Saturday, July 20, 2024
HomeHealthy Lifestyle5 Things I’m doing at 47 to avoid regret at 87

5 Things I’m doing at 47 to avoid regret at 87

No matter what your current age or stage of life, I’m sure you’d like the actions you’re taking to be impactful – both for your current state of health, but also for setting yourself up down the road. Because we want to be able to look back in 10 years and thank the person we are today for setting us up so well with a strong body, healthy joints, good habits and great energy. We want to be able to enjoy life to the fullest in a strong, fit body we love – and what we do right now is setting us up for that future.

In this episode, I’m exploring….

How our actions set us up for our future bodies
⭐ How my mindset has changed in perimenopause
⭐ How walking impacts fat loss, supports muscle and bone density
⭐ How to use training volume to your advantage
⭐ The importance of self care as we lose collagen and elastin
⭐ The value of cooking more and drinking less
⭐ Putting rest and sleep in their place
⭐ The All or Something approach

Links featured in this episode:

Episode Transcript

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Betty Rocker (00:15):
What’s up, Rockstars Coach Betty Rocker here. Hey, thanks so much for joining me. I wanted to talk about some of the things I’ve been doing that have been making me feel like I was almost able to wind the clock back even after I hit perimenopause and thought that the changes I was starting to see were part of aging and that I was probably never going to be able to get my full strength and power back. And I mean, you know, aging can be seen as such a bad thing, but I don’t see it that way. We’re all aging every single day, but whether that means we’re falling apart or it means we’re getting smarter about how we live is all up to us. So no matter what age or life stage you are at right now, I’m sure you’d like the actions you’re taking to be things that help you feel and look your best right now, and also setting you up for years to come.

So the things I wanted to share with you today are all simple things. They’re probably things that you’re doing some or even all of, but maybe not as consistently as you could be because you didn’t realize what an impact they were actually having on you. And they’re all things that anyone can do and they really add up and have a big impact over time because really every single day the actions we’re taking are setting us up for our future self. Who is going to live in this body? I think back to my thirties and some of the health struggles that I had back then and how it was actually the things I did in my twenties that set me up for that because everything we do accumulates in ourselves, in our bodies over time, and we don’t always pay the consequences of tremendous stress or actions that we’ve taken until years down the road.

You know, maybe you can relate. I mean, our twenties are all about experimentation and figuring out our limits and trying things out. I certainly pushed a lot of boundaries with my health in those days going way too hard, not eating enough, doing a lot of drinking and smoking and other experimental things. I mean, there’s the college experience that a lot of us have. There’s also the years when we’re just trying to figure out our identity. And I can say at least for myself, that I did a lot of really dumb things to my body and things I wouldn’t do now. And I was also just really hard on myself internally. I was living with a lot of internal stress that I hadn’t figured out how to handle or process and you know, I was just trying to find my way. And I know I’m not the only one who has that type of experience in in my younger years.

So when I look back on my thirties and I remember really hitting a wall and experiencing a lot of hormone imbalance back then from depleting my immune system and running down my energy and just having a lot of adrenal depletion from too much stress, I think about what I was doing in my twenties and how that really played out in the next decade in both really positive and really negative ways because certainly I paid the price for the experimentation and going so hard. But while I could view those things as just a bunch of mistakes, I’m also grateful I had the opportunity to learn and make those mistakes because paying the consequences meant that I had to decide how I wanted to live moving forward. And I think pain is a teacher in this way, right? We often don’t change until we are suffering and we can’t think ahead in life until we’ve got some experience under our belt and understand that the actions that we, that we take really do have consequences.

So I would say that I started to get a lot more thoughtful and intentional in my thirties as a result of that. So I’m glad I was able to learn from my, you know, quote unquote mistakes. And as I look back at the person I was in my thirties now, and I, I often thank her because the woman I am now in my late forties is very much living in a body that was shaped by the choices I made in that last decade of my life. The training I did, the choices I made about eating and how I took care of myself that all accumulated at a cellular level. Of course I wasn’t perfect and I had a lot to learn, but I also can see how much I did right. And I’m so grateful to that version of myself who came before I think about this perspective, we start to get, you know, I think about it a lot these days, especially when I hang out with some of my older relatives, like my aunt Joan who’s in her eighties and is such an inspiration to me.

She’s got a busy and full life. She’s walking every day. She drives herself to run all of her errands, she runs her household, she calls the shots in her own life. And all of that is a product of the choices she has made over the past several decades. You know, she’ll, she’ll watch my Instagram stories and text me to say, you need to keep exercising and keep stretching like that so you can still be strong at my age because you know, she really values her mobility and I know I’m going to wanna have that same autonomy and ability to move when I get to her age. I really wanna be able to look back on my life in 20 to 30 years in a strong healthy body and say, damn girl, you set us up so good. So you know, here I am at 47 and a half and I’m probably five years into the perimenopause phase of my life.

It was my early forties when I first started noticing my body changed and I started getting my hormones tested and noticing those fluctuations. This is a totally natural and normal stage of a woman’s life. And while we may all experience it a little differently, there is this transition we go through that’s about so much more than our changing hormones. I think one thing that I noticed that was different as I got into these transition years was the things I valued had changed at the start of perimenopause. Before I figured out how to navigate it, my body changed, I gained some weight. If that had happened at another point in my life, I would’ve been really down on myself and upset. But I realized I had lived 40 years in this body and that I had learned to be a friend to myself and to value myself for all of my many qualities.

I wasn’t all down on myself for seeing some changes, though I was concerned for health reasons and wanted to figure it out. And I just found myself a lot more curious and intrigued. You know, part of that came from having started to shift more into a mindset of wanting to be strong more than I just wanted to be sexy . Not that I didn’t still take pride in my appearance and want to feel beautiful, I just had found a way for that to have its place rather than it being such an important part of my life that consumed me that I would be running after diet trends and over training all the time. You know, I was very lucky to have access to such a great network of doctors and people who study women’s hormones and women’s health because the more I learned and applied, the better I felt.

My body got lean and muscular again. And while that was great because it was a sign that I was in peak form and peak health, even with a totally different hormone profile, I also didn’t put as much emphasis on how that made me look as I would’ve at other times in my life. I just felt really grateful to be so functional, to have healthy joints, to have such a strong immune system, to be able to lift and carry and work on my house and not be sore all the time or achy. And I realized that my mindset had shifted and I suspect I’m not the only one that this happens to as we walk through the transition or the threshold that is perimenopause. We’re heading to the next level of our lives and there are some things that just start to matter more to us and some things that maybe used to be the most important things that are just not the driving force for our behavior anymore.

So anyway, I just wanted to share with you the sort of mindset I have about these actions I wanna share because you know, that’s really helped me in perimenopause to navigate and set myself up for the next decade of my life because if they can work for me at one of the most topsy-turvy times of a woman’s life, when our hormones are all over the place, they will help you as well. Whether you’re just where I am, whether you’re still in your cycling years, hoping to set yourself up for the next decade, or whether you’re well past me in the next place and looking to set yourself up for the next decade of your own life, we can all benefit from forward thinking and having the perspective on that big picture of our life and our health. So number one, I really started to incorporate more movement and less sitting into my day.

I got out and walked after my meals. I made myself set timers to get up and walk around my house more. I intentionally walked more on the weekend and I just walked way more than I used to. This had such a big impact on my body’s ability to lose the extra body fat that was clinging to my arms and waist and thighs and even my face. I just felt puffier all the time when perimenopause started. And we’ve talked about in a couple of recent podcasts how walking has such tremendous health benefits for us as women. But if you happen to be in the perimenopause years or post menopause years and you’re noticing it’s harder to lose body fat than it used to be, that’s partly due to the drop in our hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone and walking more is a great way to get the advantage back in your court.

Not only does it help with fat loss, but it’s also gonna help preserve and strengthen your bone density. It’s gonna help you preserve your muscle mass. It uh, reduces the risk of nearly all forms of cancer and it has so many health benefits for us in general. I’ll, I’ll use little walking hacks like I got a walking pad for instance, and I keep it by my TV so that if I’m watching a show I don’t just veg out the entire time I get myself moving the links to the walking pad I like are on the show notes page if you’re wondering which ones I use or anything like that. It’s mine is very lightweight and portable, so I’ll just move it around my house if I wanna use it some other places too. And sometimes I’ll wear a weighted vest if I’m gonna go for a walk just to increase the challenge to my cardiovascular system.

But you don’t even need that. It’s just a bonus, little extra tool. And when it comes to cardio in general in perimenopause, I do a really minimal amount of cardio compared to what I used to do. It still has its place and it’s awesome for us, but doing so much of it I found doesn’t serve us as well at this time in our lives. Now. Short burst cardio, explosive cardio, high intensity interval training, sprint training that’s all really efficient and helps load our joints, strengthens our muscle tissue, helps strengthen our bones, but it’s for a quick time period rather than this really prolonged time with a lot of repetitive motion on our joints that can be really wearing over time. So I incorporate that short burst cardio, that explosive cardio into my training now each week but in a much more strategic way than I used to with all the running and the extra cardio I used to do.

I know you might hear out there somewhere that cardio is bad for you and that cardio wrecks your cortisol and stuff like that. And while that’s a bit of an extreme perspective , um, to take the nugget of truth that’s in there is that if you are in the menopause years, you either have less progesterone or you have very low progesterone. And progesterone is a hormone that helps to buffer the cortisol response. So if we have a lot of high stress either coming from life or over training or things like too much cardio for instance, we just feel it more than we did when we had higher levels of that hormone circulating in our bodies. So over training, regardless of the training type, and that’s like where you train too frequently to let your body recover from the inflammatory burden of workout places on your system.

And as we lose some of those key hormones, we don’t bounce back as quickly from our training. So we just need to be a little more strategic our recovery time. And of course it follows that doing too much cardio is also going to place a greater stress burden on our system. But cardiovascular exercise is still great for us. We just don’t wanna be overdoing it. That’s why I love the high intensity interval training or sprint or explosive type of cardio. It’s very efficient. It gives us all the benefits of cardio in a short timeframe and then we don’t overdo it. And of course, speaking of training, the volume of our training becomes really important to pay attention to because we’re losing our estrogen in the perimenopause years and estrogen is anabolic or muscle supporting and as we have less of it, we have a little bit less advantage in muscle rebuilding than we did before.

So when it comes to our training, we just wanna train in ways that stimulate the muscle to respond effectively. That means higher volume training sessions that are actually hard for us and that get our muscle to work against enough of a load to where it has to respond and come back stronger. So here’s where we wanna kind of put aside the lightweights if we were using them and start to get more intentional about the amount of resistance we are working against. It doesn’t mean we can’t begin with body weight training and build from there into small weights. It’s a progression from wherever you are starting from. But wherever you are, start to ramp up the challenge to yourself. If you’re someone who’s already training with dumbbells, how can you start to get more specific about the challenge your body is working against? Could you do less reps with more weight for instance?

Or is your training getting a little stale? And maybe it’s just time to try something new. I mean, maybe you’re even more experienced in working with heavier equipment but you’re not seeing much of a change. Might be time to like mix up your training plan or add some high intensity interval training into the mix or change up your rep range so that you get a little bit more out of your training sessions, which increases the volume of your training. So you wanna make your workouts challenging bottom line and incorporate resistance training. And because your workout sessions will be tough, you wanna recover effectively around them. Whether you’re doing that high intensity interval training or resistance training or you’re doing them together in your workout session, you wanna make sure you can come to your next workout prepared to give your all not still inflamed and tired from your last workout and you wanna be able to make that workout session you’re gonna do really effective since you showed up, right?

This would give you great results at any age. But in our perimenopause and postmenopausal years, this kind of training and recovery really serves us as we just don’t have the same levels of estrogen to help us recover as quickly as we used to. So this is why, for instance, in PerimenoFit – my new strength training program for women in perimenopause, (which can also be used if you’re in post menopause) I have included the perfect balance of high volume training that incorporates resistance training and explosive cardio. And of course I made it with three options. So wherever you’re at, you can follow the right video for your workout, whether that’s the body weight track, the home workout equipment track or the gym or heavier equipment track. It’s really a great program to have because you can use any of those videos anytime and even switch between them.

But it really gives you the perfect balance. I would say the other aspect of our training that becomes really important as we age especially, is to be more proactive with our self-care, like stretching around our workouts and doing things like yoga and mobility on our recovery days, we really just start to lose some of the elasticity in our body as we age, as we just aren’t producing as much collagen and elastin. And if we would start to just be a little more diligent with our stretching, we could really help take care of our joints and keep our range of motion strong and our muscle tissue flexible and our joint spaces fluid. Would this benefit you if you’re in your thirties or years away from menopause? Absolutely. But it really becomes super important to put this into practice once you hit your forties and beyond. And it will really set you up to keep those joints healthy and prevent soreness and tightness, which in turn helps prevent injury.

And speaking of self-care, cooking more for myself has become something that has just been a total non-negotiable. Like the more I learned about the gut microbiome and what a big impact I would have on the balance of my hormones and the absorption of key nutrients just by paying more attention to simple things like chewing more frequently when I eat and cooking for myself. So I was sure to have good meals on hand that included a lot of, you know, fiber rich veggies and grains and plenty of protein to make sure I had all the amino acid building blocks I needed, the better I felt and the faster my body responded. And while cooking or at least figuring out what you’re gonna eat is something we all have to do every single day and the choices that we make are gonna have a profound influence on our bodies.

I will say that probably the one thing I didn’t expect to change so much was that I just kind of naturally stopped drinking alcohol and I’d had, you know, a lot of different experiences with alcohol throughout the course of my life. Times I abused it, times I used it for self-medication, times that I quit altogether. But never before did I just sort of like let it go in this way. It was just really interesting. I just realized, I started to notice how much harder it would hit me, how much harder it was to recover even after one glass of wine. And it almost like, I almost felt like it was poisoning me when I would drink it. It like my brain was just like felt horrible as soon as I would start to drink it. It’s always like that first sip of like a really good wine would taste amazing and then after that it would just go all downhill .

So that could have just been me and my own personal experience. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but for me, just letting it go was very natural and I didn’t tell myself I could never have it. And I think that was probably part of what was so balanced for me. I just have noticed how much better my entire body feels without it in my system. I mean, it’s hard on our liver, it’s hard on our gut microbiome, it’s hard on our brain, it’s hard on our bodies. It it, it definitely dampens our testosterone. It has a lot of impacts on us. So I’m just sharing that from my own experience. Letting alcohol go and not be a part of my life on as regular basis as it has been in the past has been really, really beneficial for me. Now I know I’ve talked about protein intake a lot in the past, so I’ll just touch on it briefly to remind you that as we age, we just don’t absorb the amino acids in our protein-rich foods as easily.

So we just need a little more to do the same amount as before. So if you’re losing muscle tissue, this is a really easy way to help support your body in preserving it and support your body in rebuilding it if you’re exercising regularly, because we don’t just need amino acids for our muscle tissue. That’s certainly one of the reasons we need it. But we also need it for things like hormone enzyme function and cognitive function and our immune system function. And when your body can’t find the amino acids it needs circulating in your system from say, your last meal, it breaks down your muscle tissue to get the amino acids that are stored there, which means you’re losing muscle when you don’t have to be because you’re not eating enough protein. So that’s an easy tweak to make, you know, just make sure you’ve got a good protein source in all your main meals and that you’re eating enough throughout the day to support all those functions we talked about and your brain power and your workouts.

And of course, too much of anything isn’t great for us. I’m not advocating some ridiculously high protein diet. I just want you to start making it a point to include protein on purpose and make sure that it takes up between, you know, 25 to 35% of your daily intake of food. It’s not just one thing we do. I know it might be easy to wanna, you know, see results from a workout and get frustrated with ourselves when in 30 days of starting a new workout program we don’t have our dream body. It’s just that there’s more to getting the body to respond to a workout than just working out. We have these other layers that make the stimulus from the workout actually be effective. Like if we’re taking enough rest for the body to recover and repair, whether we’re giving ourselves the building blocks from the food we’re eating to accomplish the repair, and whether we’re eating enough to, you know what I call keep the lights on, right?

That’s all the processes your body does just existing, like we talked about recently about our resting metabolic rate. If we’re barely eating enough for those functions, we can’t easily get stronger because on top of our basic functions, we need energy for digesting and absorbing our food, moving around throughout the day, stuff like walking, and then our workouts too because our overall energy burn in a day is influenced by how much we moved around outside of our workouts. It’s influenced by how much protein we ate. Remember that protein requires more energy to break down than your other foods. And how much you burn daily is also related to how much muscle you are already carrying. So putting this over, focus on our workouts as the only thing that’s going to give us results isn’t really fair to you because your results come from the big picture of actions you take throughout the day.

And over time, one of those things is sleep of course, and getting to bed at a good time for ourselves. I know that sometimes you just cannot control getting a good night’s sleep, right? Like especially when you’re dealing with hormone imbalances. But even if you’re not getting perfect sleep every night, try to make it a point to get in bed at a consistent time to do some winding down activities, whether it’s reading or some mindfulness or breathing or journaling. You know, working on habits like making bedtime really important part of my day had a really big impact on my body’s ability to handle stress and to recover effectively from my workouts. Did you know actually that one of the hormones that is produced in our gut is serotonin and poor gut health can increase our anxiety and feelings of depression when it’s low. Low serotonin also means low melatonin, which is the hormone we need to get good sleep.

So paying attention to our gut health, like we were talking about before, can actually really help support your sleep at any age. And it becomes one of those things in perimenopause that can make a big difference in how you feel. Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to get perfect sleep. You know, just try and make your bedtime a priority because you’re gonna benefit from the wind down the relaxation time when you get off your phone, you remove stimulation and you rest. I really feel like a ton of that stuff like being on our phone too much and not practicing things like intentional self-care, the self-care stuff that stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system or our rest and digest state. You know, not paying attention to those things. It can make it a lot harder to get sleep in general. So make it a point to turn your phone off or turn it on airplane mode if you can, or turn off the apps that distract you at a certain point in the evening.

Find a book, dim the lights in your house and remember that bright lights will make it harder for that melatonin to rise naturally, which also makes it harder for us to fall asleep and stay asleep. Maybe start doing some breathing activities to calm your system if that’s appealing. I put some great ones into the new PerimenoFit program actually because supporting our stress response and helping to reduce the cortisol in our system as those progesterone levels drop is really beneficial for us during those transition years anyway. I know we covered a bunch of things and they’re all connected, but they’re also all connected to you living longer and setting yourself up for success in the next decade and even the next four decades if you find some of these really challenging to incorporate because of your circumstances. Remember I gave you many, not just one. So focus on the ones you can do and work on them.

It’s all or something, not all or nothing in my book. Remember, everything you do makes a difference. And as we get a handle on one thing, it’s a lot easier to stack or add other things as we go. Don’t let your brain tell you that you’re not doing enough. And if it does, tell it to be quiet. Remember, our brains are wired for survival. They have a healthy fear-based center that likes to try to convince us we’re in danger all the time. So we have to actively overcome that by gently reminding ourselves and reminding that fear-based part of our brains, that we’re actually doing great, that we’re safe, that we’ve got this, that we’re taking meaningful action and that we simply need to keep repeating it, stay patient and trust that process. I just wanted to share what has really been helping me, especially in this decade of my forties, even as I’m approaching the next decade.

And I’m really looking forward to figuring out how to navigate these next 10 to 20 years, right? I’m sure there will be a lot of new lessons and things I’ll find out when I get there. Probably the main curiosity I have right now about that next decade is how much better a friend to myself I will be. You know, the mental health stuff can be really hard to navigate, and I know it’s been a lot easier to live with myself as I’ve become so much less self-critical and a lot less worried about what other people think of me. But I know there are still things I’m working on in myself that I hope I can keep learning and growing as I go. And I’d love to hear from you and your perspective on the things you’ve noticed. What has changed for you over the years in your own life.

You may be farther down the road from me and have some things you wanna share. Looking back, you may be a little earlier in your journey than I am, but you’ve probably learned some things that maybe I didn’t learn. So are there any specific lessons or any specific actions you are taking that are really helping you? Be sure to share them with me. You can comment on the show notes page over on the betty in the podcast section where you’ll also find links to all the things I was sharing in today’s episode, including the new PerimenoFit program. Of course, you can just type the betty for that and it will take you there too. But more links can be found on the show notes page and you can drop me a line there anytime. I always love hearing from you. I really look forward to our next conversation rockstar. So thanks for listening today, and until then, I’m Betty Rocker and you are so awesome, flawsome and amazing. Bye for now.

This episode brought to you by PerimenoFit!

PerimenoFit is an 8-week strength training program for women in perimenopause. You’ll have the option to do the program with your own bodyweight, with home workout equipment, or gym equipment (or switch between them options anytime). It includes a Cookbook and Eating Guide for perimenopause, a PerimenoFit Essentials Guide and lots of amazing bonuses to help you rock the transition years!

Find out more right here!

Thanks for listening! Leave a comment and share your thoughts, and/or leave a podcast review on iTunes!

The post 5 Things I’m doing at 47 to avoid regret at 87 appeared first on The Betty Rocker.

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