Aging…Who Said It Was Easy?

I was talking to a friend the other day, and after a bit I realized that the bulk of our conversation had been about our growing list of ailments. Mostly normal things for women our age – sore backs, creaky knees, hot flashes! I had to laugh, remembering something that a friend of my husband’s used to say …

“The older I get, the faster the ride down the toilet bowl!”

We’ve always gotten a good laugh sharing that analogy! Yet as I get older, I’m finding that the old hoot wasn’t so far off the mark! Each year – and lately each month – there is something new popping up. Like my body is reminding me just how much I’ve abused it over the years and now its payback time!

See, I’m not the epitome of health. While I can rattle off all kinds of knowledge about the keys to healthy eating and activity, I do not in any way practice what I preach! I tend to fall flat in my pursuits to eat healthier and to get exercise. I’ve got a million excuses why – too busy, too hot, too cold, too expensive…these are just the tip of of prepared responses when asked why I don’t take my health more seriously.

My Mom wasn’t a very healthy eater, and rarely got exercise in her later adult life. I have seen what that did to her over the years. My doctor often reminds me that healthy changes in both my eating and activity behavior could ultimately result in not having to take so much medication – something I relish. Yet apparently, not enough to change my ways.

My most recent issue is hair loss. Over the years, I’ve been a little worried about the amount of hair that I find in my brush or in the drain after I shower. My husband is always picking hair off my clothes and commenting how I give our cat a run for who has the most hair on the floor on any given day. My friend, and hairdresser extraordinaire, reminds me often that what I’ve been seeing is normal, just more pronounced because of the length of my hair. But in the last month I’ve definitely noticed a significant increase in hair loss, and a decrease in the volume of my hair. What’s happening is anyone’s guess! It could be age, hormones, a medical issue, medications, stress or any combination of the above.

I personally think that snuggled up in there somewhere is a general lack of nutrition due to my horrible eating habits. Pretty sad, coming from someone who sits on the Board of a local Farmers’ Market! Overeating is not the problem, but more that I don’t eat the right things, or at the right times. I don’t waste calories on sugary drinks, but have been known to go without eating most of the day, then binge on alternating salty and sweet snacks through the evening. I know if I ate better – more fruits and veggies, less processed foods and sugar – I’d not only feel better, but might see some improvement in things like my hair and nail health. Not to mention my glucose and cholesterol levels! Yet it’s that nagging crave that makes me go for the Bugles, chocolate chip scones and Salty Caramel ice cream, over the grapes, celery and salad – every time!

So what’s a middle-aged person to do? When I was young, I could lose weight at the wink of an eye and was rarely ill. Now, it seems like it takes five minutes to put on the pounds, five years to take them off and during that time, I’ve got five new health issues as a result. Yet I have faith that I can do it. I’m down a bit from where I started. Slow and steady wins the race – right? And to heck with every single one of those diets that tell you to eat this and not that, combine these foods but not those, eat every three hours but not before or after this hour, take this pill, have this simple surgery, count your calories, no wait, count fat grams, no wait, count carbs, stay away from fat, eat all the fat you want – its all so ridiculous! Who can keep up?

My mantra has become everything in moderation. Eat less, move more. These are simple concepts! Nothing is off the table – just managed with common sense! More important for me is a reminder that I can do it. I can! I pray each day for the strength to make my health a priority, and with His help, I know I will make my way in that direction. It may take time, but it will happen. And oh, what an accomplishment that will be.

13 I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NCV)

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