30 and thriving: taking care of yourself in your 30s
Dr Muffi 22/6/2018 | Friday
Is this the age box you tick on forms?
You need to pay attention, then. Because this post is for you.
(If you’re younger, please read this much more carefully and make notes. If you’re older, it’s never too late to make changes in your lifestyle.)
I believe that once you enter your 30s, you need to make changes to your diet and fitness in order to set wellness standards that will see you through the rest of your life. Our bodies reflect our lives. What we eat, do, think, feel, experience, believe - all of it affects your general health, along with the genes you inherit and the work you do.
As young children, adolescents, and in our 20s, our bodies are very forgiving. Most people can get away with occasional excesses.
However - and I believe this very strongly - if you make an effort and form a wellness routine for yourself in the 30s, it will safeguard you for life. I say this to all of my patients at Digestive Health Institute.
Let’s be realistic. Most people will not be able to maintain the figure they had in their 20s. If you can, wonderful! If you can’t, don’t let that demotivate you. In the 30s, the body starts slowing down. It takes longer to lose even a small amount of weight. Aches and pains might become more pronounced.
Traditionally, work becomes much more demanding and it is usually in the 30s that people peak in their careers. So, that translates into more stress, unhealthy eating patterns, sedentary lives, and less time for leisure. You become more vulnerable to diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, or a number of others.
That said, if you do not do the hard work in your 30s, set goals for yourself with the help of your doctor, and monitor your weight, you have a hard time ahead of you. Weight gain is a slippery slope. You might put on a few pounds, and then some more. Your clothes might not fit, so you go out and buy new ones. And you do it again, and again. And one day, before you know it, your BMI is between 30 and 35 - obesity has set in.
Once you cross a tolerable limit - which can safely be calculated as 25 to 30 kgs above your healthy weight - the slide into morbid obesity is usually unavoidable.
Here’s what I suggest you do in your 30s:
- Make time at least three days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity. I don’t mean household chores, or strolls with friends. I mean a good workout, whether it is a yoga class, a swim, a brisk walk, a run, or going to the gym. You need to sweat. If you can work out for 45 to 60 minutes six days of the week, that is ideal.
- Eat an excellent breakfast. I start my day with muesli and dried fruit such as almonds and apricots. This is filling, nutritious and gives me the reserves of energy I need to conduct the daily three or four surgeries that are part of my very demanding routine.
- Avoid sugar. I don’t take it in my tea or coffee, and I stay from aerated drinks. I suggest you do the same. If, like me, you have a sweet tooth, take an occasional bite of your favourite dessert and then leave the table. And I mean just one bite!
- Use your clothes as a marker. Make sure you continue to fit into them. If you find that an occasional binge has made them tighter, spend more time working out. Watch your diet and cut out any processed foods you might be eating. Sign up for a dance class. However - do not go on any fad or crash diets. Be sensible.