For the first 47 years of my life, I made every wrong decision. I ate wrong; I exercised wrong, and I just lived wrong! Bridget Jones was a polished, elegant goddess compared to me! And by the time middle age came knocking, I was overweight, miserable, and hopeless.

But that’s when something snapped. I finally got tired of myself and committed to five easy lifestyle changes that turned everything around for the better.

Today, as I sit here with you, I weigh much less, look much better, make more money, and enjoy fulfilling, supportive relationships that have nothing to do with social media.

So what did I do? What did I change? Let’s take a look at the five life-altering habits that carried me from frumpy to fabulous at 48.

You can use the free BMI calculator to find out your ideal body mass index.

#5: Stick to the 5-a-Day Schedule

On advice from the World Health Organization, England’s National Health Service recommends eating at least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables a day, which averages out to about five daily portions.

Now, to be candid, sweets and caramels sound much more appetizing, but I forced down a piece of fruit in the morning, noon, and night. At lunch, salad was on tap. And yes, the first week was rougher than winter in the Scottish Highlands.

My brain almost convinced my body to stick with fizzy pop and fast food! But after about seven days, everything began to heal. My stomach stopped aching, I was energised, and unhealthy foods were soon in the rear-view mirror.

#4: Get Moving

Scientists have done the studies, and the results are in: moving is exceptionally healthy. Exercise is the closest thing we have on Earth to a magical cure-all. Reports suggest that staying fit may help fend off depression, help us flourish, ease “chemo brain”, and keep our memories sharp.

Since I was so out of shape, group exercise classes were anxiety traps to be avoided at all costs. Instead, I acquainted myself with remote exercise. These days, the at-home exercise industry is huge, and the options are endless.

You can even sign up for things like the International Women’s Online Race. The great thing about online exercise events like the IWOR is that treadmill running isn’t the only option. Numerous activities qualify. Participants can do yoga, cycle, or stationary rowing to join in on the healthy fun!

#3: Breakup With Social Media

At first, social media seemed like a good idea. It was an easy way to keep in touch with friends and family, and Facebook spying seemed harmless. But over the years, it’s made a Kafkaesque transformation into a joy-sucking basilisk, and studies show that it’s the opposite of good for our mental health.

So, I pulled the plug. Detaching was difficult, but soon, I found myself ruminating less and doing more. I met new people — in the flesh — and wasn’t nearly as beset with feelings of inadequacy. Amazingly, joy found its way back into my life.

#2: Sort Out Your Sleep Habits

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Scientists still have loads to learn about sleep, but they’re convinced it holds the key to a healthy and happy life. People with optimal slumber habits enjoy:

  • Sharper brains
  • Better moods
  • Healthier hearts
  • Steadier blood sugar
  • Lower weights
  • Heartier immune systems

Barring other complications, eight hours of sleep a night will make you feel — and look — ten years younger.

#1: Shut Down the Nasty Voice

The most important lifestyle change I made during the frumpy-to-fabulous year was ignoring that inner voice. You know the one of which I speak. It’s always pointing out faults and scolding you for not measuring up.

Anytime it popped up, I told it to scram. At first, the nasty inner voice shouted back, but it soon slinks into oblivion, and eventually, a kinder, gentler consciousness took over.

Like I said in the beginning: my life was a pitiful mess. But by sticking to these five lifestyle changes, I was able to turn everything around for the better — and you can do the same! It just takes a healthy dose of perseverance and a dollop of self-love.

How can a woman stay healthy after 40?

It’s possible to be fit and healthy no matter your age.

  1. Workout: Just 30 minutes a day will set your metabolism in motion.
  2. Take Calcium and Vitamin D: Maintaining strong bones is critical. Women in their forties are recommended to have 1000mg of calcium and 800 IU (international units) of vitamin D every day.
  3. Manage your stress: Practice breathing exercises to calm yourself down.
  4. Catch up with friends: having a good social life can mean less risk of diabetes, heart disease and strokes.
  5. Have enough protein: Eating foods with the amino acids needed to form complete proteins, at least twice a day to boosts levels of mood-lifting neurotransmitters in the brain.

What are five ways for females to keep healthy?

These easy tips will help any woman stay healthy:

  1. Find sports or workouts you like and make them part of your weekly habits.
  2. Get health screening regularly.
  3. Get enough rest and sleep.
  4. Pay attention to what you are eating. 
  5. Make time for yourself.

How do I take care of my body after 40?

This is a great age to make changes for better health.

  1. Eat Breakfast
  2. Load Up on Fruits & Veggies
  3. Care for Your Eyes
  4. Schedule Health Checks
  5. Workout daily
  6. Manage Stress

What is the best exercise for 40 year old woman?

  1. Try brisk walking for 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week.
  2. Push muscles (chest, shoulders, triceps, obliques, quads). Pull muscles (back, biceps, glutes, hamstrings).
  3. Swimming.
  4. Consider adopting a dog to take a daily stroll with you.
  5. Mix and match different workout and intensity to spice it up.
Sophie Houston

Sophie is a registered dietitian, writer, speaker and certified psychoanalyst. She has climbed in the Himalayas, live in the wilderness for 21 days and is a true believer that the best things come from living outside of your comfort zone. Currently, she offers holistic nutrition counseling and psychoanalysis through her private practice.

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