It’s probably fairly obvious that one of the very first things a person may think about when approaching an age milestone, especially a woman, is their appearance.
As I mentioned in my previous post, there’s a huge difference between what a typical fifty year old woman likely looked like a hundred, seventy, fifty or even twenty-five years ago and a typical fifty year woman in the 21st century. The good news is, we’re looking better, ladies! The bad news is, we’re looking better ladies! Meaning, there continues to be the pressure that began in junior high to be attractive that has not let up since. At least those of us of a certain age can take some small comfort in that it didn’t start any earlier than junior high; while at the same time, feel deeply sorrowful that some of the girls today begin to look like Hoochie Mama’s when they are ten. Or six. Or younger. And then there is the on-going battle with eating disorders in girls which just seems to be getting worse and worse.
Although I’ve never considered myself to be a beauty in the traditional sense of the word, I didn’t make out half-bad in the looks department; this due in large part to being blessed with a relatively slim figure and the inheritance of my mother’s green eyes. Combined with confidence (faked when I was younger, real when I was older), a great metabolism, and a good sense of what to wear that flattered me, I was quite the package if I do say so myself. Oh, and I wasn’t a total bimbo-head either, which certainly helped. Anyway, I had quite a wonderful stretch of years when I looked great, knew it, and didn’t have to work all that hard at it.
Now, I WAS a late bloomer in this regard. Although I was cute as a little mousie when I was little-little, around the time I turned 8 or so, I stopped growing. What this meant was I turned into a little pudge-ball with a round round face and a broad barrel-ish torso. I won’t go into too much detail about this period other than to say I thank my lucky stars that I was not born in the year 2000 because I’m sure my life would have been made a total, living hell by all those Hoochie Mama ‘tweens I was talking about earlier. My Father told me later he always thought I was adorable at this stage, citing that I was “The right amount of round”. Be that as it may, I was very happy when, at age 12 or so, my arms and legs grew at great length, pulling that roundness right out of me.
Cute Little Mousie
The Right Amount of Round
Hello Bony Moronie!
After enjoying being a Bony Moronie for twenty or so years, at around age 30, I had to work harder at the figure thing. I started going to the gym religiously in the late 1990s and, for the most part, I’ve kept this up. In addition, I did a lot of step aerobics at home and had (and still do) a torturous abdominal routine that requires at least 400 sit-ups/crunches per day. For awhile, this worked great but as the years move on, well, I find I’m continually having to add to my fitness routine to get the same results. Of course, this is no surprise, it happens to everyone and I knew it was coming. Still, a funny thing; as you get older, you don’t always have as much energy as you used to and yet you have to use all the energy you have plus some to maintain some sort of figure that you can live with.
Let me take a moment here to say something very important. This is how I feel. I am in no way casting judgment on ladies (or gents) who feel differently, or who don’t have the time to work out that much, or have a family history of heaviness or, or, or. This is just me. I’m probably never going to get away from wanting to be on the thin side. In fact, honestly, it’s physically painful for me to get too heavy and I turn into an emotional wreck. Know thyself, and all; and, of course, be healthy, whatever your shape.
Ok. So here I am now approaching fifty. I have a vision in my mind of what I want to feel like and look like physically. And, it all boils down to a few things; be at a healthy weight, be toned, have decent strength and endurance, and look classy. Note I didn’t say, “Look younger than I am”. I really don’t care about this as much as I do looking good for how old I am. As much as I long for the days of wearing those sexy tight clothes, it ain’t going to happen, even if I COULD pull it off. I’d rather be an Audrey Hepburn than a Cher any day.
So, how to get there from here (or, rather, last Monday when I started)? First things first. Diet and exercise. Yeah, like a lot of folks, I fell off the gym wagon during the holidays. Generally speaking I didn’t eat all that badly (I managed to avoid all the cookies I baked until right before Christmas), however I did eat more than I usually do and I certainly drank more than I like to and all this went on for a period of about four weeks. Combined with not going to the gym, let’s just say the end result was not very attractive, as judged by a picture I took of my stomach while laying in bed one night after Mr. B had fallen asleep. Seriously. I was reading and happened to look down at myself and almost screamed. "Who’s big white flabby fish belly is THAT?" "Sorry, honey, it’s yours!" So I wouldn’t forget, I whipped out the trusty cell and snapped the picture. No, you won’t be seeing it on Facebook (or here), I’ll spare you that. Well, ok, maybe I’ll post it along with the “after” picture once I get my rock hard abs back.
Anyway, I digress. We all know the only way, really, to get into shape, is to diet and exercise. Nothing will ever change this, I don’t care how much money you drop on pills or Dr. Oz’s remedy or that funky device that supposedly you’re able to stand on it for 10 minutes a day and you lose a ton of weight and tone up. So, diet and exercise; that’s what I’m doing (along with millions of other people in the world this January). However, I will keep at it; thankfully, I do have self-control/self-disciple (thank you again, Mr. Jordan, for assigning me that report on ducks). With the help of Lance Armstrong’s Live Strong website My Daily Plate (I make no commentary on HIS troubles this January) and my YMCA membership, I shouldn’t have any trouble getting where I want to get, albeit it’s likely going to take me longer than it would have ten, or even five years ago.
However, although the bad news about not going to the gym for awhile is muscle, if not exercised, tends to turn into lard fairly quickly; luckily, the reverse of this is true. Once you do return to exercising, the muscles soon remember their former shape and hop back to it faster than you’d think.
Isn’t that sorta true about a lot of things?