But if there are some of you who are younger than me, please take heed that you will wake up on your 37th birthday and look at yourself in the mirror and wonder when that old lady showed up! And you will work out just like you've always done and realize that your saggy isn't firmin' up like it did just the day before. Trust me!!

So, if I could impart some advice this would be it ...

1. Take your Vitamins. I was always a sickly thing, even as a young adult. I got colds very often! I always took prenatal vitamins when I was pregnant, but would fall out of the habit after I finished nursing. After I had Brynne I just kept taking a multi-vitamin, because I was in the habit. I don't take some expensive formula, just the Walmrat brand of a woman's daily vitamin. Additionally I take a zinc, folic acid and calcium supplements with my multi to help boost my immune system, help with "womanly" issues and help with the inevitable osteoporosis in my future (I am in the highest risk category being white, fair skinned and thin). In 5 years I have had only a couple of minor colds and had the flu once. Those are the only illnesses I have had. I know without a shadow of a doubt that it's because I take those vitamins. I am vitamin freak when it comes to my kids, too. And, they are generally very healthy in the storms of illness that surround us.

2. Exercise. Get some form of regular exercise every week! And make it part of your routine. I get up at 5:00 a.m. three days a week and go to the Y and take classes (thanks, Kim!). I probably get in about 2 1/2 - 3 hours of pretty intense exercise every week. The weeks I don't go, I totally feel it. Not only do I get up and get my day started with a bang, it provides me with extra energy all day! I know that it improves my mood. And I have friends who go to the same classes, so it's nice to see a friendly (albiet non-make-uped faced) first thing in the morning! I don't work out to lose weight or even to tone up, although those are added benefits. I work out because I have arthritis and keeping my joints lubricated sure makes me feel better the rest of the day. Of course there are also the benefits to your heart, metabolism, etc.

3. Moisturize. I didn't start washing my makeup off at night until Kyndal was in the 6th grade. And the only reason I started was because I wanted her to, so I started doing it as well. Now I can't go to bed without cleansing my face and putting on a moisturizer. This is one thing I wish I would have started earlier! This time of year Rick gets such dry skin and really suffers from it. I don't have that experience because I lotion myself from head to toe every time I get out of the shower. I just use Suave Intensive Therapy lotion. My skin thanks me!!

4. Eat Healthier. This one is obvious. And, I don't overdo it. I like to eat, and I don't deprive myself or my family. I just do things in moderation, and try to be mindful. If I'm going to eat a bread or pasta, I try to do whole grain. If I'm going to eat rice, I eat brown rice instead of white. I try to use natural products instead of chemically prepared (although, again, I don't go crazy here.) I watch Weight Watchers points generally, which also helps me to make healthier choices. I try to serve Rick and I fish one day a week. I drink green tea daily (and have even gotten one of my little ones to drink it.) If I need something sweet to eat, I try to make a choice like some peanut butter, honey and cinnamon on whole grain toast or a square of dark chocolate or some blueberries on a bowl of bran flakes. If my kids want a snack, I try to encourage an apple or cheese stick or raisins or popcorn. Yes, they eat sweets! And I don't deprive them of that! But, after one sweet snack that day, I offer only healthy choices for the next one. I try to cook with lean meats, and more chicken and turkey than beef. And I hide puree'd veggies in our food whenever I can get away with it. It's important to me that we enjoy our food. And it's not really about having an arsenal of "healthy" recipes or a full menu. It's more about individual choices, as set out above. Of course I can always do more in this area, but I try to make it a lifestyle change (which takes time to implement) rather than just go crazy all of a sudden announcing that we will now be eating vegetables at every meal, etc. My family looks at me like I have lost my mind when I do that. And it doesn't last.

5. Have More Sex. Just kidding, ladies (and dad!), although our husbands might agree with this one! What I really mean is, do more things that make you feel sexy. Get your hair colored and your eye brows waxed, if it makes you feel better! Get a massage! Take an afternoon every two weeks and go get your nails done. I know I just feel better when my nails look nice! It's taken me years to finally give in to the cost of this indulgence, but I'm worth it. And so are you! Does your husband tell you that you are sexy? Instead of arguing with him and pointing out all of your flaws, how about just believing him and accepting the complement. Just by believing you are sexy, you will feel better about yourself. (This is one I am trying to do more of this year.)


  1. great post! i have winter dry skin too its the pits.

  2. Yes good post and your title for #5 is correct. Sex with your spouse is a great stress reducer and some studies have shown that more extends years on your life. Just thought you would like to know...ha. Oh and something I don't do enough of is drink water which helps the dry skin. Thanks for the good reminders.


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