Ace your work and home life over 40. Start here.
The world is changing fast and we over-40s need to keep up.
With AI and technology changing faster than ever, our jobs are changing drastically if not just disappearing. Many jobs where we thought the in-person connection was important are now moving to virtual options or being automated altogether.
My career as a traveling sales educator for the natural products industry is one of those positions that just isn’t around anymore.
Downsized multiple times, I finally took the hint. My job is not sustainable anymore. It is in the same box as the switchboard and elevator operators. Goodbye.
We are becoming more automated whether we like it or not.
What can we do? I am adding skills and maximizing my brainspace and energy to stay on top of my game for longer. I want to work as long as I feel like it, not until my employer, or society, deems me ready to retire.
Starting at age 45 I had brain fog and low energy levels. It happened slowly so I didn’t really realize it until I lost interest in being active and got a “sitting injury” as I like to call it. My IT band was inflamed and I was very uncomfortable all the time.
Having not hurt myself significantly since turning 40, I was quick to say this must be what happens, and shrug.
Determined not to let my body break down so soon, I realized I had stopped doing the things I love to do like running and tennis. Yikes! How did that happen?
A silver lining of the lockdown was that it gave me the space to create a meal plan and supplement regime to optimize my performance mentally and physically so I could get back in the mood to be active again.
The starting point is nutrition.
Dietary changes improve mental and physical performance to get you started on the whole program you know is good for you.
If you don’t start with this step to feeling good, both mentally and physically, you won’t do the other things you need to do so you can feel your absolute best: exercise, meditate and kick ass at work.
I know this is true from personal experience over my entire career in the supplement industry and from extensive research.
Energy levels - not what they used to be.
It is just one of those things that happens after 40, or is it? With lower energy, we have more trouble putting in the long hours to learn a new skill or push that difficult AI project to completion at an all-nighter.
“At least 27% of the aging population struggle daily with moderate to severe levels of fatigue (Hellstrom et al., 2004, Reyes-Gibby et al., 2003, Wijeratne et al., 2007). Fortunately, there are evidence-based lifestyle changes you can incorporate to support your energy levels and help improve your quality of life.” - Nicole Hinkley, RD
The energy our cells burn is called adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP).
We need a lot of it. If we stopped producing ATP, we could sprint for less than a minute then, once the ATP was used up, we would die.
Our brain burns large amounts of the energy molecule known as ATP. 20% of all we have, in fact. If our production of ATP goes down as we age, and it does, it could affect our brains.
Brain Health - Focus, Mood and Brain Fog - creativity and ability to learn are hindered when diet isn't optimized.
Have you ever tried to focus after eating fast food? Near impossible.
With the latest technology and the introduction of AI, our knowledge base is officially antiquated. We learned from books printed years ago and following what others historically did.
Things are different now, we need to be able to adapt and learn as the landscape changes. We don’t know what skills we will need but staying healthy enough to be able to pay attention will keep us relevant and valuable members of the workforce for as long as we choose.
“Mood instability occurs in 14 percent of the general population. Moods are built from within and without, but ultimately they depend on some essential nutrients. - Psychology today 2022
So Where to Start?
1. Decide to take control of your health. Don’t settle for brain fog and laziness, they are not normal.
2. Make a plan to do something. You CAN feel better and fast. Think of yourself as a science experiment from seventh grade. The one you were so excited about. For me it was dissecting the frog, but don’t worry, we aren’t cutting anything open.
4. Analyze yourself, keep a diet diary and track food, symptoms, bloodwork, sleep and exercise. Track it all as best you can and be accountable for all the cheats.
5. Get that bloodwork insurance pays for, ask for extra tests to be included. Get the colonoscopy, mammogram, or prostate exam you have been putting off. Get a baseline so you can get to work. Also, most problems are treatable if caught early.
6. Show your doctor what you are doing. Keep track of everything in a Diet Diary. You can find the one I use on my homepage here. It is free to print at home or you can buy one already printed on Amazon, either way, whatever is easier.
7. See what foods cause brain fog and zap your energy. Work to limit those foods or find healthier alternatives without common allergens.
8. Eat mostly whole foods that don’t have an ingredient list, this will make keeping track of your diet easier.
9. Go back and highlight the connections between how you feel and what you eat/take. It is fun and will make sense when you see it spelled out on paper.
10. Make changes. Try new things like brain supplements and a sugar-free diet.
Rinse and repeat.
Nutrition is the often overlooked, and very important step in staying optimized and relevant as we age.
Take your health into your own hands, it is the first thing on the top of my gratitude list each morning. You can feel great, you just have to start.
Disclaimer: Content on this site is for reference and information purposes only. Do not rely solely on this content, as it is not a substitute for advice from a licensed healthcare professional. Always read labels and directions before using a product or prescription.