My dearest friend in the world is having a special birthday next week — yes, she’ll be 4-0. What that means for me is that I am not far behind with a mere 3 months of 30-somethingness left! Not that 40 is a big deal (my kids can’t even fathom what year I am), but it is a magical age in that it ushers in midlife. It makes me think about eating, of course. Midlife brings metabolic changes as hormones begin to communicate in a new way, metabolism slows down and fat can begin to accumulate in places that it never had before. In other words, we have to eat less to maintain weight and fit into our favorite jeans.
In order to avoid what I call the “Midlife Metabolic Crisis”, in which you turn around and your waist is up 2 inches, clothes are too tight and elastic waistbands become the norm, there are some key things to do before it hits:
1) Eat what you love, but LESS of it. By not denying yourself, but just taking less you won’t notice the difference (that much!) and you won’t be eating as many calories. Split portions in half and save the rest for later or the next day.
2) Grow UP your eating. In Hal Edward Runkel’s book, ScreamFree Parenting, he talks about ‘growing yourself up’ to parent more effectively and essentially more calmly. I equate his concept with what we need to do once we hit 40, grow up when it comes to what you choose to eat. Try to refine your tastes to include less processed food, less animal-based protein and fat and MORE (what I call Grown Up fare) plants including fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains and vegetable oils. It’s time to grow up…
3) Savor what you eat. Take the time to eat mindfully by eating more slowly and really tasting your food. After 40 years most of us have mastered the act of eating, but the art of eating requires a lot of work and practice. By paying attention to how you feel when you are eating without judgement, you can become objective to your eating. Pretty soon, you’ll learn to choose food for quality and understand what your body really needs.
4) Keep the metabolism up with movement. Activity helps in so many ways; there is research to show that cells benefit, especially in midlife. The mitochondria or powerhouse of our cells are better powered when we use our muscles regularly. It makes me want to bike, hike, swim and plain old walk more – maybe that’s one of my “40 Club” resolutions.
The bottom line is we all get older and that’s not the big deal to me. What’s on my mind is the growing up that I need to do at this point in my life….:-
In what ways, can you grow up your eating?