If I hear one more woman whine about how she doesn’t have the body she used to or how hard it is for her to stay in shape as she gets older, I will scream. People have a tendency to play victim and therefore lower any expectation of themselves. It is definitely an easier tactic than to actually work hard and assert yourself.
What some women don’t understand is that buying into stereotypes of about aging only hurts their psyche in the long run and affects their female children in the process. Since aging is a physiological and psychological process I will attempt to tie them together by rejected some long held beliefs on the subject. I will call them myths, because soon they will be a tale of the past.
Myths About Aging, Smashed:
MYTH #1- You are destined to gain weight with age– age doesn’t get you fat, eating too much does. The idea that your metabolism slows gradually as the years go by is determined by your fitness level and diet and not inevitable. I remember visiting a cousin in Italy before she was to be married and noticed that many of the nightgowns she was receiving as gifts were four sizes larger, for that inevitable after marriage weight gain. Ten years and one child later she looks better than ever, so much for that old wives tale. Keep your protein intake high and vary your workout routines and activity so you won’t be bored. Eggs, lean protein and low-fat dairy.
MYTH #2- Men age better than women– this one is my all time favorite moron thing to say. The reason this concept has taken hold in culture because in the past (and sometimes in the present) woman have married older men. Obviously the reasons for marrying grandpa is based in financial security not his sexy body. My mother’s Old Italian proverb about women desperate to marry says “woman would marry horses if they didn’t break the sheets” (it rhymes in Italian.) This myth is easy to disprove by just looking around. Women take better care of themselves by nature of our culture and when she’s hot she’s hot. No matter how old she is. To keep your skin glowing fill up on antioxidant rich foods and stay out of the sun! Berries, yogurt and dark greens.
MYTH #3- Your body will never be the same after baby– this could be true, because your body can actually be better. Women constantly fret about this time in their lives as much as they rejoice in it. Our culture has tended to de-sexualize mothers but again this is all stereotyping. The funny thing is, women know this but somehow still succumb to the anxiety about it. Just because you give birth, it doesn’t mean the mom jeans have to come out. Weight training three times a week will keep your metabolism boosted. Green tea will give you energy to keep it up. Fiber rich foods and whole grains.
Age is in the head of the worrier so don’t have made up ideas get you down. Take care of yourself, eat well, be active and get your sleep.
Don’t short change yourself and live your life with gusto!!!
-Fiorella DiCarlo RD, RDN, CDN