My Body, My Health: Observations in Aging

January 21, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Posted in Life and Living | Leave a comment

When I was 22 years old, I found myself sitting at my desk, new to the working world, scratching my legs furiously.  My skin had gotten so dry, no amount of lotion seemed to offer any relief.  It was at this point when my colleague, then 29, told me about the 7 year theory — every 7 years your body goes through a series of changes as part of the evolution of aging. This was probably the turning point for me in terms of being aware of my health.

Since then I’ve been keenly aware of some changes and that is just one of several lessons I’ve learned about my body and my health. Here are a few other things I have learned.

1. Your body will begin to reject food you once loved.  That stomachache you got from eating 3 slices of pizza was your body telling you that you went too far.  And sure, McDonalds sounds like a good idea now, but you will regret it an hour later.

2. Face makeup does have a purpose.  I was never one to wear foundation, powder or moisturizer or any of that stuff, which probably was a good thing because I never had a problem with acne, but I get it know.  For starters, it’s not just the cover up.  Face moisturizer more than anything is a necessity in keeping skin healthy and elastic.  The truth is, skin doesn’t stay elastic or bright.  With age comes exhaustion, permanent circles under the eyes, the infant stages of wrinkles awaiting in the shadows.  Some beauty products can help if you don’t overdo it.

3. You will recognize sickness more readily.  That tickle in your throat will strike the worry chord and before you know it, you will be at the store stocking up on Mucinex and NyQuil.  You will allow the sickness to run its course because ignoring it will only make matters worse. Related to this…

4. You will medicate your symptoms.  I was never one to pop pills at the first sign of discomfort.  If I had a headache, I’d drink water and take a nap.  Nowadays I find headache, stomach and allergy medicine in every purpose I carry. This one I say with some caution.  There are certain instances where I am still very reserved about medication — mainly in relation to sleepless nights.

5. Drinking alcohol will become harder and you will stop fighting it.  Just a few years ago I blogged about how I still party the way I did as a young 20 something.  I have watched that change over recent years.  I still enjoy a nice glass of wine and drink some liquor on occasion, but the end goal has changed.  Once I get the buzz, I usually stop while I’m ahead.

6. The numbers on the scale go up, even if physical changes seem undetectable.  It’s an evil little trick, but somehow those 5 pounds snuck up on you and things will never be the same, because…

7. Losing weight only gets harder.  Sure you’ve cut out soda and junk food, but that’s not enough.  Even working out every day may not be enough to make those pounds go away, but you need to do it anyways because it’s more than a story of weight — it’s a story of health. And lastly and most importantly,

8.  Becoming in tune with your body and its needs grows increasingly important.  Like most things in life, it’s not about some expert’s advice on how you should live your life, save your money, parent this way, etc, etc.  Assuming you are healthy for the most part and don’t have any addictive vices that would change things, your body will tell you what it needs. Your body will tell you when it’s time to stop something.  When I was younger, I didn’t listen to my body several times and got very sick because of it.  Just like a dog, your body has ways of communicating that are non-verbal.  Take the non-verbal queues and tune in.

Getting older is not always a beautiful thing, but much of it is mind over matter.  Listen to your body. Don’t be afraid to strengthen it and don’t give up on it.  It’s the only one you’ve got.

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