I’ve definitely a lot to learn when it comes to the ageing process. I think, like most people, I’d rather run and hide from the changes that are happening to my body at times, but then there are always the gentle (or not so gentle) daily reminders. I am now quite stiff when I get out of bed of a morning, my eyesight is far less clearer than it used to be and don’t get me started on my periods.
It’s going to happen whether I like it or not and I want to be as positive as I can be about it. They say forewarned is forearmed so when I watched TV the other lunchtime and saw an interview with Cameron Diaz talking about her new book The Longevity Book, I added it to my reading list.
Enjoying a Sunday afternoon read
Obviously Cameron is a few years younger than me, she is 43 to be exact, but when she turned 39 she started to be asked the same question in interviews, ‘as an actor, was she scared to turn 40’? Of course everyone is scared of ageing, but what she set out to do was understand what ageing really is and thereby educate the rest of us on what is actually happening to our bodies and empower women to tackle the challenges head on.
I may be ahead of the curve in years, but I’m definitely behind this lady when it comes to understanding what’s happening to my body and how to look after it. I’m no angel, Charlie’s or otherwise, and that extra glass of wine on a night out is one I now always regret.
Accompanied by her writing partner, Sandra Bark (together they wrote bestseller The Body Book), Cameron went on a journey, talking to doctors and researchers about the ageing process. It’s super interesting and the book goes into great detail about what is physically happening to your body as you get older. In some places I found it a little heavy going, it’s quite scientific, but on the whole I found the tone of it really uplifting and it was very refreshing to read about how you may feel as you age, rather than how you look.
The chapters on the menopause, managing stress and building a stronger body and stronger brain were really valuable to me. My mum was adamant that I would be educated on the changes my body would experience as I entered puberty. Aged 10 I went on a school trip to Cornwall with an armful of sanitary towels, much to my embarrassment. (She need not have worried it would be some years later before what she called ‘my friend’ would make an appearance.) But now, as my body changes once again, she is unable to guide me through, as lucky lady, her ‘friend’ just suddenly stopped visiting one day and that was that. I’m therefore in need to find another ‘expert’ to help me out and this book goes in-depth into the subject. Yay!
There is also a really lovely chapter towards the end about the joy of connecting with friends and family as being vital to our health. “Connections feel so good for our hearts and our spirits that it should come as no surprise that it’s also good for our bodies too.” Who doesn’t feel better after a girl’s night in, or meal out with their nearest and dearest? I often fall short of doing this, getting carried away with the daily grind that I don’t make enough time for the fun stuff, but love and laughter really can lighten the mood and we all need some of that.
Cameron and Sandra say there are five pillars that you should consider and practice. These are: good nutrition, moving often, getting enough sleep, stress release and having meaningful relationships. The pillars are discussed in details and I dare say you might find something of interest/use if you fancy a read.
I’m definitely trying to take all this on board. I eat pretty healthily in the day, but let myself down at night. So I’m trying to swap chocolate for fruit salad at least half the week. Exercise-wise I do a Hiit session for 25 mins, five days a week, so I’m pretty happy with that, but I’m starting to think about including a swim session to help with the stiffness. Sleep is my bug-bear. I go to bed at 10, but I can wake as early as 6, even on a weekend. I find it very hard to go back to sleep, but I do aim for an afternoon nap at least once during the weekend, to try and claw an hour back. Stress is an unwanted friend for me, as I expect it is in many people’s lives, but I’m trying to be kinder to myself and give myself a break and I do find my morning run sets me up for a better day. As for connecting with others, well I have you guys who I love talking to once a week and I’m going to make more of an effort to spend time with others IRL (in real life).
I think the over-riding thought that I took away from the book, is just to be aware. No-one is perfect, but you can try to be the best version of yourself. Maintaining a decent level of well-being can be achieved if you put the effort in. I definitely want to give it a go. Oh and you CAN enjoy a glass of red wine of a night-time, which I’m thrilled about as when you read this post I will be on holiday!
I won’t be blogging next week girls as I’ll still be away, so I hope you won’t mind my taking a week off. You can see what I’m up to over on Instagram if you fancy it.
Have a great week.
P.S. I picked up a copy in the library if you don’t want to buy.