Thursday, November 15, 2012

That Certain Age

Once upon a time, there was a girl who could keep her belly flat and her skin fresh by eating whatever she wanted - mint chocolate chip icecream, cheeseburger, fries, chips - and going out to the clubs til 2 to dance it all off. 

Yeah, that girl doesn't exist anymore. 

She's been replaced by me - a woman of a "certain age" who only has to look at food, apparently, and calories leach into my skin. Sand bags seem to have been sewn onto my thighs and butt at some point. I am itchy, cranky, grumpy, and sleepy - a veritable compendium of the worst of the dwarves. 

As I battle age and the mirror, I'm most annoyed by myself. I LIKE the idea of age. I think wrinkles are marks of experience, and gray hair is lovely, like strands of silver. I just didn't bargain for the fuzzy feeling in my brain that stops my thought processes, nor the gradual slipping away of things that I used to do without thinking.
OK, we can't all be Jamie Lee, but I do love her hair.

Example: water skiing. When my husband taught me to waterski, years ago, I loved it right away. I was able to stand right up on the skis and jet around the lake on my first go. It wasn't pretty, but it did happen. This past summer, I went to try waterskiing again. Holy incompetent arm muscles! That awkward moment when the handle slips from your grip again and again and the boat has to circle back a gabillion times to pick up the old lady in the water...

Here are a few things that I've done to combat all of this:

1. Embraced my wrinkles. I really don't mind them at all. 

2. Started taking iodine supplements, which have erased the fuzzy feeling in my brain and made my husband quite happy. (And, no, I'm not adding more details for that last point.) Do check with your doctor if you start taking any supplements, but mine - I take natural Gaia thyroid support as well as iodine and seaweed - have seriously changed my life.

3. Taken up weightlifting. I always worked out with weights, but I've added pounds to what I used to lift to compensate for disappearing muscle. I WILL get up on those skis next summer.

4. Given up sugar. It was an easy way to modify my diet. Sugar is a serious addiction, but when you replace it with fresh fruit and agave, it's not so bad. Oh, all right - Halloween sucked. Ok? Ok. And I'm not looking forward to Christmas Cookie season. Goodbye for ever, homemade pizzelles.
Buh Bye.

5. Doubled my workout time. I do work while I'm on the treadmill, so it doesn't eat into my productivity.

6. Started eating a lot more raw greens. A LOT more. And I don't drown them in processed dressing, either. Goodbye, Ranch and Blue Cheese. (PS - Olive Oil makers, if you put EVOO in little takeaway packets like ketchup, that would really come in handy. Just saying.)

7. Eyed the frozen mini hotdogs and tacos wistfully as I pass them by with my cart. Edamame is a somewhat / not really / ok they're good but they're not mini hot dogs, now are they sort of substitute.

8. Replaced my large, frozen drink cocktails with ultra Lite beer, white wine, Skinny girl margaritas (love them) and, at times, green tea. Cut down on all of the above (except the tea) to one or two a weekend. Yes, this has been a very important point for me. 

While I'm grousing and carrying on, I must point out that age has brought some very good things into my life:

1. A fantastic family

2. Friends who are settled in their own lives, and we can all be settled together

3. No more of those exhausting dating issues

4. My writing career

5. Peace with myself and my world in general.


Unknown said...

I think the healthier food starts to become the norm the longer you stick with it. I bit into a Hershey Goodbar a couple weeks ago and it was nasty! Not just too sweet but also had an unpleasant aftertaste. You just have to look away from that other stuff. This cake shall too pass. Eventually, a handful of peanuts and unsweetened cranberries becomes a real treat.

Rebecca said...

Alison, have you ever thought about trying Crossfit? I know it sounds completely insane and difficult, but I started when I was carrying 50 extra pounds from my pregnancy (suffice it to say, my kid is now 3.5 years old, so the excuses are long gone for why that weight is still here). I was probably the least athletic person they've ever seen at the gym--even ladies who outweigh me significantly are generally stronger--and I still modify a lot of the movements (wall push-ups, for a woman in her early 30s is a bit of an ego crusher, but it's worth saving the extra chiropractor visits). But if you try Crossfit for even 6 months, and go three times a week, I think you will do some of the best waterskiing of your life. Plus, the amount of mental clarity you get after completing a really difficult WOD (Workout of the Day) is an unexpected bonus... even if you often finish last, like I do.

Another nice thing about Crossfit gyms is that they're also really big on diets like Paleo/Primal, which can make it easier to stick to your diet restrictions (it helps when you can all moan together about not eating those tasty sugar cookies that you used to eat with gusto the year before). I think your resolution to avoid sugar, especially at this time of year, deserves major commendation. And weight-lifting is so much fun! Are you doing any Olympic Weight-lifting, like deadlift or clean and jerk? It's beyond satisfying to throw 35+ lbs over your head after a bad day.

Rock on with your lifestyle changes! :) (Also, if you're curious about trying blanched almond flour so you can still bake delicious cookies, there's a fabulous cookbook that's changed my whole baking routine: The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, by Elana Amsterdam.)