Entering Your Forties Doesn’t Mean Exiting Your Youthful Self

This time one year ago the person I saw in the mirror did not reflect who I felt on the inside. For starters, I was 8kg heavier, but I also I felt my balance, strength, flexibility and fitness on the decrease. I was sleeping terribly, had skin flare ups, and was terrified that I was on a slippery slope to hearing loss, cataracts, osteoarthritis, memory lapse, and everything else related to ageing poorly.

Ah, the slippery slope to aging… It’s like trying to gracefully slide down a waterslide, but instead, you end up careening down a hill on a sled made of creaky joints and wrinkle cream! It’s like one minute you’re innocently enjoying your morning cup of coffee and the next, you’re groaning as you try to stand up from the couch, wondering when your knees turned into a pair of rusty hinges.

For F’s sake, I’m in my early 40’s, not 80. I was ready to do something about it. Ageing had hit fast and unless I took some urgent action, things were going to get worse (okay, I may have slightly dramatised it above, but I’m sure many women out there would have felt some changes too.)

Here’s some of the actions I’ve taken in the last 12 months that have brought positive results, and more importantly, become healthy habits that I really enjoy.

Consult with Healthcare Professionals

When I realised the weight had crept on and wasn’t moving, I booked in to see a nutritionist. She looked at my diet overall and helped to make some simple yet effective changes. Overall, my diet was good and I was exercising. It didn’t make sense why the weight was stacking on, so she suggested I get some blood tests. 

I went and found a good quality GP (no more random bulk-billing GP that didn’t know my name.) This was a game changer – they worked together to do blood tests and analyse what my body was lacking. Turns out I needed more Iron, B12 and Vitamin D. All of which in lack can lead to your body holding onto excess weight. A few supplements later, and voila!

If you are trying to lose weight, I highly recommend getting blood tests to see if you are lacking anything or in need of any slight adjustments or supplements.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

I’ve always been pretty good at drinking water but sometimes I am hit and miss with getting in the recommended few litres a day. I now have a large glass of water before breaky, lunch and dinner which assures me of getting at least 1.5-Litres in. 

I also make sure I have a large drink bottle on the go whenever I’m driving (and as a mother of 3 x busy children – I drive a lot. I’m basically a Mum-uber.) I know my skin feels more hydrated and I feel like I have more mental clarity when I drink lots of water. 

FACT – Adequate hydration supports weight loss by promoting satiety, helping to curb appetite, and boosting metabolism. Additionally, staying hydrated aids in the body’s natural detoxification processes, flushing out toxins and waste products that can hinder weight loss efforts. Water intake is crucial for both losing weight and aging gracefully. 

If you find it hard to get adequate water try adding fruit to your water, drinking herbal teas instead of coffee, setting water goals on an app or even drinking mineral water or kombucha in a wine glass instead of alcohol.

Focus on Nutrition – Especially Protein

I’ve started to pay more attention to the quality of our diet, aiming for a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and whole grains. Reducing our intake of processed foods, sugary snacks, and high-calorie beverages has been a game changer.

I cannot recommend highly enough including protein at every meal. Not only does it help with muscle growth and repair along with weight management, it supports bone health, regulates hormones, supports immune function, aids in wound healing, maintains healthy hair, skin and nails and even regulates blood sugar. 

*** Protein is a God and you need to make eating more protein a religion. 

TIP – Another game changer has been meal prep. I’m more organised and less likely to eat crap on the go or to grab a nasty takeaway if I know what I’m eating and I already have the ingredients there ready to cook, particularly when its mid-week and I’m too tired to think. 

I usually cook double everything so I have leftovers ready for busy days. 

Control Portion Sizes

Be mindful of portion sizes as they can easily creep up over time. Although I ate well, my nutritionist gave me a great tip for portion control. It’s easy to overeat when serving teenagers with growing bodies. 

For main meals I eat: 

1 x serve of protein the size of your palm, 

1 x fist-size serving of veggies, 

1 x cupped handful of carbs and a thumb sized serving of fats. 

Incorporate Regular Exercise

I used to aim to get 10,000 steps a day but am now a little kinder to myself. I set the goal to hit 6,000 which seems more attainable and anything above is a bonus. Once I reach 6K, I change the goal to 8K and (fingers crossed) then aim to get 10,000+. But if it’s an office day and I only get 6,000 then I celebrate that regardless. 

TIP – Get a puppy! Having Winnie, my puppy has sure helped me get my daily steps up. I’ve always been a big lover of long walks, but now I am woken around 4:45am each day by big puppy eyes and just can’t say no. We walk most mornings and nights together. 

I also book walks with friends which is a win / win. You walk and talk and catch up. Sometimes I book meetings while I am walking to be time effective. Pre-booking these into my diary means it will 100% happen. 

Prioritise Strength Training

As we age, maintaining muscle mass becomes increasingly important for weight loss and overall health. Incorporating strength training exercises into your routine builds and preserves muscle mass which helps boost your metabolism. 

I started training in a women’s’ strength training class 12 months ago and I love it. I’ve lost fat, built muscle but more importantly it’s like therapy. The girls there are so much fun it hardly feels like we are working out. We also do regular challenges, motivate one another, and even do some random fun stuff like pole dancing and bush walks to spice it up!

Normally by one year I find excuses not to go to the gym. But I bounce out of bed very early 3 x mornings a week to go and see my trainer and the girls.

Get More Sleep

Adequate sleep is crucial for weight management and overall health. I’ve started to go to bed much earlier, aiming for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.  Experts believe sleep and exercise have a bidirectional relationship.  Optimizing your exercise routine can potentially help you sleep better, and getting an adequate amount of sleep may promote healthier physical activity levels during the day. 

Sleep plays a key role in metabolism, the growth and repair of tissues (such as our muscles), and ensures memory, reaction time and decision making are all working optimally. All these processes impact sporting performance. I’ve started resisting me-time winding down on Netflix and instead doing a meditation and getting more sleep – it’s been a winner. 

Manage Stress

Chronic stress can lead to weight gain and hinder weight loss efforts. Practicing stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or engaging in hobbies you enjoy can be hugely beneficial. 

I listen to a meditation every night and regularly book meditation, sound bowl and breathwork sessions which have become addictive and great for the soul. 

Be Patient and Persistent

When I was 20, it felt like I could go for a quick jog and I would lose weight in an instant. Weight loss is slower and more challenging in your 40s compared to when you were younger. Be patient with yourself and stay consistent with your healthy habits, even if progress seems slow.

I put on weight for the first few months of training, but being persistent, consistent and most importantly kind to yourself will reap long term goals. The benefits for me have resulted in weight loss, but more importantly mental clarity, reduced stress, better skin, more energy, better sleep, more strength, flexibility, balance, and even more joy in the daily juggle.  

Stay with it, it’s worth the hard work. 

Monitor Progress

Keep track of your food intake, exercise habits, and progress towards your weight loss goals. This can help you identify areas for improvement and help keep you motivated along the way. Remember, sustainable weight loss is a gradual process that requires lifestyle changes and consistency. Focus on making healthy choices that you can maintain for the long term rather than seeking quick fixes or drastic measures. 

My trainer Stace does regular scans where we can see our muscle gain, fat loss and water retention amongst other things. This helps motivate me and set little goals for progress. There are many apps out there for food, exercise and progress too. 

In Closing…

Hey, it’s not all doom and gloom on this slippery slope to ageing. There’s wisdom, experience, more depth in conversations and a whole lot of hilarious stories along the way. 

(Read the following with tongue in cheek…) So, grab your walking cane, slap on some anti-wrinkle cream, and let’s slide into the golden years with style, grace, and a healthy dose of humour! Who said getting older couldn’t be a wild ride?

Feeling healthy in your 40s might seem like a challenge, but trust me, it’s totally doable—and even fun! I’m most definitely not back to my prime and squeezing into a size 8 pair of Sass and Bides, but I really don’t care. I’m ageing and that’s a privilege. I still eat the treats, have some champagne, and even have days where things wobble.  But I’m making mindful decisions to age well and to look after my body along the way.

The benefits have far outweighed the challenges. The hard work and the mental, physical and even spiritual health benefits are visible. I feel good and happy and strong.

Be kind to yourself. Trust me: if I can do this with 3 kids, 3 businesses, a travelling husband and a bonkers lifestyle, then you can too. If we don’t put ourselves first, then what’s it all for?!

I hope this helps you to make some healthy changes that help your life, and inspires you to do some important things for yourself. Feel free to reach out to ask any questions or share your success story.  

Sarah x

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