I went to the Cooper for Women Breakthrough Conference yesterday. It was targeted to my age group and beyond. Yes, there were 300 or so vibrant women in attendance…from all parts of Southern New Jersey…all aged 50 plus…all looking simply marvelous.
As I boarded the plane for Cincinnati this afternoon for a business trip, I thought about what Elizabeth Edwards said during her keynote remarks: “It’s important to put the life mask on yourself first…to take care of yourself. If you take care of yourself first, you’ll be a better caregiver to others.”
There is definitely so much to do to take care of myself so that I stay healthy during the second half of my life. I thought I was doing a good job of taking care of myself…but I think lately I’ve fallen back into the ‘take care of everyone else’ syndrome. Yes, I’m taking care of the house, and taking care of my kids, and taking care of work…and…and…and the list could go on and on.
But, didn’t I say I needed time to grieve… and what happened to the facials I was going to continue to get once a month (I knew once I slipped for a month I would become an official facial slacker). I also skipped my massage the other week and have not rescheduled (now, I’m a massage slacker too). I haven’t even seen the new Richard Gere movie yet (when I normally would be there the minute it opened…now I’m a Richard Gere slacker too.) And I’m not sleeping too well either (wonder if it has to do with the lack of estrogen that is slowing down in my body…I have been without a period for the past six months…not that I miss it.) I’m definitely a top-notch ‘taking care of me’ slacker. No wonder my muscles are still aching me!
I think with the Jewish New Year coming up this week, it is time to put ‘me’ front and center again as one of my new year’s resolutions. And there are so many things I need to take care of…especially after hearing the health tips from Dr. Rosemarie Leuzzi yesterday. Dr. Leuzzi reminded me to:
Take care of my heart. Since my dad had heart disease and I have high cholesterol, I have to take special care of my heart. It already has been broken and is on the mend…so I need to make sure that I feed it properly and keep all the arteries open so it keeps beating properly.
Take care of my blood pressure. My mom has hypertension so that is another risk factor for me. Glad my blood pressure is not elevated yet. I better keep up with my yoga and mindfulness meditation practices and keep my blood pressure in good shape.
Take care of my glucose levels. I don’t want to get diabetes like my dad had. I have half of his genes too. I’ve been good about getting my glucose levels checked.
Make sure my Body Mass Index(BMI)is the right number. Uh oh, let’s see that chart more closely. Okay, I’m 63 inches tall, and my current body weight is 112 pounds, looks like I’m just about…about…NORMAL. Yeah! I’m NORMAL. And my waist circumference is okay too.
So now what else does Dr. Leuzzi suggest I do as a 50 plus woman?
Eat lots of vegetables and fruits. (I try to get my five to six servings a day…it’s not always easy…but I try.)
Choose foods with whole grains rather than processed grains. (I knew I should have bought the whole grain English Muffins again…and I just bought regular flour to make my holiday challah. Challah is just not the same made with whole grain flour. But I promise to eat my Kashi Heart to Heart cereal each morning…and I have started to buy the multi-grain bagels at the supermarket’s bakery. They are quite good.)
Choose low or fat-free dairy products. (I’ll take the low fat not the fat-free…that fat-free dairy just sometimes tastes like rubber cheese. And I can still enjoy my low fat Activa yogurt.)
Limit saturated fats. (I promise I will not eat the skin on the roasted chicken that I plan to prepare for my holiday dinner.)
Monitor carbohydrate intake. (I will eat angel hair pasta…since it is thinner…but that’s all the limits I am setting in this category…I’m just a carbo-holic and there’s not much I can do about it.)
Limit daily alcohol. (Maybe I will try to switch to red wine at dinner instead of white wine. I heard from one of yesterday’s speakers that alcohol can sometimes keep you up at night. I better take care of myself and get home from work earlier so I can have my evening wine at an earlier hour.)
Routine Vitamin C,E, and carotene not recommended. (What…what…but Dr. Leuzzi, I’ll have to understand why. I have been taking Vitamins C and E…should I stop? I’ll have to write and ask Dr. Leuzzi why?)
There’s also Osteoporosis to worry about and bone density scans. And I have to start taking Calcium and Vitamin D. I never realized that the sunscreen I’ve been using can possibly contribute to Vitamin D deficiencies. To think I spent my summer weekends at the shore and didn’t get enough Vitamin D. But…but…but, I need my sunscreen to protect me from skin cancer and wrinkles.
More ‘taking care of me’ to do…there’s more, more, more…mammograms (check), pap tests (check), colonoscopy (check).
That’s about it for now…coupled with cardio exercise and yoga relaxation and mindfulness meditation.
Let’s see…how many hours are there in a day? I think this ‘taking care of me’ is going to become a really, really BIG new year’s resolution.
There is that old thing about paying ourselves first that is just as apt in personal issues as in money.
Very good and specific advice (and great illustrations!), but don’t forget about taking care of your mental health.
I think you are on the right track. I am a few years older than you and have found that taking good care of my body, face, inside and outside have really paid off. I’m an actress and every time I’m on a film set and the makeup artist says to me “You have such beautiful skin!” I feel once again that all the money I’ve spent on the best products that I can afford to take care of myself have been worth it. By the way, if you’d like to check out my new website just go to http://www.50todeath.com. Joan
You really just need to ask me, you know. Antioxidants have been implicated in higher, yes higher, occurrances of cancer. No one recommends the E and C and carotenes anymore except sometimes, the cardiologists rec E. Just keep up the fruit and veggies!