A few strand of gray hairs, a few deep wrinkles over my face and a few more extra pounds. I felt like I was physically and mentally drained and slowing down when I blew the candles on my 41st birthday cake. I have a fulfilling life with everything I might have wanted but I have been there and done that. Here are some of the things I know right now and wish my younger self and other women can know before turning 40.
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It May Be Harder to Lose the Extra Pounds
It will be easier than ever for the nervewracking pounds to creep in and stay. It will be tougher to fight them off due to a slower metabolism rate, you might be burning 300 fewer calories daily now as compared to your early 20s.
“The natural decline of the estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause can cause insulin sensitivity,” warns Dr Toby Hui, Aesthetic Consultant from SW1 Clinic. “The estrogen depletion also makes it harder for the body to control the amount of sugar in your blood, making you more prone to snack on high-carb and high-sugar junk food.”
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You don’t have to resign to the fate of your expanding wardrobe. You can outsmart your slowing metabolism by getting fitter and look toner with these body-perfect tips.
Watch what you eat: Ditch those carbs and sweeteners that do nothing good to your body. Instead, boost your fiber, whole grains, protein, water, Omega-3s and calcium intake. Fiber helps to shave off unwanted pounds; whole grains help you to stay full for longer; protein increases your lean muscle which improves metabolism; you’ll eat lesser calories when you are well-hydrated; omega-3s help to keep those extra pounds off while limiting hunger pangs; last but not least, consuming more calcium is proven to reduce body fat and increase the strength of your bones.
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Exercise is a must: Being physically active is definitely the best key to maintaining your best body.
Low-impact exercises like swimming and yoga are highly beneficial to women who are almost 40 thanks to the limited wear-and-tear on the joints. Swimming religiously is good for your vital organs like your heart and lungs, and you can build up your muscle while getting into shape. A 155-pound person swimming freestyle for one hour will burn 704 calories swimming fast, and 493 calories while swimming slower. Who knew that you can burn more than 500 calories an hour without breaking a sweat?
Yoga is widely practiced for health and relaxation, but it’s also pretty effective in keeping the numbers down on the scale. It may be a low-impact exercise but studies show that yoga helps to reduce stress hormones and improve insulin sensitivity. The impact is a hint to your body to burn your food intake as fuel rather than storing it as fat.
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If you feel like you want to seek help from a professional, a trip down to a renowned aesthetic clinic like SW1 Clinic, one of the largest aesthetic, plastic surgery and medical spa clinic in Singapore may be ideal for you. Supermodel Bodyfit Program is a well-planned body sculpting and toning programme recommended for those who are troubled by stubborn body fat despite sticking to a strict exercise and diet routine.
The team dream consist of CoolShape, melts resistant fat using cryolipolysis; Exilis Body Magic works by sending controlled heat energy to 1-3cm under the skin to deplete fat and firm saggy skin; Dream Body Tone enhances lymphatic drainage to speed up removal of unwanted fat after CoolShape and Exilis Body Magic while pampering skin with vitamin c, amino acids, and peptides simultaneously using an inbuilt vibro massager.
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You May Lose More Hair
Maybe you spot an alarming clump circling in the shower or you notice a widening patch of scalp showing through your once-thick and healthy locks. “Such nightmarish moments are especially terrifying for women in their 40s”, says Dr Chua Han Boon, Aesthetic Consultant and hair expert from SW1 Clinic.
“For women, as they grow older, their hair tends to thin in a more generalised pattern, as the hair follicles decrease significantly due the ageing process,” added Dr Chua. “Also, women after giving birth will experience increased hair loss in the first few months post-delivery due to hormonal changes during pregnancy.”
“Having a balanced diet is extremely important for lustrous looking hair. This is especially important for women, ” ~ Dr Chua Han Boon
“Having a balanced diet is extremely important for lustrous looking hair. This is especially important for women, ” advises Dr Chua. “Due to monthly blood loss with menstruation, women need to consume enough iron, and vitamins to prevent anaemia, which will also manifest as hair loss.”
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Ditch the hair dryer, curler and straightening as heat is always bad on the hair. Your hair strands become weaker and fracture and fall out involuntarily. Always keep in mind to use a heat-protecting spray at all times to reduce hair damage if you have the need for styling tools.
Chemically straightening your hair, bleaching, perming, and toning can all cause a serious blow to the hair shaft and weakening the hair to cause hair loss. If you regularly have to colour your gray strands but is experiencing hair loss or thinning scalp, remember to treat your hair to a deep-conditioning treatment at least once a week to maintain your luscious hair.
If changing your diet and habit show minimum improvement, try one or two in-clinic hair treatments such as Revitalscalp that rejuvenate your scalp with a hair-cial of vitamins and nutrients to support hair growth, as well as Revage 670 Laser to improve blood circulation of the scalp to promote thicker and healthier hair.
“To get the best out of both worlds, SW1 Keramax Scalp Program consists of 12 sessions of Revitascalp treatments tagged with 12 sessions of Revage 670 laser treatments,” says Dr Chua. “The synergy of the two treatments will bring increased nutrition coupled with enhanced blood circulation to the scalp.”
Go for Regular Health Checkup
Even if you are feeling at the prime of your life, you should still take time to schedule appointments for health checkups. These yearly visits can help you detect and avoid any problems in the future as some conditions may not have any symptoms in the early stages. For example, the only way to find out if you have high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol levels are to have them checked with a simple blood test.
A full gynecological checkup is recommended as soon as you turned 30. Your gynae will perform a manual pelvic and breast examination, plus a Pap smear. A pelvic exam can help to examine female organs and detect gynecological abnormalities while a breast exam will identify any suspicious lumps, dimpling, rashes, and nipple discharge. The Pap smear is an important screening for cervical cancer.
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Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers if detected early. “A pap smear is a simple, reliable and affordable test to screen for cervical cancer at an early stage,” says Dr Julinda Lee, gynaecologist with Wellness & Gynaecology Centre by Dr Julinda Lee. “Pap smear screenings have contributed significantly to improved outcomes in the diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer.”
During the test, cells from your cervix are gently scraped away and then tested for any abnormalities. Even though most cervical cancers are due to infection from the HPV virus, but there are some exceptions. For this reason, it is recommended that all women start their cervical cancer screening with a Pap smear every 3 years beginning at age 21.
“In addition to a Pap smear, getting vaccinated against HPV before the start of any sexual contact can prevent infection by several strains of HPV infections which can lead to cervical cancer, thereby reducing the chances,” says Dr Julinda Lee, “Both the Cervarix and Gardasil vaccinations are available in Singapore and have been shown to be effective in protecting against the strains of HPV which can result in cancer.”
Protect yourself during sex by using condoms! ~ Dr Julinda Lee
“Protect yourself during sexy by using condoms!” says Dr Julinda Lee. “That aside, above all, maintaining a healthy lifestyle by incorporating good lifestyle habits such as exercising, eating healthily, resting adequately and avoiding bad habits (ie. smoking, excessive alcohol consumption) is beneficial towards not only your reproductive health, but general health and well-being. ”
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Well, congratulations to you if you hit your 40s. The 40s at this time has lesser limitations with regards to health and lifestyle options than those of previous generations. We are living longer and healthier lives, not to mention we can continue to stay youthful in our appearance and physique. As a matter of fact, most people today believe that 40 is the ‘new 20’. Have fun and enjoy life to your fullest.