By Marcia Kester Doyle, author and founder of Menopausal Mother
I hate counting carbs and watching every calorie that goes into my mouth. I also hate getting my yearly physical—especially the weigh-in part. No, scratch that. The pap smear is worse.
Nothing says “vulnerable” more than sitting in a freezing cold cubicle with nothing on but a paper wrapper that exposes my lady bits to the world. Once I hear the snap of the rubber gloves, I know the doctor is about to pry me open as if I was a tightly sealed clam. Thank goodness my doctor has butterflies taped to the ceiling to fool me into thinking I’m in a spring meadow rather than on a table with my feet in stirrups.
If you’ve already hit middle age, then you know you need to be more mindful of your lifestyle. This means no more midnight runs to Taco Bell or downing Jager Bombs at 2:00am. Although Keith Richards has done a great job proving most of the health gurus’ advice wrong, he is the exception. Sorry, but you’re going to have to put down that bacon burger and reach for some fresh kale.
The key to staying healthy and living longer is pretty simple. Eat right, exercise, and see your doctor on a regular basis. If you take this advice, chances are you’ll be around long enough to see astronauts land on Mars.
Keep up with yearly doctor visits
It’s important that every midlifer visit their dermatologist, optometrist, dentist, gynecologist and nutologist (okay, I made that one up for the men) and, in 5-10 year increments, the proctologist. Yep, you need to have a camera shoved up your you-know-what to check for colon cancer and polyps. No worries—pretty soon they’ll have a smart phone to do the colonoscopy for you.
Ladies, be sure to keep up with your mammograms as well. Personally, I think men should be required to have nutograms, just to even the score….
If you’re as lazy as I am, this is a tough one. I can work up a sweat just trudging through shag carpet to get to the refrigerator. Get those Rollerblades out of the attic, dust off your spandex leggings and clean the rust out of your bicycle (but first, check for spider colonies in the spokes). If you own a Fitbit, wear it daily to see how many miles you’ve walked and the amount of calories you’ve burned. If the bracelet is still sitting in the box, then your Fitbit has turned into a Fatbit.
It’s no longer acceptable to sit through a Netflix marathon with one hand buried in a bowl of chips and the other wrapped around a soda can. You need to switch out the couch for a treadmill and swap the chips and soda with a water bottle and a sweat rag. Don’t be one of those people who makes a New Year’s resolution to go to the gym religiously, and then when Easter hits, you quit. Cadbury Creme Eggs and Peeps are not an excuse to stop exercising.
Remember those yummy chocolate milkshakes you used to suck down at the local burger joint? Fuggedaboutit. Your drink of choice now has a new name. It’s called a “chia seed and kale smoothie.” Just add a banana, some Greek yogurt and a touch of honey so that you won’t feel like you’re drinking something that came from the bottom of the lawn mower bag.
I’ll bet you also remember when breakfast was FUN. Bacon, eggs, hash browns, donuts…..does that ring a bell? Sorry, but it’s time to say sayonara to that heart attack on a plate and opt for egg whites scrambled with fresh spinach, a cup of fruit and a thin slice of whole wheat toast (hold the butter, please). Chicken and fish will become your best friends too, with steak being the one-night stand that haunts your dreams.
You’re going to need to ease up a little on the caffeine and wine, too. Well, maybe the caffeine isn’t so bad if you don’t mind hanging out with the owls. And wine? Heck, that’s made from grapes….and grapes are fruit. Fruit is part of the food pyramid, so go ahead and fill up your glass.
My advice for midlifers who want to stay healthy? Don’t eat any corn before you go the proctologist.
And keep your clam clean.
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Marcia Kester Doyle is the author of the humor book, Who Stole My Spandex?: Life in the Hot Flash Lane, and the voice behind the midlife blog, Menopausal Mother. Her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, and Bonbon Break, amongst others. Marcia lives in sunny South Florida with her husband, four children, one feisty granddaughter and two chunky pugs. Check out Marcia on her blog, her author page, on Facebook, on Twitter and on Instagram.