Aging Gracefully: French Women Don’t Get Facelifts (Mireille Guiliano)
Get a French woman’s most guarded beauty and lifestyle secrets! Learn how to devise your own formula for life that enhances your looks, health, and pleasures, and allows you to be comfortable in your own skin at any age. Join CJ as she gets some strategies for aging gracefully from NY Times best-selling author, Mireille Guiliano, on tips on” aging with attitude” along with some fashion, skincare, makeup advice, and more.
Blog Post by Our Guest
Forty may be the new 30 in some people’s minds and 59 the new 50 — or in nip-and-tuck Hollywood, they imagine it to be 40. Your body, though, sometimes tells you that the new 59 is 60. A reality is that every day more than 7,000 Americans turn 65. By 2030, 18 percent of Americans will be senior citizens, up from 12 percent today. That trend is true for the majority of nations.
I am often asked to share my tips on “aging gracefully,” an expression I don’t like. “Aging with attitude” is what I believe in. “Dying gracefully” is a different and perhaps apt phrase, though only if it is “noble and brave” in Hemingway’s words. But who wants to talk about dying? Approaching the inevitable is as much a mental exercise as a physical reality, and I want to talk about living with style, perhaps some elegance and certainly with pleasure.
So, it’s good to have a plan — a strategy based on “knowing thyself,” common sense and a zest for life. For me, it is about being bien dans sa peauthrough all episodes and stages in life. You and I don’t have the same genetics, we don’t live in the same places, we don’t have the same resources, but we can have the same basic attitude: being comfortable in our skin. Your own skin. We are all unique, so no plan fits all sizes. Creating your own plan is vital, so you’ll have to do some homework that nobody else can do for you. And having a plan is a mental approach to aging; it’s an attitude.
The images and plans touted in today’s media (often by celebrities) and then globalized, have made things worse. Yes, we live longer, but the cult of youth has made women more and more self-conscious and obsessed with looking younger than they actually are. Too often giving up seems like the easy way out. Too many women 40 and up se laissent aller, let themselves go. Look around: fat is becoming scarily acceptable and so is dressing down, poorly and distastefully. Then there are the quick fixes promoted on talk shows, in women’s magazines and blogs, and with celebrities’ recipes, tricks and tips, invented by all sorts of “experts.”
Every week a new recipe, diet or product is born to keep you young, skinny or beautiful. Believable? For the most part, no. Develop a system with some healthy rituals, some fun and spontaneity, some fine tuning and reinvention as years go by — nothing drastic or painful. The earlier you start the better, but let age 40 be your latest start date. It’s nature’s start signal, for sure.
Here are a few tips to get you cogitating and (hopefully) taking action:
- Water, Water, Water: It cannot be said enough. Find out what your daily needs are and add a dose. You need it. Start and finish the day with a large glass of water and drink plenty in between. It is essential to get rid of toxins, which prevent your metabolism from burning the excess. What it does to your skin, hair, body and mood is immeasurably good. And try some cold water rinses on your eyes and body.
- Movement,Movement,Movement : Conscious and habitual movement is a must for aging well, whether it is walking, taking the stairs, practicing yoga, dancing, swimming, biking, having sex — dare I say exercising — or whatever it takes to move your butt with joy. (Just please don’t sweat and stress like so many celebrities who torture themselves a third of each day to stay fit.)
- Style, Style, Style: Be your own brand — that individual style that sets you apart, that image that gets developed and refined over time and makes you feel good about yourself. Work at it.
- Eat with your Head: Eat breakfast, three meals a day — or four smaller ones if you must — but each should include carbs, proteins and fat. If you must snack, opt for a yogurt with a few slices of fruit or a sliver of cheese with a whole wheat cracker. Past 45, I believe in decreasing meat intake and portions, and opting for quality over quantity. The junk food one eats when growing up does some heavy damage after 30, so reserve chips, cupcakes and the like for indulgences. Ditto with wine: a glass a day gives you all the benefits.
- Take Care of your Skin: Clean your face before you go to bed. No exceptions. Ever. Like the rest of us, our face needs to breathe. Clean, nourish and moisturize. You don’t need to go for the $600 jar of cream, there are many night creams out there. Find the one that targets your skin type and fine tune your selections as you go along. Find some modestly-priced body lotions and hydrating creams.
- Get your Beauty Rest: I believe in sleeping for at least seven hours a day. If an additional hour or two fits with your personal needs, then go for it. Every expert recommends a good night’s sleep. Makes sense. Your body, face, mind and more will thank you for it.
- Find Your Balance: The exigencies of the 21st century lives too many of us lead are hazardous to our health if we don’t maintain a mental and physical equilibrium. Think words like respite, refueling, relaxation and recharging — especially after 50. No bargaining here. I like to say we need both “me time” and “beach time” — two mental approaches to maintaining a healthy equilibrium.
- Give: Give time, money and help. Be compassionate. Stay active. It will enrich your life and add to whatever makes up your spirituality. This is a key mental ingredient to aging well.
- Add Your Own Flavor: And remember to add your own herbs to the basic recipe just given: Keep learning, stay engaged and committed, be curious, soignée (don’t try to dress like your daughter — be yourself), be grateful, have sex and wear a genuine smile which will take years off your face.