Happy belated Birthday Madonna! And btw what’s the obsession with women and age?

Happy Birthday Madonna!!

Sixty years old!

An Icon, a Superstar and the ultimate Game Changer!

Since before I existed Madonna has been performing and wowing audiences on a humongous international level. Love her or hate her she is still one of the most famous women to ever grace the modern pop culture era and is still going strong!

But as she hits another birthday milestone one of the hot topics that has come to light recently is her age. I can’t help but feel this opinion seems to be flavoured with a hint of judgement.

It seems her male counterparts are praised for their golden years; they are thought to be in their ‘prime’. We speak about people like Mick Jagger ageing but it’s something that’s considered a celebration rather than a criticism and he’s 15 years old than Madonna!

It’s not only the Celebrity world which is affected by sexism and ageism. We deal with it on a daily basis through off-handed remarks, social media, family, old-fashioned opinions etc… But why should we be ashamed or embarrassed about our age!? We shouldn’t feel like need to lie about our age.


 

A lot of women say they are actually happier with age and experience behind them. They know themselves, care less about what people think and are no longer concerned with conforming to what people expect of them. This sounds like bliss! I’d take this any day over my teenage years of insecurity, hiding my face full of makeup and never being thin enough … despite being considered ‘lanky’ at the time! Whenever I look back at pictures of my younger self I wonder ‘What was I so worried about?’.

 

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Madonna has always pushed the boundaries of what’s considered appropriate so why should she stop now? Who decides the age limit to be able to wear certain attire?

The male equivalent of the shaming ‘Mutton dressed as Lamb’ label seems to be the middle-aged man having a mid-life crisis; buying a motorbike and leaving his wife for a younger woman. So I wouldn’t say the obsession with ageing is just catered to women but it does seem to be more publicised and stigmatised when it comes to the ‘fairer sex’.

Mother Nature lacks a bit of compassion in this area too. As women approach 30 pressure from society and her own body clock to enter into Motherhood becomes a constant niggling anxiety for a lot of women. Nature dictates we can’t wait as long as men can but if someone isn’t ready to have a baby or isn’t interested in being a Mum surely that’s her business?

Men can Father children well into their 60’s, even 70’s and women are judged for having a baby in her 40’s. It feels like an unfair advantage that men have. And if a woman does choose to have a baby later in life the claws come out just like they did for Brigitte Nielson when she revealed she was pregnant at the age of 54.

Just like Brigitte, Madonna is in an industry that monetizes on beauty, youth and some could even argue the insecurities of women. Madonna refuses to care what the critics say and continues to wear the same attire that would be considered risqué for even a 25-year-old to wear. In my opinion, I think this is a great political statement and takes serious balls to break the mould; maybe we could have taken a leaf out of her book when we were younger instead of bowing down to other people’s opinions.

Personally, I wouldn’t wear the clothes I did as a teenager because a) they were a mismatch of things I thought looked good and b) as I’ve got older my taste in fashion has changed. I’ve never been too comfortable showing off my body, preferring to go for comfort rather than fashion; that’s just how I am. Now I’m older I figured out I can go for both; I’m more the demographic for ‘Zara’ than ‘Forever 21’ nowadays. But also I would like to think if I did have a complete change of heart and dress more extravagant I could do this without feeling like I’m ‘not allowed’.

I also appreciate a beautiful woman no matter what her age, I even think some women look better with a bit of age.  I prefer how I look now compared to how I looked when I was 17 years old with puppy fat around the edges. I know what suits me instead of trying to copy what my friends wore and what suited them.

 

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Women are also more prone to invest in surgical procedures to stay ‘youthful’ and ‘attractive’; although saying this in recent years it seems more popular for men to go down this route as well. Beauty Brands exploit women’s insecurity surrounding age to make money. They strategically market their products to have the ‘magical formula’ that will apparently take years off ‘Death Becomes Her’ Style. I don’t think I’ve actually used a product where I thought ‘I look younger!’. If I ever have thought this it’s when I’ve had more sleep and was eating healthier.

 

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In recent years going grey has taken the fashion world by storm. It’s mainly sported on younger women, but there are definitely some older women embracing their silver hair.

I remember the women in my family desperately trying to cover up grey hairs with blonde boxes of ‘Wella’. Whereas men were seen as ‘sexy’ flaunting the silver fox look. But saying this let’s not think about those cheesy commercials enticing men to dye their hair charcoal black.

 

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Meet Eveline Hall a 72-year-old Classic Model signed to the prestigious ‘Models 1’  Model Agency. She has worked with plenty of renowned fashion brands internationally, jet sets across the globe and has a job most twenty-somethings could only dream of! How admirable is this for a woman who is monumentally past the discriminating ‘shelf life’ stage!

A lot of women fall into the status quo by settling down and working a 9 -5 to help pay off the Mortgage. Nothing wrong with this but some may only find out what they really want when they’re older. We shouldn’t have to deal with a ‘missed opportunity’ culture that discriminates against people finding their passion later in life. At least female models are getting some kind of break with agencies expanding their categories to ‘Classic’ and ‘Curve’ instead of just ‘Main Board’ and ‘New Faces’. What this means is that the world now realises that you can be beautiful, even if you’re not skinny and/or younger.


 

Even though I am not overly thrilled about some of the ways society is changing; I am however noticing a new age where a celebration of one’s self is being recognised. So when I see derogatory comments about someone’s age, sexual preference, gender etc… it tells me we have some way to go before we are all considered ‘equal’ in societies eyes. There’s a change occurring in the way people think but I also fear that things are still the same just on a more subtle level as they know they can’t be as expressive with their judgement as they may have once been allowed to be, so it goes on in more of a devious way. But as long as it’s not the ‘norm’ and they have an element of fear about their prejudices we are making progress.

I think there’s more to a woman than her age. Confidence, kindness and wisdom are all just as beautiful as a wrinkle-free girl with toned abs, if not more.

Let’s celebrate age, and not give ourselves a time limit to feel beautiful and desirable.

This is your life you only get the one. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, live it as you please, you always have the right to feel good about yourself.

 

Warmest Regards

Part 1: I want to lose weight but I don’t like exercise and love food too much #Help !! 🍦🍔🍟

This has been a lifelong dilemma.

And to be honest I think it has been for most women.

So what do we do if we haven’t got a naturally super fast metabolism? Apart from cry….

 

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The problem:

I used to work at a Gym. And what I saw was a lot of clients regularly attending the gym with militant discipline; even spending a small fortune on trainer’s with minimal results.

Why?

I think one of the main reasons was black and white thinking. They separated their life from exercise. I’ve been guilty of this in the past; not believing in the power of small changes. They take the lift, think they can be slack with food because they work so hard in the gym 3 x times a week. Unfortunately it doesn’t;t really work like that.

For me, I can’t think of anything worse than being constantly active. I’m already running around like a headless chicken with stress draining every bit of energy I have.

What used to annoy me was some Personal Trainers lack of ability to consider peoples lifestyles. They had a ‘if you really want it attitude that was more judgemental than helpful. I’d like to see exercise as much as they do with a demanding full time job in another field and even children!
Lifestyle:

You think the way I run around I’d be skinny as anything but I’m not. In fact I’m the biggest I’ve ever been (Size 12 pushing size 14). I’ve always had child bearing hips which the modelling industry hated, but unfortunately I can’t slim down bone.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with food and my body. I’m not good to my body, I’ll be the first one to admit it, then I criticise it for not being how I want it.

I’ve denied myself food in the past. Especially as a kid, I was referred to as lanky. But then I moved in with my Dad who was a big foodie and I could eat anything I want and all hell broke loose. I went from the strict upbringing from my Grandparents to the chaotic lifestyle I lived with my Dad. Funny enough this is the relationship I have with food… all or nothing.

I don’t really think London is healthy. I live off sandwiches and sushi and find I’m hungry again in an hour. There is a theory that a lot of fast food chains are in cahoots with diet/slimming companies as keeping us in the gaining weight/loosing weight cycle makes serious bucks!!

The constant buzz means stress levels are constantly high, and stress burns energy so we need more food to just keep going. Stress also releases cortisol which makes it almost impossible to shift that tire around your mid section.

Watching Netflix until silly o’clock in the morning disrupts sleep, spiking cortisol contributing to the Michelin Man look.

Coffee spikes your insulin resulting in a hunger crash. Your body is constantly running on empty so it’s trying to hold anything it can to keep you going.

And you wonder why you’re not losing weight?

You go hours without food, then stuff it in like it’s the last supper. And then that creates a habit for binge eating as you probably don’t know what feeling full really feels like (and no I’m not referring to feeling like your about to combust, I’m talking about feeling like you’ve had sufficient).
Methods I’ve tried:

I’ve tried pretty much everything!

Consistency is my issue.

I’ve spent many years in the gym realising I don’t actually like this. I like the feeling after and feeling motivated but it’s quick and easy to go back to old habits. Actually yes, it’s part discipline and part not having a purpose. I would rather read or write then put myself through pain. And what’s the point I’m not training to be an athlete nor am I about to be on the front cover of Vogue… so what’s the point in putting myself through this torture?
Slimming Pills:

Yes. I got super slim off them, I was also early twenties and didn’t know they were basically speed! My hair fell out, I kept getting bites that were quick to get infected. I was cold not matter how hot it was and I was constantly in a fowl mood (the model agencies loved it!)

As soon as I stopped my course, the hunger came back with vengeance! I abused McDonalds and just could not get enough. My body literally took over my will. It was then I realised it was all good and well losing the weight, but not I realised I had to keep it off!

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That pose! Eek! 😣

Trying to keep up an unrealistic lifestyle:

I was surrounded by Personal Trainers and Models all giving me extreme weight loss advice. I began a cycle of rebelling and bingeing, then punishing myself at the gym. Only now do I realise I had/have bulimic tendencies. I wasn’t throwing up so I didn’t see it like that. The more I was ordered to loose weight from agencies the more I got scared and ate more. I should have realised then my heart wasn’t really in it.

I normalised these extreme lifestyles and berated myself if I couldn’t keep up. May I add a lot of these people (not all) had some kind of ‘help’ in the form of slimming pills, detox teas, fat burners or in some extreme cases steroids.

This lifestyle was not for me. I might have been a lot slimmer but I was miserable.

Quick Fixes:

Ok so no pills.

But I can drink warm water, cayenne pepper, maple syrup and lemon instead of food right?

Wrong. You’re supposed to do this for a few weeks, I got to two days. It was awful! And at the end just lost water instead of fat, and was more hungry than I’ve ever been so started eating twice as much as before.

I hear baby food works?

Tried it. Apart from it being gross, it has no nutritional value. I’ve recently learnt if you don’t give your body what it wants it keeps sending the hunger pangs until you do. That’s why even though you feel full after a whole day of carbs your appetite will increase because A) You’re eating more to compensate and more eating will lead to eating more and B) Your not helping your body so it starts nagging. If you want your body to help you, you have to help it.

A few of my friends have tried detox teas and pills that make you drain out the fat when you go to the loo (eww). I was always too scared and yes they had some public accidents… so I really REALLY don’t recommend this!

Psychology books:

I liked this as it got to the root cause of my erratic eating patterns. I also think there’s an underlining belief women shouldn’t have a healthy appetite. I know there’s a lot of men who like but I’ve had experiences where some men have made comments, that I think were used to shame me.

‘Mind your fingers’

‘You’re not still hungry are you?’

‘Gosh you like you’re food don’t you’

‘Are you really getting more food’

‘You don’t have discipline’

‘That’s a lot of food you have on your plate’

I will eat however I bloody well like, and it’s not for you to make comments!

One of the books suggested really listening to your body to see when it’s full and to stop there even if you haven’t finished your food. I HATE seeing food to go to waste! As a kid I didn’t care, I left what I didn’t want…wish I could do that now. Think that comes from too many years of being guilt tripped about all the starving children there are in the world. That’s quite a lot to put on a child. I wish I could go back to my natural hunger thermostat.

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The Solution:

I’ve come to realise it’s not all my fault. I’m not giving myself a get out of jail free card I admit my motivation and discipline could be worked on. Lets concentrate on what we can do.

Over the next year I will be experimenting from a more self compassionate approach and see how this works. This isn’t to say I’m going to be over lenient with myself I will still have boundaries (with myself), I’ve tried being hard on myself and all it does is demotivate me and makes me reach for the chips!

Sleep:

I’m going to start with the basics. I haven’t got a work routine at the moment so I have to make one for myself. I need to get to know myself properly and what works for me, and what changes I need to make. For example, I only watch what I eat when I’m exercising otherwise what’s the point (needs changing).

Sleep is so important. We can survive days/weeks without food, but sleep more than two night and we start going mad. Even that’s a stretch!

Exercise increases our energy levels. But the first hurdle into exercising when your already burn out is exhausting and I think tough on the body. So how do we get new energy to exercise? More sleep.

I’m guilty of this electronics keeping me awake, my stupid phone beeping to tell me I’ve got a new junk email or what the weather is going to be tomorrow. Turn it all off. I know it’s boring and tempting to what more episode, (I’m not denying that you need some winding down time after work or school).

Make sure you got to bed at a certain time each night. This takes practise, even if your are going to bed most nights on time, that is good enough. I understand this is especially difficult with kids.

I’ve come to realise anything you put before your mental and physical health you ultimately lose. For example, putting work before your health can make you sick. You get sick you cannot work.

If your anything like me, my mind is constantly racing and my body is constantly exhausted relying on caffeine to get me through the next hour. This is not uncommon for Londoners.

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So this will be my first step is to sort out my sleep.

Tools:

I’m not a big fan of cooking, but I’m easily infuriated by the food prices in London. How is a Sandwich close to £5. It’s ridiculous!

List:

  • Grill Pan …. I bought this as you can through on some salmon or meat with some vegetables. It’s quick and easy especially if you want a nutritious healthy meal that’s quick!
  • Frylight ….This is 1 kcal per spray. I love Olive Oil and it’s somewhat healthy for you, but just in the beginning it’s best to start with something lighter.
  • Tupperware….You’re going to need a lot of these. I suggest 1 set of different sizes, and a few set’s of the same size. Preferably one’s you can carry around with you.
  • Trainers … I used to run a lot and ended up getting Shin Splints if you want to know what they are click here. It’s really painful and are normally caused by ill fitting or old trainers. I recently started getting pain at the side of my legs and when I went to buy some new trainers in ‘Lilywhites’ they had a device where you stepped onto it and it told you where you put the most pressure on your feet and presented me with the perfect trainer to solve the problem. My foot arch is really high so I over compensate by putting all the weight on the outside of the foot causing a ripping pain on the outside of the leg.

That’s about it really.

Next step is to find out what you enjoy. This will give you a taste for exercise in an enjoyable way. The subconscious is programmed to want more of things so as soon as you get those endorphins going the brain will want more. And you start seeing results, the brain will want more.

I like walking so I’m going to try and incorporate that more. I also use a website called ‘Borrow my doggy’ where you can borrow an owners dog in your area to take out for a while. I fell in loves with Alaska, she’s a 3 year old Siberian Husky !

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I check my phone after and I’ve normally done about 20,000 and not even noticed!

I’ve always wanted to try dance, so I’m going to give that a go. Also if you like running maybe you could do it with a friend. Or even swimming? Anything to get you interested again.

If you suffer with depression I know exercise is the equivalent to an anti-depressant but depression itself is starting to be recognised as a physical illness. It drains your body of energy and makes you feel like your being dragged down constantly.

Don’t feel bad if you can only do a small amount, this isn’t suggested because your not capable. It’s suggested because like anyone with a chronic illness it’s a sometimes a little bit more difficult, and it’s not fair as your not always starting at the same place in the race as everyone else. Trust me I should know.

Sometimes I see if anyone’s around to go for a walk with. Or I walk and treat myself at the end with a coffee. Because even though it seems like a small step, the way your body is, it would probably equal to someone who isn’t suffering with depression going on a 30 minute run! There’s actually I great app I sometimes use that builds up your fitness over time. You actually start with mainly walking! It’s called ‘Running for weight loss’ and because it’s interval training it builds up your fitness gradually, which is actually the key for consistency.

Being Realistic:

I’m never going to have the body of Pussy Cat Doll because I don’t have a Nutritionist, Personal Trainer on hand as well as probably doing 10 hours of dancing a day. I’m always going to be curvy and have soft parts. There’s a saying that goes …. ‘I wish I could be fat like I was at 25’. This is so true! I’ve always seen myself as over weight even when I was actually clinically underweight. And this is because you really can’t have an objective view of yourself as you see your body in your minds eye.

For example, if I always see myself as over weight, my brain will think that’s my natural state. So it will self sabotage to ensure that internal image is matched with reality. That’s why it’s really important to recognise and celebrate your progress. Taking photo’s helps.

Just a note: Don’t be too discouraged by the first picture that comes out. Remember weight in transient. Granted we all have different genes, lifestyles, metabolisms etc… but things like appetite, health and weight are adaptable. Weight should have no attachment to your sense of self… easy to say I know. But it shouldn’t. Also remember not all of this is your fault there are many factors that contribute to your weight stress and life events, bad quality food that’s too easily available, marketing ploys to play on your hunger, energy levels, criticism from the external etc….

Also if you look at any ‘diet’ it comes down to the same.

Healthy Eating + Exercise = Weight Loss.

I will obviously document my progress through out with photographs and evidence. I’m going to give myself a year because I think that’s how long it takes to make something a lifestyle choice. Some people may do it in a shorter time, and after a month it does become a habit but a real consistent lifestyle, for me, take around a year.

This blog also gives me a purpose to keep motivated. As I know how horrible it is to hate your body and feel trapped in this cycle of always being starving followed by guilt and shame. Something’s got to give!

I hope you can take away some tips and motivation from my posts.

Here we go!

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Warmest Regards

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