We can age better
“You’ve come a long way, baby.”
If you’re old enough, you remember that commercial slogan. Well, although I’m not where I’d love to be, I can definitely say I’ve come a long way!
My name is Sandra, and I am 55 years old. In this series, I would like to share with you my journey of finding myself again through creating a better way of living, one decision at a time. In high school, college, and as a young adult, I was pretty balanced and had control over my life. Everything rolled along nicely with my family, church, and life in general until one day, when I noticed something unexpected.
I had gained weight.
And what started as a somewhat slow “Whaaat? Hmmm” moment increased in intensity. It has been an interesting ride, but it has taken 15 years to finally feel like I’m back in control of my life again. Let me explain.
What’s going on here?
With my youngest child being born when I was 38, by age 39, I was back down to my pre-pregnancy weight, with no effort- same as with my other 2 children- not bad, right? Everything was normal. But just a year or two later, I noticed I had gained weight. And I wasn’t any less active than I had ever been, so I had no idea why. Especially considering I was now a mom to a toddler and two elementary-aged daughters, which was no lazy or easy task!
Homeschooling kept me on the go, too- all day, basically. Still, my body crept up a size… into the double-digits! I literally remember being a little shocked; I had never been in double-digit sizes before. But I just shrugged it off with the “Whaaat? Hmmm” comment and kept plowing away at my normal lifestyle. Over the next several years, I gained another size! I’m short, so now it really showed; I was completely overweight.
At some point along the way, I just stopped caring so much, so I hung out there for quite a while. I had never learned to exert any willpower over food because I never had to. And although I prepared “healthy enough” foods for my family, I never developed a disdain for unhealthy eating habits like occasional McDonalds trips or junk food and soda splurges. I for sure didn’t want to make drastic changes in my life. I suppose eventually, as the children got older, that kind of eating became a coping mechanism for stress; I don’t know exactly why, but it was obvious that I had no self-control over my eating. I let my sweet tooth rule over me much of the time. I was lazy not only physically by now but in other areas too- in every area basically- except for my relationship with God and raising my children properly. No one knew I was so unhealthy, especially me.
Jump to my mid-50s now, and I can look back far enough to see that something “unawares” was happening to my body waaayyyy back then. Now I know what that was. I suppose you do too. It’s pretty simple, really.
I was aging.
Ah, that’s what it is
My metabolism was slowing down, and that was catching up to me. The last several years have been a process of sorting through my many poor habits and examining the different phases in my life. Can anyone say “hormone surges”? I had to accept aging when I saw how it was affecting so many areas of my life. Watching our parents age with diseases and all sorts of ailments provided another incentive to get my act together.
I began to realize that things would need to change unless I wanted to age like everyone else around me. And almost every aspect of my life has undergone a change since my journey began. I only wish I had cared as much when I first began to show the signs.
At 55, I’ve finally reached a point where I have taken much more control of my life and health. And I feel better than I probably ever have.
What has helped me age better can help you
In this series, I’d like to share my “better aging” journey with you. I’ll unashamedly (that’s a fib- of course, I’m ashamed) divulge many of my bad habits and reveal the good ones with which I’ve replaced them. My goal is to age better and do my best to prevent chronic disease. The idea of taking prescriptions scares me enough to start getting healthy now while it’s easier.
Some of these are the things I began changing years ago. Some of these things are more recent, and I don’t have years of experience, which would give me any credit as an “expert”. My List is much like a collage of tidbits that comes from various diets I’ve tried over the last 5–7 years (all the best parts) and from “deep dives” of learning I’ve done over time. Curious by nature, I love studying. Then I usually take the big picture and make a change in my life- sometimes it was- and is- just one small change that makes a huge difference.
Writing it down
About a month ago, I got curious in another way. All the changes over the last several years- bit by bit- made me want to see it all written down together- in one spot. Lists of accomplishments make us feel good, don’t they? So, I created a list to collect many of the “must-dos” in my life now.
What I saw pleased me very much!
I had a few pages of changes I had made and was so happy to “see” that I’ve been taking many of the right steps, which (although were slow-coming and disjointed) have nonetheless added up to impact my life significantly.
Although every day isn’t perfect; I get busy or lazy too- I can say this… if I don’t do each item on my list daily, I do get back around to all of them because I firmly believe these things are necessary for me to age better. It’s a way of life for me now, and I am so glad that I have learned to exert better control over my body. Also, there are a few things on this list that I’d love to be able to change, and, one day, I will… like chemicals on my hair- I’m just not there yet.
Some days my time is limited, but I could still definitely manage it better. I have seen my husband revamp his entire way of living and prioritize using his time wisely. I have literally watched him do this over the last few years; his sheer willpower inspires me so much. Oddly, his transformation was going on at the same time as my deep dives into better nutrition and health. And now, the combination of what we have each learned on our own journeys, though unplanned, has turned out to be a wonderful mix of stirring each other to do everything better. (Although it does make it very difficult to be lazy or unmotivated! Lol!)
On that note, I should add that if you can get your spouse to go on a better health journey with you, you’ll both be more likely to stick with it for the long run. That’s what we have found, at least.
I have adapted my list for you with some personal comments for clarity. I still have some unhealthy habits here, but like I originally said, “I’ve come a long way!” The good news is that I’m learning new information constantly, so although I’m not a doctor or expert, there is so much I can share from what I’ve learned.
Of highest importance
Lastly, there is another aspect of my life that this article doesn’t even touch.
In an increasingly evil and stress-filled world, I want you to know that you can rely on-
Thanks for taking part in this journey with me. In my next article, I’ll talk about how I eat and drink now to age better with a list of specific habits that are part of my life now.
Disclaimer: The information provided on the site is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider for medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.
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My “Better Aging” Journey Series:
- My “Better Aging” Journey (Part 1) – Introduction
- How to Eat Healthy & Hydrate – My “Better Aging” Journey (Part 2)
- Healthy Cooking & Stretching – My “Better Aging” Journey (Part 3)
- Taking Good Supplements – My “Better Aging” Journey (Part 4)
- Better Gut Health – My “Better Aging” Journey (Part 5)
- Getting Better Sleep – My “Better Aging” Journey (Part 6)