Once upon a time in a life far away, I used to care a lot about both my looks and my weight. Then life smacked me upside the head and there was little time to care about such things. I eventually gained weight, took it off, kept it off and gained some of it back. Pretty much that shitty struggle many of us have. For the past several months I have been on the fence about actively doing anything about the weight, instead committing to just finding balance in my life with regards to what I eat and how I move my ass.

Yet as I slowly edge closer to 40 (less than 6 months away now) I have been in serious talks with myself about how I want to treat this temple known as my body. Frankly it depresses me to think about ever returning to Weight Watchers or any diet program. While the idea of just living a life compatible with the health at every size ideology resonates with me, after a few months of playing around with it, I must confess it simply isn’t working.

I figured this out recently when after a few months of not limiting myself in what I ate but also realizing my clothes aren’t fitting and that I feel like shit physically. Turns out carbs hate me and my daily carb fest is packing on the pounds. Also when left to my own devices and not being intentional I hate exercising, then again I was the kid who managed to fail gym in high school multiple times. I love yoga but yoga is a mental thing for me and while I am flexible as hell these days and can do all sorts of silly party tricks with my body, my body is like move me lady!

At first all this body shit was coming from a place of vanity but now it’s about living well and living long. My gene pool to be frank sucks ass. On both my mom and dad’s sides of the family, people don’t live long and it’s not just a few people. Neither of my dad’s parents lived to a ripe old age, my mom’s dad checked out at 54, and then my own mom kicked the bucket 4 days after turning 50.  None of which is exactly a winning endorsement for any expectation of a long life for me.

One common thread in my family is that none of my relatives took care of themselves. Most were overweight and affected with ailments such as diabetes and hypertension and problems that eventually morphed and claimed their lives. Looking at all the women in my family with the exception of my mom, we all share a certain build, one that predisposes us to carrying weight smack in the middle. Apparently carrying extra weight around the middle is bad.

I am going to be honest I had been mulling all this over and making some baby steps which have me seeing some results but a call last night has me now fully committed to changing my lifestyle. My aunt, my mom’s remaining sister (another sister died at 34, collapsed and died) is barely in her 50’s and suffering from congestive heart failure and it’s not looking too good. My aunt much like my mom and many other relatives who are gone now, enjoyed life, ate, drank, smoked and got merry. Now like her 2 sisters before her and a brother she is facing a premature death.

Maintaining optimal health for me is unfortunately tied to my weight, and I admit that is a hard pill to swallow. But I don’t want to end up swallowing pills on a daily basis to stay alive like most of my family so the alternative is a shift in mindset, so as I wrap up my 30’s, I am kicking off my personal quest to be fabulously fit at 40 and beyond because I want to make sure my 40’s aren’t my last full decade of life. I want to do everything possible to ensure that my kids don’t know the pain of losing me when I am still relatively young. I want to live to see my kids grow up (okay I am technically halfway there with the 20 year old) and I want to see grandbabies. I want to be the fabulous Grammy in her 70’s and beyond. So while I am not quite ready to run back to Weight Watchers or anything like that I am getting serious about this maintaining health thing.

To keep myself honest I will periodically share my journey in this space which I expect will have its ups and downs but that’s the thing about a journey. It’s a process and while in my case the end goal is important, so are the lessons I learn along the way.

For readers 40 and beyond, I would love to know if you made any lifestyle changes as you got older that you never would have considered when you were younger?