This is a guest post by Anne Galivan. Anne talks to us about looking younger at any age.
By Anne Galivan
We’ve all seen the pictures: celebrities with so much Botox or collagen injections that they can’t even smile…or they look like chipmunks…or their lips look liked they’ve been stung by bees. I totally get wanting to stay young-looking. One of my philosophies of life is that I may have to get older, but I’m not going down without a fight! I do not look my age, I do not dress my age, and whether I act my age, I’ll leave that to others to decide!
I am a 49-year old mother of four – ages 26, 22, 17, and 8 and have been home-schooling for over 20 years. I own a business with my husband that I do the book-keeping for (under protest; I am a great administrator but I hate paperwork!) and I am also a part-time college student. If it sounds like I don’t have a lot of time for myself, you are right. Precious little time, in fact.
But, I believe in taking care of myself, keeping fit, and pampering myself even if that just means playing with the makeup I buy from Sephora.com. Below are my tips for looking youthful in your 40’s and beyond:
• First of all, I want to acknowledge that genetics do play a role in our lives: everything from when our hair goes gray to whether you struggle to keep your weight under control or will have dark under-eye circles (like I do). But genetics do not have to dictate how we look and there are innumerable ways to work with or downplay our genetics.
• For instance, my father passed away from cancer in August 2008 at the age of 74. Until the disease really started to take a serious toll, however, he always looked at least 10 years younger than his age. Part of that was due to the fact that his hair never went gray! I have been blessed to share his genes.
• But if you are going gray there are so many fun things you can do with your hair in terms of coloring or highlighting. As a matter of fact, even though I don’t have a gray hair in my head, I opted three years ago to go with blondish highlights in my hair and the result was fantastic. It took years off of my look! I actually had people I hadn’t seen in awhile not recognize me!
• I strongly recommend that you don’t go it alone when it comes to coloring/highlighting your hair. Invest the money to pay a great stylist to color and cut your hair. This is one of the areas where I have made the conscious decision to splurge a little because, quite frankly, hair is possibly the most critical component of our look as women.
• Secondly, just because you are getting older doesn’t mean you have to shop in the “old ladies” section of the department store. The clothes you shop for should reflect your body type, personality, and career. I shop mainly in the juniors section because I am petite, I like to keep my look up-to-date and as a full-time mom I wear jeans almost all the time. Not “mommy jeans” but low-rise junior jeans. And while some of you might be thinking that junior jeans can only look ridiculous on a 49-year old woman, I have to disagree. They actually complement my figure the best. I am so glad that I finally stopped trying on women’s jeans a few years ago and tried on a pair of low-rise jeans…they just fit so much better!
• My point is that you need to change your mindset of where you are “supposed to be shopping” for your clothes. Those distinctions in the department store: juniors, women’s, petites, etc. make it convenient for the store but they have nothing to do with what fits best on your body.
• I will point out that I don’t shop only in the junior section. For instance, graphic tees just aren’t going to pass muster. I roam and browse the different departments and different types of clothing stores to put together a stylish look that looks cute/sharp/hot without looking like I’m trying to re-live my high school years (which I wouldn’t want to do anyway!)
KEEPING HEALTHY AND FIT
• Thirdly, I have to bring up the subject of weight. I know, I know – we are bombarded with stories about weight loss everywhere we turn. And if you are struggling with your weight that can be incredibly depressing . However, keeping our weight at a healthy level will have a huge impact on how youthful we look.
• Believe me, I know what it is like to struggle with weight. Over ten years ago I developed a chronic illness. At one point (it was in 2001) I went on a steroid to try to treat it and gained 25 pounds in five months. Shortly after coming off the steroid I became pregnant with my fourth child and gained another 35 pounds. I had my little bundle of joy at the age of 40. And I had gained 60 pounds in just 14 months.
• If you are age 40 or over you know that trying to lose weight at that stage of life is challenging. On top of that I was still battling a chronic illness and was nursing a baby. Exercising was out of the question and I could only do so much with my diet. Within a year I had lost about 30 pounds (part of that was delivering an 8 pound 7 ounce baby!) Over the next few years I managed to lose another 15 pounds. But was still at least 20 pounds heavier than I wanted to be and nothing seemed to be budging the scale. I had started working out at home with hand weights using “The Firm” DVD’s (highly recommended!) and that HAD helped me to change my body shape a little. But I needed to start moving the scale. A friend on Twitter recommended The Diet Doc’s Guide to Permanent Weight Loss. I learned from reading this that I, like most Americans, was eating way too many carbohydrates and not near enough protein. This is not a “no-carb” plan like Atkins it is rather a “controlled-carb” plan (or at least that’s how I look at it). I started following the Diet Doc’s plan in February 2010 and lost about 15 pounds in four months. I was thrilled. I hit a plateau after that (which will happen) so after awhile I started getting a little stricter with myself and tracking my carbs, fat, and protein again, and promptly began dropping weight again. I truly believe anyone can have success on this plan and if nothing else, it’s worth a try.
• Before I move on I want to say something again about exercise. You need to do it. No matter what fitness level you are at, unless you have a real disability, you can do something. In addition, keep in mind that whatever exercise program you choose to begin with, don’t stop there. Our bodies will adapt to our level of activity so you need to keep challenging yourself. If you start out walking, after awhile maybe you should add some weight training or swimming or biking to your exercise repertoire. I prefer using DVD’s to exercise at home because that fits my lifestyle. My health issue does not allow me to do cardio, but I can work out with hand weights which tone, strengthen, and help to prevent osteoporosis. I am developing some killer muscles!
• The last item I want to address is caring for your skin and using make-up. I think one of the funnest parts of being a girl is playing with make-up! And it doesn’t have to take a lot of time to add a good skincare regimen to your life. I will admit I am not as faithful with my facial products as I’d like to be, but I do keep at it. And I am constantly trying new things with foundation or blush in order to keep things interesting. I even started using eye shadow recently! I used to use it all the time when I was young but had gotten out of the habit…thought it would take too much time but guess what? It doesn’t! And it adds so much to my look!
• The first thing you must do, however, is take care of your skin and any problem areas. One of the things I love about Sephora.com is that I can go on the website, plug in a skin concern and get dozens of products recommended. I then go to the customer reviews to find out what real people say about these products. Sephora has a 100% satisfaction guarantee so I have nothing to lose by trying something new. And I have returned a couple of under-eye creams in my quest to find something that will diminish my dark under-eye circles. I have never had any problem with returning a product to them.
My final thought: the real secret to looking younger at any age is deciding whether or not you are worth the investment of time, energy and money. Women are by nature nurturers and we will often spend money and time on our families that we would never consider spending on ourselves. And to an extent, there is nothing wrong with that! I believe a life of self-sacrifice brings more satisfaction and fulfillment. But at the same time, neglecting ourselves does not necessarily make us better people. Feeling good about ourselves because we have invested time, money, and energy into looking nice will help our general attitude towards life and that can only benefit those in our lives as well. Give yourself permission to look younger at any age…today!
Anne has four children aged 25, 22, 16, and 8. She is a writer, a blogger, owns and runs a business with her husband, is a part-time college student. Her passion is home-schooling which she has been doing for 20 years now and launched Homeschooling 911 with resources to help those educating or interested in educating their children at home.
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