40 feels amazing but it’s not without it’s challenges. I feel strong. I feel confident. I also need more recovery and can’t get away with as many splurges as I used to. I admit it took me a bit by surprise when things stopped working for me the way they did just a few years ago. I am so grateful to have strong and fit women like Jody in my life to help me see what the next decade might bring -both the positive and the pitfalls. – Pamela
Let me first thank Pamela for asking me to guest post on her blog. I know she works with many 40+ women so I hope this is helpful for you. I can honestly say that I could write a book of all the ways things change in the 50’s but I am going to try to not get a wordy as I usually do with posts like this!
My name is Jody and I blog over at Truth2beingfit. I will be 58 next month. I lost my weight in high school – I was 30-40 pounds overweight on a 5’1” body – but it took me many years to get this right! I made many mistakes along the way!
If you are or have gone through perimenopause to menopause, you know the hormone changes to the body are crazy!
One of the biggest things I had to deal with is the emotional end of it. I was depressed, angry, emotional, sad, frustrated and more all through those years. A good 7 of those years were tough (emotional & physical) even though I still have issues now. I had to find a way to get past them when they took over. The challenge was to keep trying no matter what I felt inside. This was a lot harder than it sounds. It takes immense willpower. If you have read any articles on women that had rough times with the emotional end of it, many of us wanted to crawl into a ball shape & hide.
The physical side was tough too!
We gain weight. We have hot flashes. We have night sweats. We can’t sleep for more than 30 minutes to an hour at a time. We have all the emotional stuff in #1. From 50 on, I was constantly making changes to my food plan. With perimenopause to menopause, you can just not eat as much as you used to even though you may be working out the same or harder than before. The further I got into the 50’s, the less I could eat – this is the honest truth! Thankfully, I had to watch my weight all my life since losing it in high school – the one & only time I will say thankful for that, so I knew how to change up my food plan & I was used to being hungry. 😉 I did it gradually over time so my body got used to less food. I also changed up the ratio of protein to carbohydrates to fat AND I had to change the types of carbohydrates as well. I never could eat what I wanted like many when they were younger BUT I was used to eating more based on how much exercise and weight training I did per week. Even right now at almost 58, I am having more hormone issues, the body wants to hold onto weight & I am trying to change things up again!
In the gym – as much as I did not want to admit it, it took me longer to do the same workout the further I got in my 50s.
I’ve learned to accept it but it was tough to accept it. I am not saying we slow down BUT things are different & you have to adjust with the changes!
So on strength training, I was an easy gainer of muscle all my life. In my 40’s, I could lift lighter weights & maintain my muscles. Once into my 50’s, due to hormone changes, I had to start lifting moderate to challenging weights again to maintain AND make gains with my muscles mass. The important point here is to do it gradually AND find a way to do it without getting injured! Resistance training is a MUST for healthy aging. The bones need to stay strong to avoid injury! This will limit your chance for osteoporosis AND hip fractures as you age!
We lose elasticity & flexibility with age so…
Maintain proper form & listen to the body! It is so much easier to get injured if we try to be what we were in our 40’s. If you had not been stretching all along – and you should have – make sure & do it now! This part is going to be crucial for reducing injuries as we age!
I just want to say separately that it is tough getting used to our changing older body.. even if you work out like a crazy person like me. Things change. This has been a huge learning process for me – still is – but I am learning to accept it. Always a work in progress!