Am I just getting old?

cdanko

Active Member
Hi Cathe -I've been working out steadily for the past 30 years (a little bit of everything-hi/lo, step, spin, running, weight training, etc.) Lately though, been feeling out of sorts for lack of a better term - decreased energy , and a poochy belly which is the real kicker.
When I went for my yearly, doc suggested cutting back a bit (cortisol/stress maybe contributing for how I am feeling). Anybody else feeling this. I am 48 years old and feeling frustrated. I LOVE to workout - have my own gym and everything :). Have not drastically changed anything. Just looking for some suggestions. Thanks all.
 

maddiesmum

Cathlete
Hi:

The fact that you are getting a poochy belly, coupled with your age, tells me that perimenopause has come calling! You are not alone. I am there too. Not so much with the belly, but with trouble with my nails, my hair, my eyes going severely dry and my moods changing... what can you do? Aging happens, but I am not surrendering to it. Never!

So, I fight back with as much sleep as I can get, less junk food and the right exercise.

You should first of all consider if you get enough sleep. When I get enough and more sleep, I lose the puffiness. And I feel incredible! When I am short changed for sleep, I retain a little more fat (stomach, hips).

I actually exercise less frequently now than I did in my thirties. I work out 3 times per week, sometimes 4 if the weather is good and I powerwalk an additional day. But I always go hard, intense, and I make my time work for me, usually for 2 hours each workout. My personality demands it, I don't know any other way. But here's the thing: because I go hard, on the days when I don't work out, I never think about it. I used to get irritable and stressed on days I wasn't working out but I no longer do because the proof is in the pudding. I don't need to. I am in great health. I am not overweight. I'm in great shape and I am currently getting happier than I have been for the last 10 years.

I am doing, exercise-wise, exactly what I want to do and it is paying dividends as far as my happiness and moods are concerned. I mostly run and do weight training for the lower body and core. I powerwalk and I do this purely because it feels so good to be outside, to see the world and to enjoy good weather. When I run, once or twice per week, I am making such progress with fewer workouts, so why do more? I am running stronger, faster, with greater endurance than I have for years! I feel like I am in the same shape I was in in my 20's. I don't do much in the way of exercise DVDs any more.

Let me repeat: I am doing exactly what I want to do, not what anyone else thinks I should be doing.

I believe this is key.

You are 48 years old. You are at an age where, naturally, you stop, pause and evaluate, re-evaluate your life. Where you are now, where you were, where you might want to be for the next stage of your life. This is the period I am in. I have been thinking about these things steadily since Xmas and I am making big changes. I don't like where my life was over the last 7 years. A lot of it was forced on me (a visa that did not allow me to work in the US, younger children, the demands of parenting, a workaholic husband) but now my kids are teens, almost off at college, I now have a Green Card and I am making changes in my life because I want more and different things for the next stage of my life. I turn 47 on May 5th. If I don't make changes now, when will I?

I sense from your post that you are feeling some of the same inner disquiet. I want to urge you to take the time to think long and steadily about what you want the next stage of your life to be, look and feel like. What you have been doing up 'til now is great, it has kept you in great shape and health. But there is nothing and no-one to tell you that the next 10 years have to be formulated exactly as the past 10 have been. This affects every aspect of your life: personal, intimate, family, professional, social, health and exercise.

I think you start with your mood and feelings and thoughts. These dictate how your physical body is responding.

I started seeing a therapist about 2 months ago and she is helping me sort out what I want and how to go about getting it. Some sessions are painful as I am forced to appreciate and truly see how sterile my life has become. Some sessions are joyful and leave me feeling I can conquer the world. Therapy may have nothing to do with depression, anxiety, etc. It has everything to do with emotional health and helping us to know ourselves better. The better you know yourself, the better choices you make for yourself and your next stage as you move into your 50's and beyond.

The secrets to feeling better physically and loosing the poochy belly may have nothing or little to do with exercise and more or everything to do with how you feel about your job, how old your kids are, how vital or not your relationship with your significant other is, how vital or not your sex life has become, how energized you feel about life in general and your own future and how you now feel about yourself.

I recently made two new friends, took on an interesting professional challenge and am thinking about ditching the husband in the next 2 years if he remains incapable or uninterested in change. I am experimenting with make up for the first time in 18 years (I haven't been wearing any) and I truly feel different about myself. This is the point: for 18 years, my life has been about other people (raising my kids, my husband's career, my students' progress): now it's going to be about me.

Oh, and I am joining the Ann Arbor Rowing Club because I haven't rowed since my college days. I loved it. I miss it. So, why the hell not?

What do you need? Who are you going to be? What do you want? Come and join me as we figure these things out. Women in their mid to late 40's: it's the re-invention age. Welcome! It can be a very exciting journey...

Clare
 

maddiesmum

Cathlete
If my post seems way off base to you and totally mis-reads your situation, then I apologize for the mis-interpretation. I just thought, and still think, that your post intimates more going on than just the physical. Feel free to tell me I am so wrong!

Clare
 

tralaiven

Cathlete
totally get what you are going through. I just turned 48 this week and though I am fairly fit (5'9" 143 lbs.) I am getting a nice little tire around my middle.

However, in terms of feeling bad, I have to say that something that just helps me sooooo much is my low-dose vaginal estrogen cream. Land sakes!!! I would not give that stuff up!!! I can so tell when I miss a dose. This may be too simplistic an answer, but I know what is working and what is not.
 

cdanko

Active Member
Wow Clare, you really gave me a lot to think about. Perimenopause is not an issue. I experienced an early menopause (in my 30's). But, have been at the same job for almost 30 years and ready for something else and my kids are both out of school but still at home and I will keep my hubby (good guy). I will take your advice and think about what I am looking for now at this point of my life. Thanks so much for the reply. Getting older doesn't bother me, I have the same attitude as you said - I will not let age get the best of me. Maybe less is more in this case but I know it will be easier said than done - won't know until I try. Thanks!
 

trotchase

Cathlete
Wow Clare. I just had to comment on your response. It touched a nerve with me making me tear up because it was actually what I needed to hear.

Thank you for your inspirational insight. It provided a source of encouragement for me and makes me feel like I am on the right track. Keep sharing because you never know who you will touch!

Best Wishes,
Gina
 

Janis

Cathlete
Your doctor is right, cortisol is a contributing factor to how you are feeling.

That is not to say, Clare isn't onto something. I wish I lived in Ann Arbor. :D

Here is some information that I extracted from Dr. Diana Schwarzbein's books.

Metabolism is the combined effects of all the chemical reactions that continuously occur within your body. Metabolic reactions are regulated by hormones, which, in turn are regulated by nutrition and lifestyle habits. Metabolic reactions fall into two categories: using and building.

Using occurs at all times when you are awake and active. To do all of the amazing things your body does – think, react, move, breathe, digest, fight off disease - your body uses up:

Functional chemicals, such as enzymes, hormones, antibodies and neurotransmitters.

Structural chemicals like those that make up cells, muscles, and bone tissues of the body.

Energy chemicals such as sugar and fats that are used to drive all of the biochemical process that facilitate building and using.

To stay in metabolic balance your body has to efficiently replace all of those chemicals that you constantly used. The key to good health and longevity is to build and use at optimal levels and at the same rate.

What regulates building and using to keep everything in synch? Hormones.

When women say ‘hormones’, our minds immediately jump to the sex hormone system, but the big players are insulin, cortisol, adrenaline and the thyroid hormones.

Insulin is the major hormone that regulates the building reactions. Estradiol (sex hormones) is a minor building hormone, but it helps insulin to rebuild. When estradiol drops women no longer build as well.

Adrenaline and cortisol are two major hormones that regulate the using reactions. One of their critical functions is to keep the body from becoming hypoglycemic so that brain cells don’t die. The brain cannot live without sugar. Progesterone is a minor hormone that facilitates cortisol production. Without progesterone women do not produce cortisol efficiently.

What regulates hormones? Nutrition and lifestyle habits.

For example: If you are not eating properly, have a low caloric intake, and/or you are over-exercising, your body will under produce insulin, therefore you will under build.

If you skips meals, are under stress (too much fight/flight), and don’t sleep well your body will over produce adrenaline and cortisol, therefore you will over use.

The result is you are using more than you are building and breaking down. You become metabolically imbalanced, which over time accelerates aging and leads to degenerative diseases.

Early signs of metabolic imbalances –
-arthritic symptoms, and other inflammation
-bloating, constipation, heart burn, IBS
-decreased energy/stamina
-difficulty handling stressful situations
-headaches
-increased cholesterol levels
-increased cravings for sugar, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco
-increased feelings of anxiety and mood swings
-midsection fat weight gain
-new onset or exacerbation of allergies
-problems with memory – brain fog
-sleep disruption – (waking around 2 am and not being able to return to sleep)
...
What can you do? Perhaps start with having your cortisol levels and DHEA checked. Cortisol levels can be tested with a sensitive adrenal saliva test. DHEA can be tested with either a saliva test or a blood level test of DHEA sulfate. Your doctor may prescribe hormones to treat adrenal gland burnout. With your recent visit to the doctor he obviously doesn't think you need to be treated at this stage.

What else can you do?

First step, healthy nutrition, with the appropriate amount of whole-complex carbohydrates and lean protein per meal.. A 2:1 ratio of carb to protein will provide you the proper amount of energy and materials for building and restoring.

Eliminate inflammation causing foods (inflammation uses up cortisol) – gluten and cow dairy are the biggest offenders, but there may be others – like corn, peanuts, and fructans.

Eat a moderate amount of healthy fats – add an Omega 3 fish supplement.

Eat plenty of non starchy vegetables at each meal.

Drink plenty of water

Get a good night’s sleep....ear plugs and a calcium magnesium supplement can help achieve this goal. (not getting enough sleep interferes with cortisol production.)

Reduce your consumption of sugar and caffeine. Or eliminate both altgoether.

Get appropriate exercise – do exercises that help you build more than break down, and taper back on depleting exercise. Do restorative exercise like yoga, normal pace walking, Tai Chi, Qi Gong. Do resistance exercise like weight lifting, and do interval training.

Long, sustained cardiovascular exercise like running can have a depleting effect on the body, they can stimulate the release of using hormones, and thus break you down more than build you up.

And finally, have fun! Doing something fun is stress relieving. Like Clare, maybe take up something new or something you haven't done in a long time but that you love.

HTH
:D
 
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maddiesmum

Cathlete
Janis:

an incredibly informative post. Plenty to think about here...... Come see me in Ann Arbor anytime! I'd love to sit with you and have coffee and chat, then we could head off for a hike and work our way through the big topic: LIFE!!! Meanwhile, we'll chat online whenever!

I'm off soon to get started on that next chapter of the text book I am writing (thanks for your good wishes i n this respect last week, it IS exciting!). I finished chapter 5 on Friday. Go me! But I am checking out a pair of ankle boots in the sales before I do. I saw a woman in the book store yesterday wearing them and they looked fab on her so....

Janis, I meant to also recommend 3 more books to you, ones that I have loved:

The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell

Let me know what you think of them when you are done, yes?

Clare
 

Janis

Cathlete
Janis:

an incredibly informative post. Plenty to think about here...... Come see me in Ann Arbor anytime! I'd love to sit with you and have coffee and chat, then we could head off for a hike and work our way through the big topic: LIFE!!! Meanwhile, we'll chat online whenever!

I'm off soon to get started on that next chapter of the text book I am writing (thanks for your good wishes i n this respect last week, it IS exciting!). I finished chapter 5 on Friday. Go me! But I am checking out a pair of ankle boots in the sales before I do. I saw a woman in the book store yesterday wearing them and they looked fab on her so....

Janis, I meant to also recommend 3 more books to you, ones that I have loved:

The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell

Let me know what you think of them when you are done, yes?

Clare

Tea for me, thanks :D
Would love to see the boots, post a pic when you can.
Congrats on making progress on your project!

I don't want to high-jack this thread too much, so I'm going to bump our book thread.

:D
 

Ivy

Cathlete
I am so inspired by these posts. I am in the same age range, and I am having a life change. I just finished school and I have to go back to work after being a stay at home mom for the last 13 years. As soon as people take a guess at how old I may be, well let's just say I am still looking for a job. My youngest is still pretty young, and my oldest was born with a chronic disease, I worked throughout most of his life and that was not easy. At first I thought geez, I am just not going to be there for either of them the way I used too, because I have to get a full-time job. Well, I am going to look for a part-time instead and it would be better for the kids and better for me. I have recently changed the way I workout because the old way was not quite working for me, I am not lifting as heavy and I am okay with that, I have had to change the diet and I do not mean starving myself but the calories have had to come down. I also have to pick up some progesterone cream, I had been using it for about six months and recently did not pick up my regular dose, and boy do I notice the difference. We are older and you know what is okay to change things to help fit in with our lifestyle and what makes us feel good both while we are doing it and after we have finished our exercise. Thanks ladies, stay strong.:cool:
 

MichelleRN

Active Member
Great thread...I've lurked for a decade, and don't post alot...but when I saw Carola had died, well, it shook me up all day yesterday - funny how one life - in a fitness forum of all things, can effect so many of us.....she would post in this thread wouldn't she? I miss knowing that she is in the world - what a force of nature she was, and I never even met her!!!

Anyway, I'm 51, most think I"m pushing 40 - good genes? Naw - I've dieted and exercised -many years to excess since my teens, never touched drugs or a cigarette...plant based diet, years of vegetarian, months of vegan...and it pays off....

I was widowed 2 years ago,my gentle husband was taken down in 6 months to a high grade relentless lung cancer, I was 48,...I self soothed with sometimes 3 hours of pounding workouts a day...and working ICU 40-50 hours a week...my teens also threw themselves into work - I dropped to my leanest in decades (5'5 from 135 to 123)and felt healthy if not alive or happy....but life cut us a break when a handsome,kind,healthy man entered our lives and married me last September.....I had prayed to God that if ever anyone loved me again, please let him have half my energy and endurance...
WELL GOD PROVIDED - this man is redoing our house, our new ocean rental house(Me, a beach house,never dreamed of it),lifts weights,runs,does yoga with me in my Sunday class, we work full time and he always has something for us to do with our teens....My CUP RUNNETH OVER....BUT...

I AM SO TIRED!!!!!!!! I was used to my older hubby, we'd porch sit at 5 (he was a golfer after he retired) and have sangria....THIS one comes home and gets the urge to rent a rotatiller and plant the garden at 8pm!

By 49, I was waking up a few times a night, NOT NOW!!! I am DEAD at night!

My period only came 3-4 times a year in my 20's 30s, now every 28 days! WHO needs THAT at 51 in a new marriage???
I still work ICU 40 hours a week, but can only muster teaching ashtanga yoga now instead of my Turbokicks and bodypumps.....and on days off, how I LONG for a nap!!!!

Convinced my thyroid must be failing - no, its not only normal, its optimal......my primary doc scoffed at my belly aching at my fatigue and said, "Who wouldn't be?" And told me to slow down...hard to do!

So.....are we getting old.....yeah....there's that....realizing we're in our 2nd act as Jane Fonda puts it...that life's tragedy is indiscriminate and inevitable, and we have to just accept it and go for those happy moments in life...that we're not going to be astronauts....

Then there's just plain TIRED.....and having had ENOUGH of pushing through tired....I ALWAYs pushed through tiredness, and now just am OVER IT.....

My late husband once said that by 50, you lose your "bullshit tolerance"...and I find that true....

Working out to what I WANT instead of a regimented plan is starting to appeal to me more and more....disciplining my DIET has become more important because I feel puffy and toxic when I don't.....

There are MASSIVE body changes between 40-55 - and sometimes they happen rapidly, taper off, then come on again.....

Thanks for starting this thread, I still teach at a club, and notice the hard core exercisers are of our age group....we STILL go for the pain, the younger ones are happier in their skin it seems (belly rings on muffin tops still bug me though! In OUR day, if you showed your belly, you better have hip bones showing righte?:eek:)

Maybe there is something to be said for being kinder and gentler to ourselves.......

What could Carola say.....I wish I knew....once again, I thought there would be time........
 

cyprusave

Cathlete
What is all comes down to is finding the right balance in our lives and it is difficult at times because we are always undergoing some type of change. Either emotional, physical, mental, etc. Maddiesmum amd Janis have given such valuable information! Cdanko, just adopt some of their suggestions and see what works for you. The funny thing is, whenever I think I've got my formula down, the 'wrench' gets tossed in. LIFE!!! Good luck,Cdanko, and never give up...
 
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Trixoo

Cathlete
As another 48 yr old Cathlete, I was also reading this thread with great interest and truly appreciate the helpful information; however, you cannot imagine my thrill to discover Ann Arbor has a rowing club! REALLY? Clare, this is something I've never tried, but have wondered about. Where the heck is it and is it appropriate for a novice? Don't mean to hijack the thread, but would love some details. Also thrilled to find there's another Cathlete in A2. :)

Pam
 

cdanko

Active Member
Thank you all so much for the comments and suggestions. You know I feel better just knowing that I am not alone in the feelings I have been experiencing and that I can ask and get feedback from all my friends here. I will definitely change things up. Thanks again!
 

ddj

Cathlete
Your doctor may prescribe hormones to treat adrenal gland burnout.

Janis, which hormones would be used to treat this?

A saliva test indicates my progesterone is practically non-existant and my cortisol levels were considered sub optimal putting me in phase 2 adrenal fatigue. The doctor prescribed a progesterone cream, but didn't think we needed to do anything about the adrenal fatigue because she thinks getting the progesterone up will take care of that.

I've been using the cream for a month and have had no relief yet. She said it would take 2-3 months, but I expected to see some reaction by now. :(
 

DirtDiva

Cathlete
totally get what you are going through. I just turned 48 this week and though I am fairly fit (5'9" 143 lbs.) I am getting a nice little tire around my middle.

However, in terms of feeling bad, I have to say that something that just helps me sooooo much is my low-dose vaginal estrogen cream. Land sakes!!! I would not give that stuff up!!! I can so tell when I miss a dose. This may be too simplistic an answer, but I know what is working and what is not.

Is this prescription? Can I get it off the Internet, I'm thinking this is a good thing and would like to try it.
 

Janis

Cathlete
Janis, which hormones would be used to treat this?

A saliva test indicates my progesterone is practically non-existant and my cortisol levels were considered sub optimal putting me in phase 2 adrenal fatigue. The doctor prescribed a progesterone cream, but didn't think we needed to do anything about the adrenal fatigue because she thinks getting the progesterone up will take care of that.

I've been using the cream for a month and have had no relief yet. She said it would take 2-3 months, but I expected to see some reaction by now. :(

I am sorry you still feel so crappy.:(

What Dr. Diana Schwarzbein recommends in your book, "The Schwarzbein Principle:The Program", for Stage 2 Adrenal Gland Burnout is first, address/change lifestyle habits. If you cannot function she then recommends either Hyrdocortisone or cortisol taken in the morning, and a slightly smaller dose taken between 3-4pm. Or Pregnenonlone which can be converted by your body to either cortisol or DHEA. Taken with Biotin it will convert more readily to cortisol.

DHEA is an androgen and will block the effects of estrogen, so your estradiol levels will need to be monitored as well as DHEA.

In her book, Menopause Power (available from her website) she recommends that progesterone be taken with estradiol, never alone, and for only 11-14 days following ovulation...or what would be after the follicular phase. She does not recommend topical creams applied to skin, but rather vaginal suppository or vaginal gel.

I hope this helps.
Schwarzbein Principle - Home - Endocrinology - Controlled Carbohydrate Plan - Vitamin Supplements - Menopause Testing

----

On another note, I find it rather fascinating that most of us are 48. Tick-tock.
 

ddj

Cathlete
I am taking a little estradiol with the progesterone, per the recommendation of the doctor and the lab. I'm also taking DHEA but only a couple times a week since it can increase estrogen and testosterone. My DHEA was low which is why she gave me that to take.

I did notice while researching it all online that there are different recommendations on how often to take the progesterone cream.

One of my problems with menopause has been insomnia. I actually only slept one hour last night, although that's a bit extreme even for me. I was getting two or three hours until I started taking melatonin and now get more like five or six. But I can tell I still don't get enough. That may have something to do with the cortisol problem.

I just turned 50 but that is close to 48. :p
 

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