Friday, April 29, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
As a 20-something who is constantly looking to women older and wiser than I for mentorship, support and guidance I was struck by the utter brilliance of Christina Vuleta's website 40:20 vision. 40:20 Vision is "an experiment in sharing the wisdom of 40-something women with 20-something women." With everything from advice on relationships, careers and body image, the site is a godsend for those of us looking for a little bit of guidance. She agreed to answer some questions for Guiltless and her responses and advice were so detailed and wonderful I just HAD to split it into two segments. Read on for part I:
Q. What changes take place in the mind of a women who is looking in the mirror as she grows from 20 something to 40 something? How do our perceptions of our bodies change?
20s; Wow…there are some bones under that freshman 15.
30s: Hello under eye circles. Let’s call them bedroom eyes.
40s: Hello lines….is that me?
There’s definitely a moment when you see the first line and it seems like the Grand Canyon has appeared on your forehead with a big sign pointing to it that says….hello, I’m getting older! You think it’s huge. No one else even notices it. You might not even notice it until you have to start wearing glasses (another thing that kicks in at 40 even if you had 20/20 vision) and then…OMG you see a road map on your face. It’s a moment of awakening.
The thing is we don’t feel any different on the inside...and these little wrinkles are wake up call to the aging process…something you can’t control. So you go through a little bit of a freak out… and then you can turn left or right.
Left: You don’t worry about it and realize that it’s part of life and just a part of you. You take care of yourself, eat well moisturize, exfoliate and use a little retin A, and no more “maybe a little sun is okay” moments.
Right: You do everything you can to fight it. You go through a whole new stage of experimenting with skincare trying to find the magic answer. Perhaps engaging in a little help from botox or looking into all the new options out there. Let’s just say moderation is key. You notice it way more than other people do. Does your partner love you any less? Do your friends like you any better? It’s really only about what makes you feel better. So whatever you do, do it for yourself not someone else!
On the whole we become a little more accepting and embracing of who we are as we get older. We’re more forgiving of our flaws. We learn to live with what when we loathed when we were younger. Mostly it’s about confidence.
What gives you confidence is taking charge of your body. So many of the women I talk to feel stronger, more beautiful and sexier than they did at 20. It’s about the whole package and your mindset. Fitness knows no age. Inner beauty is not a number. When you’re strong and fit you do feel empowered and as cliché as it sounds, it shows. There’s a transition in your early 30s for some, and early 40s for others where you realize you just can’t eat the way you used to anymore. It’s harder to eat anything in sight and not see the effects. You can either get depressed by that and hate yourself and start a negative cycle of over-eating, feeling bad about yourself, getting depressed, and over-eating. Or you can work hard (work on yourself) and develop a healthy body and mind that will sustain you through your 30s and 40s and beyond. That’s a whole different cycle. Eat better, feel better, workout better, feel better. And with that comes the confidence. When you’re confident you don’t care so much about that flaw that rendered you self conscious and insecure 10 years ago. You develop a different kind of beauty that’s more powerful.
This 40-something woman has a great take on how it goes:
“You realize as you get older the people you enjoy hanging around with. whether they be your spouse or your girl friends, whoever they are… you didn't choose them because of how they looked or because the size of their waist. I truly believe people should not let themselves get outside of some range of what is healthy and you have these extremes on either end. Then once you're in that range, you're going to have like bigger legs and so and so is going to have beautiful hands. This one is going to have hair that grays early. That’s just the way it’s going to be. So once you’re in the range of you keeping healthy, try to let go a little bit.”
Some women also the fear of the loss of desire or attraction to partners or potential mate as they show signs of aging. Is it really a natural drive for men to be drawn to pursue a more youthful (see child-bearing) ideal. But that’s not always the case. Look at Susan Sarandon for example. The confidence gained also means being comfortable in your sexuality. At 40, you are also more at peace with yourself…so that fear of not having a man may become less important as well. If you want to be with someone you probably will. It will all be okay.
Q. What do you love about your body as a 40 something that you didn't love so much as a 20 something?
The most confident women I know “own it”. They have come to terms with their body and have learned to know what works and what doesn’t and then get on with it. The parts may become less important. Personally, I can finally say I like my bum after a lifelong battle against it. When my mom was born the nurse said, “My what a big butt this baby has”. Suffice it to say I inherited this. Perhaps my eyes were bigger than my rear…I was very self-conscious about it. No amount of squats changed it. Although I think Pilates helped! Then one day I realized it wasn’t that big of a deal. Now I love it and it’s just a part of me. I guess it’s my own version of love handles! And in truth being in good physical shape overall made it less of an issue. Thanks to working out by doing things I like to do, I became more aware of my body’s power. It’s not just going through the motions…it’s doing it because you like the way it feels. Just like eating, experiment with working out to find something you like doing if you can. You don’t have to be a marathon runner. It’s just about getting your body moving and feeling alive. I think that’s where the forgiveness comes in. Love yourself and I believe more love will come your way no matter your shape, size or body foil. When you love yourself, you take better care of yourself and you’re more comfortable in your skin no matter what. This woman offers some wonderful insight on her journey to loving your body.
“I’m not sure I loved anything about myself when I was 20. I was so wrapped up in trying to look like other women (which in most cases was unattainable) and what other people (mainly men) thought of me. There was so much wasted energy worrying about things no one really noticed. When you are older, you realize that men, too, are going through the same issues and really don’t notice that you got your eyebrows waxed or (gasp!) gained 2 lbs!
When you start feeling more self-confident about your looks after many mistakes and some success, you start liking the way you look and feeling more comfortable in your own skin. You start recognizing your potential and you are happy (happier?). Then you become more appealing to others. Nothing is less appealing than low self-confidence and a negative self- image!
I like my body now way more than when I was 20 but it was a long road of self-exploration, exercise, experimentation and loads of mistakes! I now have come to grips with the fact that in order to stay fit, i must exercise, eat well and make healthy choices. It sounds so simple, but it has taken me years to embrace.”
What is 1 thing you wish you could tell yourself 5 years ago?
Sunday, April 24, 2011
2nd grade: I learned that flossing is good for your health. I'd floss every day, but I couldn't floss enough. At PTA, my teacher told my parents that she was worried that I was too hard on myself. Ha, understatement.
3rd grade: I got a "good" in conduct as opposed to "outstanding", because I was a bit chatty. Threw a tantrum, maybe even called the cops (long story), definitely created a ridiculous scene. "Good" was Not.Good.Enough.
4th grade: I could spell at the level of an 8th grader. But I felt I should be at the 12th grade level. Stared at my dictionary for hours on end until my eyes hurt. I couldn't spell enough words.
5th grade: I read a book a week, but one of the other kids in the class read two. I tried and tried to read more than one, but I just couldn't read fast enough.
6th, 7th, and 8th grade: Became aware of my body and my appearance and my clothes. Started to read fashion magazines. You know how the story goes. And so continues the pattern that was just not good enough.
Even as a grown woman in my late twenties, I still struggle with this problem! Do I exercise enough? Do I work hard enough? Do I see my friends and family enough? And then there's also the "too much" problem. Do I spend too much? Do I talk too much? Do I spend too much time on on my laptop and not enough outside enjoying life? Do I think and self-analyze too much? (ha..ironic for this post, wouldn't you say?) When is enough good enough?! What is the perfect amount of anything?
1.) Set specific, realistic exercise goals. For example, every Sunday, I pick three workouts that I know I will absolutely enjoy for that week (Monday-Friday). I commit to these workouts, and I hope that I will get to the gym on the other days. But if I don't, it's ok, because those were going to be bonus days anyway. If I make the three classes that I decided on, then that is good enough. And I usually make it to at least one bonus day, and that always feels so good!
2.) Be kind to your calendar. I love to spend time with my friends, but I often feel like I don't see them enough. But I also realize that I lead a pretty busy life as do they, so it's not realistic to think I will get to spend time with them every week. So I, and they, schedule strategically. We pick one day every couple of weeks and we stick to that plan. If we see each other in between, that's just a wonderful bonus. But if we don't, there's nothing to feel bad about, because we have established a pattern that works for us! Don't overbook yourself. Remember that if you need to schedule some me-time, you can always write that in your calendar to make it official!
3.) Plan your meals but leave room for variety. Each week, I will go grocery shopping, and I will buy pretty much the same things. Almost every day, I'll have my oatmeal and fruit, my green tea and coffee, my salad at lunch, Larabar before the gym, and then some kind of dinner with protein, whole grains, and veggies. This is usually my goal, because I think this daily menu includes a perfect balance of fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. BUT, I leave holes in the week for variety. For example, I buy dinner ingredients for Monday-Friday night, but I tell myself that one night is variable. If I feel like spending on take-out pizza or Chinese food, or if I feel like going out for BBQ or Sushi one night, then that is perfectly acceptable. The money and indulgences that go along with the decision to dine out become fun instead of going against the plan! If I decide to cook every night that week (Monday-Friday I mean...Saturdays and Sundays are always variable!), then I see it as a health bonus. But if I decide to use the variable day, I see it as a fun bonus. It's a win-win!
4.) Prioritize your to-do list. For example, the top of my to-do list will be tasks that are due that upcoming week. Then the next section are tasks due in the near future that I really hope to get done, but I don't necessarily have to. Finally, I have a "bonus" section where I list things that would be really awesome to do, but are only extras. If I make it to the second section, I feel good. If I make it to the bonus section, I feel great. If I don't make it to either but I do finish the first section, then that is enough.
5.) Acknowledge your accomplishments. Don't compare yourselves to others. Be content and happy with what you do and with what you have, because that will always be more than enough.
I hope that by sharing these thoughts and ideas, I was able to provide even just one strategy to help you feel less overwhelmed with your daily, weekly, maybe even yearly goals!
Thanks so much for reading. Be well, and enjoy the day!
Care to Share? Any tips on how to avoid the "not good enough" blues?
Friday, April 22, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
For a very long time, I neglected my bed. I was going through a rather hard time in my life, so the comfort of my bed was literally the last thing on my mind. My sheets didn't really fit the mattress, my single pillow was pretty old, my comforter cover had missing buttons, and making the bed consisted of pulling the comforter up far enough so the messy sheets underneath were hidden. I would often fall asleep on the couch, but if I happened to make it to the bedroom, I'd often wake up in the morning on the actual mattress because the sheets had popped off at some point during the night. It was no way to sleep, but at the time I didn't notice, or at least, I didn't care. What I didn't realize was that maybe it wasn't so much that I didn't care about the bed, but maybe it was a symbol of my own self-neglect.
This weekend, I was driving in the car with Richie as we discussed the importance of a comfortable bed. We talked about how he once was in the same boat as I was bed-wise: neglectful, somewhat careless about the appearance and tidiness of the bed, treating the bed as a place to just pass out at night, but not conscious of the comfort-level. It just so happens that he was also going through a rough spot in life. And then one day when he was actively trying to improve himself and his life, he realized that it was time for a bed upgrade. He saw this as a form of self-love - investing in extremely comfortable bedding was a way to make his alone time and sleep time at night special - a treat for himself - a practice of self love. I never thought of it like this before! But it makes perfect sense! To Richie, upgrading his bed was just one step toward making himself a happier person, but it was an incredibly important step.
I've known Richie my whole life, but when we reconnected as adults, he noticed the disarray and discomfort of my bed. Of course, being a perfect gentlemen, he did not mention anything about it. But he did take action and soon became my bed fixer-upper. He covered it in white Egyptian cotton with down comforters, plush pillows and sheets that fit the feather-bed covered mattress. It's clean and made every morning, and it is the most comfortable bed I've ever had. Once my bed had its makeover, I started to realize how long I neglected it. I felt, and still feel, so much gratitude for Richie for coming into my life and fixing that bed - or maybe, more symbolically, encouraging me to fix other things in my own life in order to make me happier.
Rich and I knew each other as kids, and it really hit me when he said to me in that car, "I was surprised that your bed was like that when we reconnected, because as a kid, your bed was always so awesome." He was right. I was due for a bed-makeover just as I was long overdue for a little self appreciation. And again, it was only one step in that direction, but it was a step that opened my eyes to how important it is to create your own peaceful atmosphere when ending or beginning the day.
Your bed is a place where you seek rest, peace, and rejuvenation. It's the place where you do a lot of intense thinking and soul searching. It's where you will start each day and end each night. When you think about it this way, the bed seems like the most important location in your life! And as I learned over the weekend, it's a great place to start when it comes to self appreciation. Saving up and investing in your favorite bedding is truly investing in yourself. Call me crazy, but this is the first time I've ever made this connection. It marks the beginning of a very comfortable future with many restful nights, happy mornings, and self-love.
What is your bed like? Do you see this as a symbol of how you treat yourself? Is it time for an upgrade? Your thoughts are always appreciated!
Monday, April 18, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I _______, vow to ban guilt from my exercise schedule and daily meals. I promise to myself that I will be proud of my accomplishments, and I will base my goals on things that make me feel energetic and beautiful rather than on reasons why I will be less-than-perfect if I don't achieve them. These are my three goals for my own well-being when it comes to exercise and eating well:
Mine are as follows:
1. I will run outside in the beautiful weather and challenge myself both mentally and physically by pushing myself a little further than I did the week before.
2. I will exercise my creativity in cooking with new fresh, healthy, easy-to-cook recipes that make me feel connected to the food I'm eating.
3. I will allow myself to take breaks when I am mentally or physically drained, because this will allow my body to heal and my mind to clear. I will not feel bad about it.
We'd love to hear your goals if you'd care to share!
Thank you. Be well, and enjoy the day!
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Their gimmick to get you inside their doors, clamoring for a membership is to guilt you into working out.
Steph & I started Guiltless because we say those around us sabotaging their own health with guilt. Yes, we love healthy food and work out regularly, but we also know the dangers of swearing of dessert forever, classifying foods as good or bad, obsessive exercising and extreme dieting. Compensating for what you eat by working out is a disordered behavior. And not one any one or any gym should be promoting.
So go to the gym. But don't go because you feel guilty about what you just ate. Go because it makes you feel alive, healthy, strong and beautiful! Eliminate all guilt from your diet and fitness regime.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about guilt as a motivator! Leave them in the comment section below!
Friday, April 8, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
be who we are. Now, that's sexy. What does "sexy" mean to you?