3 biggest health mistakes I made in My 30s
We all know that ages 30 to 39 are what they call our prime time. All in all, the 30s are meant to be a very positive time for health, but it’s also the time that I realised that I had to start developing good health habits as an investment in the future.
For me, turning 30 marked the real beginning of my adulthood. About that time I had an established direction in my career, and some form of directions as to where my relationships were going. I was actually starting to think about starting a family. All in all, I was really happy with my life so far. All my health indiscretions of my 20s (talking about all those all-night parties and how I still managed to make it to work the next day) had not taken much of a health toll on my health.
In other words, the healthy lifestyle habits I ignore in my 20s could set the stage for a less than healthy life in your 30s and beyond.
Here are the three biggest health mistakes I realised I needed to change.
1. I ignore metabolism slowdown.
It seemed like the older I got the slower my metabolism became. This was maybe due to genetics, hormones, and diet, to name a few. But to add to the mix was the fact that body fat increases incrementally after age 30, and this was evident with fat accumulating around the middle part of my body.
Although the metabolic slow-down in your 30s isn’t huge, if you don’t take steps to rev it up, you could potentially pack on double-digit pounds as you age.
I started cutting out as many processed foods as possible and instead started filling up on lean proteins and omega-3s like fish and nuts. Also, I made fruits and vegetables about 70 per cent of my diet.
2. I did not make time to see the doctor
Yes, my life was busy with social events, dating and family, but it was still important to make time for screening for a variety of problems that are “silent” like high blood pressure and high cholesterol considering the junk I was eating in my 20s.
Ideally, women should start being screened in their 20s. But if you don’t know your cholesterol numbers by now, make the time to schedule a lipid panel screening, which includes total cholesterol, LDL levels (the so-called “bad” cholesterol), HDL or “good” cholesterol levels, and triglycerides. If all is good, you don’t have to have another test for about five years. But if your numbers aren’t stellar, you and your doctor can work out a plan that includes diet, exercise, weight loss, and sometimes, medication.
And, of course, don’t put off PAP testing, Starting at age 30 (through age 64), get a PAP test and HPV (human papillomavirus) test together every five years — or a PAP test alone every three years. You may have to have more frequent PAPs if abnormal results are found.
3. I was treating my skin like I was still a teenager
As a teenager, I never had acne problems but then boom there was something called Adult acne. It apparently an issue for women in their 30s. “It’s almost epidemic and it might be caused by stress, diet and hormones,” explains dermatologist Dr Whitney Bowe.
The biggest mistake I started making was treating this acne with harsh chemicals designed for teenage skin. Later on, after much research, I learned that I needed to choose gentle cleaners that didn't strip my skin of its natural oils.
And, of course, don’t forget about sunscreen — ever. Sun damage, wrinkles, and dullness may not show up until your forties but it's still best to prevent rather than cure.
Don’t think you’re too young or too dark for skin cancer. Familiarize yourself with skin cancer symptoms, and see your doctor if you notice suspicious moles or skin changes.
It's very important as a woman that we make an extra effort in how we care for our bodies. You will thank yourself later on.