Born to run…or walk at a relatively fast pace

As a sheltered kid growing up on the mean streets (not really) of Teaneck, New Jersey, my overprotective mother would allow very few activities where she couldn’t keep a vigilant eye on us. That left us with precisely two play areas – the backyard and the short stretch of pavement at the end of our dead-end street.

Back when kids still played in the street, my sisters, cousins and I spent hours racing down to the end of that dead-end. In my memory, I was fast. Really fast. I would also say I won all the races. And while my memory of my win/loss record is sure to be called into question, (see I’d forgotten about that for more on my awful memory), one thing I do know for sure is that I loved the way I felt when I was running.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t confident enough at the time to transform that love into joining the track team or even taking running up as a hobby.

Fast forward 25 plus years and I still love the feeling of running.

When I imagine doing it.

In my mind.

Because when I’ve actually tried to do it, the feeling I get is not the same as the one I got years ago.

Running down that dead end street as a kid I felt fast, carefree and like I could run like that forever.

Now when I run I feel…my right hip, my left knee and the chafing of my construction grade sports bra against my back. *Sighs*

A younger cousin ran for a while and wrote about the hip pain she felt that led her to give up running. I now understand. And the truth is, no matter how much I want to run, me, on all fours (crying) on the corner of “bless her heart” and “she just wouldn’t listen” is not a good look. And not good to look at.  And hollering at the local hotties while sweating in the fetal position on the sidewalk is no way to meet a man.  Not one with teeth anyway. Trust me.

This is not to say that women runners in their 40s and beyond aren’t tearing it up on the side streets of America. I know they are – the bright light of their fitness glory blinds me each and every time they whiz by me on my WALKS. Kudos to them and those aerodynamic baby pusher things that have them navigating through the streets of Oakhurst like they’re training for decathlons.

As for me, I’ll keep watching the runners enviably from the sidelines. In the meantime I’ve got my walking and I’ve found a new workout muse – Michael Jackson The Experience. Michael Jackson and I have been tearing it up on my Wii.  If enough of you ask I’ll even video a session so you can get a good ab workout from laughing with me while you watch. No, not really.  Image: Not me running – Source:Flickr: Emanuel Leanza “Eleanza”

What’s your fit-at-forty story? Share in the comment section or on our Facebook page.

 

The Plastic Surgery Dilemna

plastic surgery at 40Editor’s Note: Over a year ago I ran a poll on the site asking “Would you ever consider plastic surgery?” And while most said they would never “go under the knife”, a large percentage of women responded that they didn’t see anything wrong with “a little botox and a tummy tuck.” Over on Facebook a lively discussion started on dying gray hair, growing old gracefully and good genes.  On the site a few of you even commented that you’d already had some work done – and saw no problem with that. Here’s a little of what you had to say on dying gray hair, aging gracefully and cosmetic surgery…

I’ve decided against plastic surgery. I like how I look even as I get older. Yes, I see my little fat cheeks dropping a little, and I notice more lines under my eyes…but I remember that they are there because I laugh a lot and that’s a good thing, right? –E

For me, aging gracefully means accepting myself and loving myself as I am. I am fortunate that my only telltale aging sign is gray hair, which I’ve had since my early 20s. While I do color my gray, I highly doubt that I would or will ever have plastic surgery/Botox/Restalayne/etc.. –R

I would consider having plastic surgery, in fact I admit that I started doing fillers and botox about 1 year ago. What does aging “gracefully” mean anyway? Does it mean we have to accept the fact that we just don’t look like 20 anymore? I get that! I don’t want to look like 20 because I feel different now than I did 20 years ago. But that doesn’t mean I can’t try to look my best, does it? – S

I had procedures done as well, Botox, Sculptra, Chemical peels and I might consider more “drastic” measures in the future if I feel I have to. I will turn 40 this year and although I know I am now considered to be a “middle aged woman” now, I will not let myself go. – Sun

Is there more pressure now to greet your 40s gracefully, without ever considering plastic surgery, or does society still want women at 40 to look young forever? Share your thoughts in the comment section and sound off on our Facebook page.

 

 

The Today Show: How Gen Xers are reinventing forty – Do you like what it’s become?

 

“It used to be that turning 40 symbolized the end of youth. Now it’s the beginning of something better.”  

That’s how The Today Show’s recent segment on Generation Xers turning 40 began. Here’s a look at the segment…

Seems like health, fitness and renewed goals are common among women turning 40. But what’s also common and somewhat less talked about are the new pressures associated with turning 40. Women, like the ones featured in the segment, are competing in marathons, working on being in the best mental and physical shape of their lives, kicking ass and taking names. The Jennifer Anistons and Halle Berry’s of the world show us that you can look and feel fabulous at 40.

But, what if you’re not one of those women? Not yet anyway.

Has the “40 is over-the-hill” mantra been replaced by an image of a 21st century “super-40 woman” replete with magnificent body, burgeoning career and unparalleled fabulousness? Because if it is, I am so not living up to it and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to.

Despite the recent media push to feel otherwise, there are times when 40 just isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.There are times when I feel like I should be farther along in the pursuit of my goals. There are times – like this past weekend when I was wedged so tight into an airplane seat that I saw Jesus and the angels – when I kick myself for not being fitter and healthier at 40.  40 has not been all reawakening, Zen moments and enlightenment. This is real life so it can’t be. And real life is no less real at 40 than at any other age.

I’m not alone – I get emails from women who feel the same way. Those who aren’t over the moon about turning 40 but don’t want to express that (sometimes unpopular) sentiment on Facebook or in post comments.  But that’s the reality of turning 40 – and that’s what this project is all about – it even says it in the tag line – “Life.Love. Reality. In our fortieth year.”  Don’t be afraid to express your true feelings about 40 – your 40 is your own and no one should dictate how you “should” feel about it.

So, what’s your 40 looking like? Share in the comment section and on our Facebook fan page.

(Turning 40 shirt design by : Zazzle.com)


My $25-a-week clean eating experiment a year later

Over a year ago when I was a blogging neophyte, not quite 40, and determined to do something about my weight and health, I set out on a mission – an experiment really. It was my $25-a-week-good-food experiment, and I was determined to reshape the way I looked at food, health and weight loss. Here’s some of what I had to say about it back then…

For weeks now I’ve been seriously rethinking this obsession I have with food and my weight. Specifically it’s occurred to me that for almost all of the past decade, my obsession with controlling (unsuccessfully I might add) what I eat and don’t eat has centered primarily on weight loss. This focus on weight and not on health has caused me to become unhealthier. Yo-yo dieting, pre-packaged diet meals, low carb, low fat, sugarless…you get the idea. My quest to lose weight devolved into me eating man made substitutes for food and came at the expense of eating food the way it was intended to be eaten.

It’s time for a change, a real change – an “I’m about to turn forty so I’ve got to start taking this seriously” change. I’ve been heading in this direction for years now, but eating for health was far down on the list, somewhere behind carb and calorie counting and fat monitoring. And while I’ve never been a lover of junk food and have always preferred fresh fruits and vegetables over sugary desserts – when it comes to food, the choices I make every day are made unconsciously, out of habit, and with very little regard to health and where my food is coming from.

In a nutshell (pun intended), clean eating is consuming food in its most natural state or as close to it as possible. It means eliminating as much processed foods from your diet as possible, and it means being conscious of the source of your food and the impact its production has on the environment. Militaristic clean eaters might have an issue with my definition, but that’s the definition that sums it up for me.  The Gracious Pantry has a great resource page about clean eating that you can access here. The turning point for me came when I watched the documentary Food, Inc. I’d absolutely recommend it to anyone curious about the source of their food – you will not be the same after watching it.

A year after test-driving my clean eating experiment I can say that I’ve adopted clean eating as a way of life.  A way of life differs from a diet in that it’s not something you ever “get off of.” So, on the (now increasingly rare) occasions that I don’t eat clean I, 1) enjoy it a lot less and 2) don’t belittle myself or consider it a diet catastrophe.  It’s not just a healthier way to eat, it’s a healthier way to think. Really, it’s a return to to the way my parents and grandparents used to cook and eat, before advertising and big business began convincing people that they had it all wrong.

Although I haven’t stuck to the $25 budget, I have been more conscientious about how much I purchase and what I’m paying for things, and in the long run that’s helped my overall budget.

So, what’s left is the weight loss. The good news is, the number on the scale is lower. The bad news is, not by much. As a child and teen I struggled with compulsive and emotional eating, and as a 41 year old woman I still do.  Like any habit/compulsion/addiction, it’s been a hard one to shake. But Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor apparently 41 years. Thankfully, I am a work in progress, not regress, and as long as I’m able, I’ll approach each day with the determination to become a healthier version of the person I was the day before. Anyone care to join me?

Grace

Survival of the fitness: Holiday feeding frenzies

00182714I’ve had a whirlwind couple of weeks. Two road trips (one 30 hours round-trip), a girlfriend getaway (more on that in a future post), my first ever spa treatment, and a lot, lot, lot of food.

I officially fell off the wagon, or as I like to call it, “the back of the food truck” somewhere in Birmingham, Alabama after a barbeque feast fit for a queen. Due to a meat induced high, the details are somewhat sketchy, but there was roasted corn, potato salad, grits, biscuits, sausage and cinnamon buns, and that doesn’t even include dinner. *Sighs*

Today, back to reality. And as 40 year old bodies often do, mine is reacting negatively to the meat parade that just worked its way through my system. I have no one to blame but myself though, so you’ll hear no moaning from me. Instead I’m stocking up on the veggies my body is now most certainly craving and drinking water like I just got out of the desert.

Continue reading Survival of the fitness: Holiday feeding frenzies