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I am definitely not one of those women who doesn't like to admit her age. If we were hanging out together having coffee or a glass of wine, I would have no problem telling you that I will be celebrating my 50th birthday in just a few weeks. But actually writing about it here- on the blog- well, somehow this declaration feels a little bolder, a little more “real”. And writing about it makes me reflect on reaching this milestone a bit more and think about what turning 50 means to me….
1. Is “50” the new “30”?
Well I don't know for sure about that. But I still have children in elementary school for Pete's sake. It's going to be a long time before I am done with this daily parenting thing and on to “empty nesting” or “retirement” or whatever it is that will come next. Friends of mine who are the same age are already in this new phase- testing it out- figuring out what it looks like for them. But it's so far in my future- that I can't even think about it, so my “50” is different from their “50”- for sure. But it's not “30” either…..
2. Do I Feel 50?
Well, I certainly don't feel old- or older- or whatever I once thought 50 might feel like. I feel good and happy and healthy and busy. But I do notice differences too. Maybe a little less energy at times. A little more care given to lifting heavy things like suitcases and that 6th bag of groceries, where I might not have given it a thought a few years ago. I notice that I look a little different in the mirror. But I feel like…. me!
3. How Do I Plan to Deal with Aging?
You know me- I always have to have a plan! And my plan is this: BE STRONG! My new motto is going to be that “Strong is the New 50!” (You like it? I do!) So how do I plan to do that?
It's Not About Diet- It's About Nutrition!
Going through my battle with HPV+ throat cancer last summer left me 20 pounds lighter (hey- at least there was some side benefit to all that I endured!). So for me (at least at this time)– my weight is in a very good place. But making sure I get the right nutrition every day is a whole other matter. I am back to incorporating a fruit & veggie smoothie into my breakfast routine every morning. And I am paying more attention to the amount of protein I eat. Did you know that only 17% of over-50 adults knew the right amount of protein they should get every day?* (Roughly 53 grams for a 150 lb. adult). 62% over over-50 adults thought they were getting enough protein…. but really are they?*
A way to help make sure you are getting enough protein is by enjoying an Ensure Enlive every day, in addition to a healthy diet. Ensure Enlive is a complete, balanced nutrition shake that has 20 grams of high-quality protein, to help rebuild muscle for strength and energy.
*Source: AARP-Abbott Survey 2016
Focus on Strength and Flexibility
This past weekend, the kids and I spent some time planting our vegetable garden before heading out to see the new “Captain America” movie. But all of the bending over the planting beds, pulling weeds, prepping soil, and planting seeds and seedlings- followed by 3 hours in a theatre seat- left my back in spasms. My back is definitely trying to tell me something- that I am not spending enough time (okay- ANY time) dedicated to strengthening that part of my body and keeping it flexible. And that lack of effort is leaving me in pain! So since I have no plans to stop doing the things that I love, I must dedicate time to making sure my body is ready to work for me. And the fact that we lose up to 8% of our muscle mass every decade after the age of 40– means that it's not going to get better unless I put in the effort!
Taking Better Care of My Skin
Freckles? Check. Multiple sunburns as a child/teen? Check. Lack of any real skin-care regimen for most of my life? Check. Basically- I've done a fairly awful job in this area of my life. And I am a bit concerned that I am about to start paying for it with my appearance. Certainly having 69 lymph nodes removed last May has left me with deep scars on both sides of my neck that are never going to look attractive. So either I wear a scarf- or I wear the scars with pride- it's just the way it is.
But adding a good skin care routine that I will follow morning and night is going to be part of my new “Strong is the New 50” game plan!
So you- readers- are going to hold me accountable!
In order to keep these commitments to myself- I am going to report on my progress here on the blog. And whether you are 30-40-50 or outside of this age range… I encourage you to look at the same 3 areas of your life- nutrition, fitness, and skin care right along with me! Let's commit to being STRONG together!
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