9 Ways Turning 30 Makes Your Body Rebel
Someone told me that one day that I would start having to take better care of my body because once I hit 30, my carelessness would start to show. I should have listened. For the first 29 years of my life, I’ve eaten what I’ve wanted, considered exercise optional and subscribed to the P. Diddy philosophy that I’ll sleep when I die after I work hard and party even harder. But with turning 30, I’ve noticed my body listening less and less when it comes to me telling it what I want it do. Here are nine ways I noticed my body is slowly turning against me:
The good news: I finally got a figure.
If you could relate to my piece, “Are Your Childhood Insecurities Holding You Back?”, you understand my plight of being the girl in the B-cup bra. But something great is happening! I’m finally growing up and I’m getting the backside to prove it. A slower metabolism may mean I’m losing muscle mass and bone density, but it also means that all of those Quarter Pounders are getting packed in the right places.
The bad news: I’m also gaining weight in all the wrong places too.
Exercise has always been optional to me. I’ve always been the girl with the fast metabolism that everyone hates that could eat a bacon cheeseburger for breakfast and a Cinnabon for lunch and then go shopping with my girls like, “Bodycon dress? I’ll take three.” But guess what? That slower metabolism also means that it might take some increased effort on my part to stay healthy, not just for the sake of looking good in a monokini, but also so I can walk up two flights of stairs without feeling like I’m going into cardiac arrest. Guess I have to now…*gulp*…go to the gym since regular exercise can help maintain a fast metabolism well into my mid-life. Some healthier diet decisions couldn’t hurt either.
WTF is happening to my face?
Maybe it’s because I took a break from my birth control or maybe my skin decided it’s breaking up with me, but something happened in the past few months and I’m looking like the puberty police have finally tracked me down. I never had these problems in middle school. While everyone was stocking up on Clearasil and Oxy cleansing pads, I could repeatedly sleep in makeup and wake up with a clear sun-kissed complexion. But now at 29 years old I’m dealing with my first bout of full-blown acne and I honestly cried about it on the phone with a friend this morning. A study from the American Academy of Dermatology revealed that 45 percent of women between the ages of 21 and 26 will experience adult acne. Fluctuating hormones are partially to blame, but stress, smoking and poor eating habits (and possibly my newfound latte addiction) can add to breakouts, according to Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
I smell umm…different.
I was always that girl who’d get a clean bill of health on my gyno exams: no missing periods, no painful cramps, no abnormal pap smears. And although many women would be embarrassed to reveal the drama that can occur down under, I’ve noticed my chemistry is a little off. Bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections and UTIs are just a few common conditions that can occur as a woman’s hormones fluctuate due to birth control, pregnancy or an increased number of sexual partners. Stress, dehydration and too much alcohol are common culprits as well. I definitely haven’t had a revolving bedroom door, but one happy hour too many and a busy work schedule could be to blame. The solutions? Relax and drink more water and less margaritas.
I need way more sleep than I used to get.
I knew this was coming when I found myself yawning in the club at 12 a.m. As much as I hate to say this, I just can’t hang anymore. I work eight hours a day and then come home to write for about four hours at night regularly. When the weekend hits the last thing I want to do is dance The Wobble in four-inch heels at some packed club. What a fool I was when I thought all that naps did was get in the way of my grind. Now, I treasure them for the precious gems they are. One of the best lessons I’ve learned is that working while you’re exhausted is the best way to produce half-a**ed results. Sorry Diddy, but I’m going to be getting my eight hours in while I’m alive or I will end up working myself to death.
Your hangovers hang around a little longer.
Remember how I mentioned in Reasons Life Doesn’t Get Good Until You Hit Your Thirties that with age comes the awesome ability to hold your liquor while your girlfriends are crying and tossing their cookies after two shots of Grey Goose? Well, if you’re not careful, the only friends that will be keeping you company the morning after are a migraine and an unsettled stomach. As we get older, our body’s ability to process alcohol and other toxins becomes less effective. This is mostly due to the fact that it doesn’t produce as much of the critical enzymes needed to break down alcohol. So, slow down. By 30, hopefully you found some other ways to impress the bartender than your talent for body shots and beer pong.
It takes more than some Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay to get me in the mood.
Either my mouth is watering over anything with a Y-chromosome and sideburns or I feel about as s*xy as a nun in Sunday school. Those damn unpredictable hormones are again to blame for an inconsistent libido. Some doctors suggest that dwindling fertility could cause the rise in sex drive for women in their 30s. But other factors that could affect sex drive are the strong possibilities that women in their 30s are in committed relationships or married. Commitment can be both arousing or predictable, having very different effects on sex drive. And don’t forget kids: It’s easy to see how a temper tantrum or gum in the hair can completely take you out of the mood you were getting in. Stress is also a libido killer, which most women in their 30s have plenty of. The bright light at the end of the tunnel? By your 30s you know exactly what turns you on and it’s easier for you to achieve org*sm, which means when you do get turned on, you’ll definitely be able to get off.
My emotions are a mess.
I cried at the end of Wreck-It-Ralph the other day out of nowhere. In your 30s you’ll probably get easily emotional over more than just Disney movies. Finances, children and career issues are just a few of most 30-year-old’s responsibilities. Plus, you guessed it: Your hormones are in flux (is it me or is 30 like puberty all over again?). Women at this age are easily susceptible to depression and substance abuse, so make sure your bad day is just that and not something more serious that happens on a regular basis.
What did I come in here for?
Do you know how many times I’ve walked into a room and forgotten what I went in there to get? This hasn’t happened a lot lately, but I’ve noticed it happening more than ever before. I used to think of memory loss as something I wouldn’t have to worry about until I got a Colonial Penn offer, but Stuart Zola, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Emory School of Medicine suggests that slight lapses in memory can happen as early as your 20s and 30s.
I think a part of it is that we’ve become so reliant on our smart phones that when it comes to a colleague’s number or a friend’s birthday, we simply bypass our brains and go reaching for our Outlook calendars. It’s not all your iPhone’s fault though since memory does deteriorate with age. That doesn’t mean you should become dependent on your contact list. Put Candy Crush down and try memorizing important numbers instead.
Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.