I fell off the wagon. It involved a talking brick pizza oven.

I fell off the wagon.

And then it fell on me.

And it wasn’t so much a wagon as it was a brick pizza oven.

And it took me two three four days to get it off me.

To make matters worse, somewhere along the second day, the wagon brought in back-up in the form of a brownie, a piece of chocolate cake and maybe curly fries, but by that time I was so delirious, I may have been hallucinating. (I was not.)

What’s the backstory?

On my fit-at forty quest to become the healthiest and best me yet, a few months ago I cut out simple carbs and sugar.  I’m not a dessert person by nature so giving up sugar wasn’t hard. The pasta and the bread though…not so much. But after a few weeks I didn’t miss it.

So we’re clear, I’m not suggesting that the only way to get or stay fit at 40 is to completely give up bread, pasta and dessert. Millions of people eat those things every day and are healthy, in good shape, yadayadayada. I am not one of those people. I never will be. I have come to a place where I’m ok with that.

So last Wednesday when I met some friends at an Italian Restaurant, I went with the best of intentions. Salads are always on the menu, and lucky for me, I love salad.

But the Italian restaurant had an authentic brick oven whose fiery pits roared seductively, “Grace…Grace…andiamo, andiamo!”

Never able to resist anything with an Italian accent, I relented, and ate.

And ate.

And then, in case I had forgotten, ate some more.

The thing I know about me and simple carbs is this: I just can’t do them. We don’t work well together. Not even a little. We’re sorta like this pre-k ballerina throw-down, except the teachers don’t step in in time to break us up. The signal that turns itself on to let me know to STOP EATING, is apparently also easily seduced by an Italian accent.

The wagon and I fought a vicious battle for the next 72 96 hours, with the wagon having a particularly strong Friday night.

But, the battle isn’t always to the swift, or the strong, and victory belongs to the last woman standing, which I was finally able to do on Saturday Sunday morning.

I make light about my battle with compulsive eating and carb-addiction, because frankly, after nearly 30 years of dealing with it, if I don’t make light of it, it will defeat me. If there’s one thing I’d caution anyone involved in the care, treatment and loving of young girls, it would be this – guard intensely, the messages she gets about her self-worth as it relates to her body and beauty. Don’t allow her to define herself by her measurements, her weight, her skin color, her hair length, and on and on and on – and DON’T add to the chorus of voices from the media, other family, society etc. that tell her that that’s exactly how she should define herself. Because as she gets older, it will be very hard for her to quiet those voices in her head, no matter how smart or strong she is. I know because 30 years later I’m still battling those demons.

The beauty of doing all this in my 40s is that while my body is still (relatively) forgiving if I give it time, it remembers. Our bodies forgive, but they no longer forget. Gone are the days that I could plow through the mystery meat at the college food truck at 1:00am, and hop out of bed the next day as if nothing had happened. And that’s a good thing.  My body won’t let me continue to treat it badly. It’s had enough, and so have I.

Fallen off any wagons lately? Share your thoughts in the comment section or email me at grace(@) womenatforty (dot) com.

Life advice from Pinterest

I confess. I’ve fallen into the deep, dark hole that is Pinterest.

Pinterest is the adult version of those paper doll games we used to play as kids, except now we get to dress up our imaginary bodies, in pretend clothes, while decorating our dream homes with the man (or men) of our dreams. At least that’s what I do on my personal boards. Oh – and collect recipes of dishes I will never cook in my pretend kitchen. Image in masthead: My backyard. On Pinterest.

The Women at Forty Pinterest boards are a bit more mature. Just a bit.

For all it’s time-wasterish (I know) elements, Pinterest is also a good place to get inspired. A really good place. Whether you’re looking for motivation to write, design, eat healthy, or workout, there are thousands of boards dedicated to helping you.

I love the quotes I’ve found on the boards there, and I’ve corralled a few of the most meaningful sayings (to me) in one image.

None of it is anything you haven’t heard before, but it can serve as a daily reminder of the things, dreams and goals that are most important to you. Take from it what you need and discard what you don’t. Or better yet, figure out what inspires you and create your own.

Do you Pin? If so, share some of your favorite pins on Women at Forty’s Pinterest Boards or on our Facebook page. And, let me know if you need an invite!

 

 

 

 

The Boys We Used To Love: Then and Now

Scott Baio, Patrick Dempsey and LL Cool J (pre Grey’s Anatomy and NCIS days respectively) were just three of the boys we were innocently (or not so innocently) crushing on the 80s and 90s.  There are moments when I casually forget how old I am and then I see one of these former teen heartthrobs playing the father of a teen in a movie and I’m like, “oh, yeah, that’s how old.”

So I thought, why don’t we all take a “that’s how old” walk down memory lane to check out some of those heartthrobs and what they look like now.  Once I started putting the list together I realized it would take me hours to include just 20 of these guys, so I’m starting with 5. These aren’t the top 5 most beloved teen heartthrobs of the 80’s, they’re not even necessarily the ones I loved the most (and did you see the hair on Uncle Jesse?) but I promise you, a bunch of us – probably you too – thought at least one of these guys was all that back in the 80’s and 90’s. Maybe you still do. Justin Beiber, eat your heart out…

 

 

 

Next week, Part II: Wham (George Michael gay? people with eyes no one saw that coming), Boy George (see a trend here), and Jason Bateman.

 

Don’t give up what you want most

…for what you want now.

I need this on a constant loop in my 41 year-old head, because I have, at many times in my life, given up my long-term goals/plans/dreams to satisfy a right-now desire.

Sometimes I still do.

And every day I realize how much more I still have to learn – how many things I need to do better. How I need to be better.

And how despite all of that, I am better than I used to be.

And then I thank God that for 41 years he’s allowed me to wake up every morning and get another chance to do it right.

Here’s to finally getting it right in our 40’s and learning to give up what we want now, for what we want the most.

What do you want the most?

 

 

Christine On: Leaving Forty

Editor’s Note: I first “cyber-met” Christine last year when she wrote so eloquently about turning 40 here. A year later, like many of us, she’s not where she imagined she would be. Today she shares the ups and downs and the lessons learned along the  road to 41…

Tomorrow I am leaving my fortieth year. It seemed like just yesterday I was writing about turning forty in a blog entry (Turning Forty) and how significant that event was to me. It was a great birthday accompanied by a super fantastic surprise party with my family and friends. My impending birthday tomorrow has left me reflecting on the past year. One of the things I wrote about in the Turning Forty essay was about how birthdays are a way to celebrate our lives and how they are also a chance to say “Yes, I have gotten here.”

In many ways, I have not quite ended up where I thought I would be by the time I turned forty-one. I had anticipated that the past year would lead to a significant improvement in my health as well as a return to the work force as a registered nurse. I had plans for having one of my essays published in print. I wanted to lose a ton of weight. Like I stated in the previous essay: Ahh, the best laid plans. Maybe that is why we shouldn’t make so many of them, right?

My autoimmune illness got worse rather than better. I was diagnosed with two life threatening illnesses within a span of ten days earlier this year, both of which I have recovered fully from. At least physically. The threat of what “could have happened” still lingers in my memory. I know, I really need to get over that. Although both illnesses were not lifestyle related, I hit rock bottom with the exhaustion of dealing with illness and being sick all the time. I found a way to cope with that. I took more control over my body and health by changing several aspects of my lifestyle including changing my diet, getting exercise, and reducing stress. I made a big commitment to being a healthier person.

I lost a lot of connections with some friends over this past year for a variety of reasons. I made a few new ones. In the process of both, I learned the value of quality over quantity and the importance of selecting my friends with care. As I continue to get older, I become more astutely aware of the significance that these relationships have for me and that sometimes these relationships are ever changing, just like the rest of the world is so much of the time.

In my fortieth year, I took a few risks. One of those was committing to marry the love of my life, A bold move for me because it has meant placing my complete trust in a partner. And finding out that when you are with the right partner, that trust will not be broken. I have learned over my past year with him about what it takes for a relationship to survive the darkest of hours in order to be able to travel the same path together for a lifetime.

Although when I turned forty, I felt like I had already learned the importance of living each day like it was a privilege, this past year has taught me the importance of prioritizing each of those days:

That cleaning the bathroom is not as important as spending time on the phone with a loved one.

That washing the dishes in the sink is not as important as hanging out with my fiance.

That returning emails is not as important as getting my work out done.

Although my birthday tomorrow will be much more low key than when I turned the big 4-0, I am looking forward to it. I have much to celebrate and be thankful for. The most important thing I have to celebrate and be thankful for is the fact that I get to keep going on this crazy journey which is otherwise known as my life. I am still alive. I get to experience more joy, more hugs, more tears, and more laughs. Tomorrow I get to sit back and say once again, “Yes, I have gotten here.” And like last year, I once again have the opportunity to realize even more of my hopes and dreams in the next year of my life.

I really could not ask for more.

Christine Molloy is a writer and registered nurse who lives in Western Massachusetts. She is the author of the blog Thoughts and ramblings on life, love, and health.You can find the original blog post here.