Welcome to my next post where I’ll set some principles of life after forty (or any part of life) that will underpin your achievements as you become more distinguished in the journey towards the latter years. There are eight key principles I am operating by and I’ve shared them below for you to consider, adapt and take those you want to make your own.
Do it for you
There is one thing I have learned, in the 43 years of life I’ve lived, it’s that you need to be selfish sometimes and do some things for yourself and yourself alone. It’s you taking this journey, and yes you may be taking it with your partner, family or friend, but at the end of the day it’s your journey and your goal to be living the best life after forty. Anyone and everyone can get on the band wagon with you but it’s you who will be accountable for your wobbles along the way and you who will benefit the most when you achieve your goal.
Write your principles down, somewhere visible that you can be reminded of on a day to day basis and do your best to stay true to them.
There is one principle you should focus on the most in this post it’s this one. 60% of the body is made up of water and in order to keep it functioning well it’s important that you keep it topped up. Very much like a car and oil, at some point without water you will stop functioning.
Drink water, at least 2L a day, you will notice changes in your body, skin and well-being without the addition of the other principles of life I recommend here. I remember from a 12-week challenge I completed once. The coach said “if there is anything you do in these 12 weeks, drink water” and a number of us did just that and reaped the benefits. Fewer toxins, fewer spots, better mornings, better sleep as long as you stopped that water intake at a time that stopped you from getting up during the night for a quick pee, clearer thought, clearer everything.
I also recently followed a story of a couple of trampers that were lost in the bush for 19 days, 13 of which they were without food but had access to water, and they survived! Water is your lifeline, try to make a good routine out of drinking it. Herbal tea also counts.
Get enough good quality sleep
They say an hour before midnight is worth two after! I completely agree with this philosophy and I struggle to convince my husband that he should consider not staying up until midnight, or beyond, most nights. He calls himself a night owl rather than a morning person and I get that but I also say “give it a go”. I do my best to get eight hours of sleep a night and the result is that I feel replenished, my muscles feel good after a long day at the office and I wake up before any alarm I set, I wake up naturally whereas he sets the alarm and hits snooze about five times before sluggishly getting out of bed.
Having worked shifts before, many times in my life, and know the benefit of setting a routine before you go to bed to indicate to your mind and body that you are winding down for the day/night. Lately my going to bed routine involves putting on a 19-25 session of Insight Timer (Sleep Application) and I barely make it past the first pause in calming speech. Now my mind and body seem to crave being sent to sleep that way.
Whatever works for you create a routine out of it, have a cup of milk and honey (kick-starts Melanin), a warm shower, put a warm rice pack in the bed so that on the cold nights your body doesn’t get a shock when hitting the sheets. Make bed an enjoyable experience and you’ll find you have a quality sleep that repairs the mind and body. Put down the devices at least 30 mins before you are planning to go to sleep.
Maintain a healthy diet
This is probably the hardest thing to write about because everyone is different. Each of you know what works for you, and what you believe should and should not be eating; plant based, vegetarian, keto (see my www.kiwiketo.com site for my latest journey through a keto way of life), low carb high fat (LCHF), organic.
The main principle I aim for is to eat as little processed foods as possible. Get creative, make your own tomato sauce and ditch the can, drop the confectionery the things you find in sealed bags, containers, cans. Take a look at the back of the packet and see how many items on the ingredients list you don’t recognise and make a choice to replace that item with fresh and even better organic ((if you can afford it).
Drop the scales, pick up the tape measure
Up until 2015 I was a scales gal, watching every kg in climb and decline daily on the scales and it was mentally draining. What I saw on the scales that day determined if it would be a good or a bad day. If it was a bad day I tended to restrict my eating, maybe skip a meal; if it was a good day I treated myself or possibly even binged. Either way it’s not a great way to ensure your metabolism keeps operating well and something I learned, during COVID-19 lock down, was to keep yourself fed with good food as near to the same time of day as possible. By simply doing this my husband and I unconsciously dropped weight while in lock down while others were gaining.
These days I only get on the scales at the doctors, when they want to record my weight. I have swapped the scales out with the tape measure, taking measurements every two to three weeks when I am in maintenance mode or every week if I have something to shed.
Why? Because I exercise with both weights and cardio but weights creates muscle and I am sure you have all heard that muscle weighs more than fat but is less volume. This means that the scales can read heavier but you can measure smaller if that makes sense. If not, let me explain. I deployed away for a six-month period once, exercised every day give or take. I was 78kgs and probably a size 16 which for me was about two dress sizes above my normal (everyone has a normal). At the end of six months I had lost 10kgs which was awesome but what was more awesome is that I got home and I put on a size 10 pair of jeans and they were loose. I had lost four dress sizes, my waist had gone from 87cm to 76cm, my overall volume was significantly less. At that size I expected to get on the scales and weigh around the 60kg mark. From that day I swore that I would not step on the scales again unless it was a requirement and I haven’t. I am happier, more content with my body and feel in control. I don’t restrict my eating, I don’t overeat, I simply eat a balanced diet at regular times of the day. My metabolism has stabilised.
Achieve something small each day
This is really key, especially when you are working towards a goal. Start the day out with a view to achieving something small. It can be as simple as “today I am going to go out for a walk at lunch” or “today I am going to NOT have lunch at my desk” or “today I am going to ask at least five people how they are. Achieving small things not only creates routine but also creates a really positive mindset (if you keep them positive of course) and allows you to look back at the day and say “phew today was tough but I did achieve what I wanted to achieve”.
My husband and I walk the dogs after work and I often find myself slumping into a moan session about my day to defragment, which I need, but nowadays I try to start that reflection on work from a positive angle first. What did I set out to achieve that I achieved? Whatever it was is a win in my eyes and makes the other gripes and moans seem less significant. Doesn’t stop me downloading them but it gives me something to hold onto that will keep me taking steps forward to achieving a day, a week, a year…… and a goal!
Take time for you
Go for a walk, grab a book and sit in a corner, attend a yoga session, take yourself for coffee, take time for you. You are not invincible and although we humans are social beings there comes a time for a bit of time alone, time to recuperate and take back some control and reflection.
Taking time for you is similar to drinking water, necessary to keep functioning!
I don’t mean cracking the champagne bottle every time something successful happens but it’s one way of celebrating success. Celebrating success is a powerful motivator, boost positivity and pushes you towards your next goal or achievement no matter how big or small.
Celebrating successes also relates to those around you. Share your successes but also celebrate theirs. A simple “thank you, you’ve gone above and beyond” reinforces that behavior and makes for a really great working environment full of motivated colleagues or employees.
Add strength training to your workouts
As we get older our muscles take longer to build and our bones become more brittle. Drink add some strength training to your schedule you are taking out an insurance policy on your body. I recommend a minimum of three strength workouts a week, staggered to allow your body to recover in between. Remember muscle is built after you are at the gym not while you are there and so long as you feed your muscles at the right time you should have no problem building a strong body.
A lot of people steer away from lifting weights because they think they are going to get big! Everyone has heard the saying muscle weighs more than fat and that is true, the ratio is approx. 2:1, but muscle also takes up less space than fat so you will become leaner and more toned than you would if you were holding onto fat rather than muscle.
Refer back to my Drop the scales, pick up the tape measure when you add strength because you may not see as dramatic a change on the scales but you will see a dramatic change in physical size (lesser).
Our Prime Minister and her team had a smart little marketing programme going on during COVID-19 where they reminded the nation to “Be Kind”. You have to wonder why we need reminding hey, but we do. Try to put yourself in the other persons shoes before you toot that horn on the road, get impatient with the checkout operator and get frustrated at a friend for any reason.
Be Kind is simple, be kind before you default to anything else, it’s amazing how strong a message that can be and the behavior it encourages. At the end of the day if we lead by example, each one of us, we may just be able to create change in whatever size, shape or form we desire. It all starts with you and I!
Thanks, hope you enjoyed the read and it’s given you the buzz to go away and create your own Principles of life after forty, or just use the ones here if they resonated with you.
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