At least that’s what they say.
I celebrated my 40th birthday in January this year. To be honest, I was quite hyped when my birthday came about. I have some friends who would mope and say that they get depressed leaving their 30’s behind. Me, I was actually looking forward to it and am pretty proud that I have reached 40 quite gracefully (or at least… I think I have).
Whilst I am very happy with my life, I have to be realistic and honest about my physical state. I am very unhealthy and am often stressed out juggling the responsibilities of building a career and managing and caring for my family. Like most working mums, I think I got overwhelmed with my responsibilities at work and at home that I often forget to put some time aside for myself. Anyway, overall I felt shitty physically. I am tired all day, I have low energy, I suffer from migraines quite often and also from back pains consistently.
A couple of months ago, I went for a medical check-up for insurance purposes and the doctor told me I had early signs of diabetes. My father’s family have all suffered from diabetes. I’ve known that I had a high chance of getting diabetes seeing that it is a hereditary disease but I guess I was hoping that it might skip me completely. This news really got me to stop and think: If I’m unhealthy now how will I be when I am 50, 60 or 70- if God willing I live that long?
Reflecting back on how I’ve lived my life so far; I never did care much for my health. I never exercised. Rarely took vitamin supplements. Never monitored the food I ate. I work too much. I slept too little. I smoke too much.
Time for change
At the time I was reflecting my unhealthy physical state, I came across this article on my Facebook timeline “How to get a muscular body after 40?” - an article written by Gert Louw. Gerts article showed how he was at the age of 40 and how he is now at 51. He decided to make a change because he was suffering from so many health problems at the age of 40. I was honestly impressed with his transformation. Yes, I am fully aware that his website was written for men but I was inspired by his story nevertheless.
Anyway, reading Gert's story sort of motivated me to start exercising and eating better. My objective is not to gain a muscular body at the age of 50 like Gert obviously but I would really love to be fit and not feel like dying when I go up ten steps of stairs. I want to stop feeling tired and lethargic all the time.
What I got from reading his article was if he can do it at 40, then damn it I can do it too.
The new regime
So for the past two months, I have been taking baby steps to change my lifestyle. I wanted to take things slow cause I’m one that can get excited with something new easily and also feel demotivated and drop a project instantly when I get bored especially when it comes to exercising. This was what I have done since June:
Step 1: Medical check up
By luck, I found a doctor who practised holistic healing and went to consult him. I briefed him on my health history, concerns and what I wanted to achieve. We also discussed about my current meal intake. The two hour plus consultation also included a blood test which helped him to diagnose what was lacking in my body.
From my visit with the doctor, he had recommended a very detailed meal plan for me and also recommended some vitamin supplements I should take to improve my health.
Step 2: Healthier meal plan
The first two weeks of going through the new meal plan was tough and expensive! Who knew eating organic food like brown rice, fruits and juicing could cost so much. I suffered from more migraines than usual and my eczema really got worst but the doctor did say that it will be a normal side effect from changing my diet plan and the new supplement intake. His exact word were “Be prepared to feel worst, before you feel better”. To be honest, after a month – my husband did say I looked much better, my skin felt softer and I did feel a slight improvement in my energy levels.
I am unfortunately not following through the diet plan fully at this point of time but I do take the vitamin supplements religiously. Like I said, baby steps. I will change my diet plan slowly but surely.
I am also planning to do a more detailed health check but after looking through the packages offered on hospital websites I found it to be very expensive. So I’m saving up for that and hopefully will do a full medical by year end.
Step 3: Exercise
Ok. I hate exercising. I really do. But when you want to lead a healthier lifestyle I guess one must just persevere.
In the past, when I have had a sudden inspiration to get healthy, I’d join a gym or yoga classes. Historically, these things never did turn out well for me. I’d drop the classes and continued paying without attending any of them. So this time around, I decided to exercise from home and not spend a single cent on instructors or classes.
I decided to do two things: Yoga and indoor cycling. The plan was to wake up earlier in the morning and spend just 10 minutes a day to do my exercises. I would alternate the exercise: yoga one day and indoor cycling the next.
Yoga at home
The beauty about this day and age is that there are so many YouTube video that can guide you for your exercises. All you need to do is research and choose one to do as part of your exercise regime.
The first week, I did yoga following this video as a guide. Its 10 minutes of yoga stretches without getting out of bed! That’s how lazy I am! Lol.
I think I did this for about two weeks. Now, I am following this video for my 15 minute yoga in the mornings instead.
My husband bought an indoor cycling machine some years back. We use it mostly to hang stuff. Really…. The handles are handy that way.
Anyway, I thought that I should make use of the machine in the mornings instead of using it to hang my handbags in the recreation room. On days that I don’t do yoga, I switch on my audiobook and cycle for ten minutes.
This is my second month of exercise and I have increased my cycling time to 15 minutes.
There are days when I say “Screw it, I’m going back to bed” but most mornings in the past one month plus I do wake up looking forward to do the exercises. I’ve been chronicling my exercises on twitter. I don’t know why but I think announcing to the world that I am exercising and making a slow change in my life helped to motivate me somewhat.
As I mentioned earlier, I am currently in my second month of exercising. I definitely feel the difference. I still feel lethargic sometimes but its not as bad as before. To be honest, I think I love this new lifestyle of mine.
Last week I added this video – 10 minute No Equipment Home Workout, Full Body – as part of my exercise regime on days I don’t do yoga or indoor cycling. This one is tough but so far I quite enjoy trying to do the exercises.
So, this is me at 40. I’m trying to change for the betterment of my health. I remember reading somewhere that it takes 30 days to change a habit. If this is true then I hope this new habit of living life healthier remains consistent in my life. I’d like to live healthy and grow old enough to meet my grandchildren one day.
I’ve decided to use this blog to chronicle my success or failure in following through this journey of living life healthier. If you happen to read this, wish me luck and a word of encouragement would definitely help.