I Admit It - I'm Vain!
by Linda Stradley

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I'm Vain - Guilty as charged! 

I think every women is vain to some degree. Face it, the face is the first mark of aging, as aging is an irreversible process.

I care what I look like and how my skin looks. Like millions of other women, when I was in my 20s and 30s, I didn't really appreciate how beautiful my skin was then. When I was in my 20s, forty seemed ancient to me, and 65 was unthinkable!  I looked at my mother, and other older women, and thought that I would never have wrinkles. Being vain doesn't mean having a big ego. It just means that I care what I look like to myself and others.

I'm not vain because I'm beautiful - but because I'm not beautiful! I'm pretty average looking. However, I feel that since I am average-looking and in my "senior years", I need to do whatever I can to keep those looks from slipping away into old age. I know, I know - I have to accept being a senior citizen! I must graciously accept it! I'm working on this, but I'm not going to go down easy! While some signs of aging are inevitable, there’s a lot you can do to look your best at any age.

I was a very lucky teenager, as I had very few pimples and had very clear skin. My hair was thick and wavy, and I hardly had to curl it to look great.

Every since I was in my 20s, I've been conscience that I needed to take care of my skin. I have very fair skin, and I have always been very careful what I used on my face. I was always getting compliments on my skin!

Into my 40s, other people were always saying I looked younger than I was. Of course I loved hearing this!

Then came menopause in my 50s! My doctor had me on hormones for several years, and I didn't really notice much change. But, since taken off of hormones. changes have occurred! I looked into my mirror one day, and guess what - my neck turned into an old ladies' neck! I can't believe it - I am starting to look like my mother!  Check out Menopause and Weight Gain.

Skin Care - I definitely realize that every time you frown, smile, squint, or use any other common facial expression, your muscles contract under your skin. When you do it over and over again, the result can be wrinkles. This can't be avoided, but I do believe it is true that skin care products are essential to having good skin. Taking care of skin is important considering the destruction one goes through during the long aging process. Since I make my own anti-aging face cream, everyone is always asking me for advice on taking care of their skin.

First - I want to say! You cannot STOP Aging! You can only SLOW IT DOWN and minimize any existing lines that you already have on your face. So don't believe any advertisements saying you can eliminate your "wrinkles" with their cream. One of the biggest mistakes middle age women make, is to use a heavy foundation or powder on their face. These products only make your face look dry and emphasize any lines that you now have. Throw those product away NOW!

Tanning - When I was a teenager, I actually tried to get sun tans with my fair skin. All I did was burn and peel! I finally realized, in my 20s, that this was impossible and bad for me. I started using sunscreen when outdoors. Sun plays a major role to deteriorate your skin. You need to protect your skin from the sun in order to prevent the aging of your skin. The sun is largely responsible for wrinkles, dry skin, blotchy pigmentation, thinning of skin, skin texture, skin dullness, and some other sun related diseases that can make your skin look older. When I'm gardening, I wear a long-sleeved shirt, gloves, and a hat - even on very hot days. I also put sunscreen on my face. I look pretty funny when gardening, but I am protecting myself.

I have never smoked! It seemed like every one I knew in my 20s and 30s, did smoke. I was the odd non-smoker. So, I was exposed to a lot of secondhand smoke. Some researchers believe that exposure to cigarette smoke (whether you smoke or not) is as damaging to skin as exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Today, many scientist have suggested that nicotine present in the cigarette has the same influence on elastin in the skin as sunlight. So, my friends and family exposed me to the effects of secondhand smoke.

About my hands - A lot of us take care of our faces, but forget about our aging hands. Next to your face, your hands are probably the most visible parts of your body. The earliest signs of aging will show on your hands. The skin on the back of your hands is extremely delicate. This skin is very, very thin, as there is almost no fat under it at all, which is why the veins are so visible. I've always worn rubber gloves when washing dishes and doing messy housework. I now have added the routine of exfoliating and moisturizing them every day. Read my article on Younger Looking Hands - Keeping Hands Beautiful As We Age.

What surprises me is that I let myself get overweight! According to the Body Mass Index (BMI) 30 pound overweight is obese! I'm trying my best to fix this, which is very hard! My husband and I bought an elliptical and a treadmill that we exercise on 30 minutes a day. I'm cutting back on my food intake and watching calories. This losing weight is so slow.  My body doesn't want to let the pounds go!  Check out my Dieting Hints & Tips and Linda's Diet Statement.




Comments from Readers:

Just thought I'd let you know I read your article on being vain.  Although I am two years older than you, 67, I could have written the same article there were so many similarities; the fair skin, love of sun, compliments on your skin and looking younger than your years, taking care of your skin (I use a night cream and moisturizer under my daily makeup).  Unfortunately, I never thought about my hands.  With the bulging veins on them, I do look like a senior citizen.  My skin, however, is flawless; I just have to deal with a few little bags under my eyes as my great-grandmother did.  I have to remember to keep my head back when pictures are being taken so they don't show up so much.

You mentioned your desire to lose weight.  I too had put on the pounds and went from an ideal 125 lbs. (5'-7-1/2" tall) at age 19, to 193 lbs. several years ago and dieted down to the low 180's where I stayed for years.  At the end of 2005, the docs discovered I had a benign tumor on my pituitary gland which required surgery.  It went well but I was slow to get back to my old self.  My appetite changed quite a bit.  I started longing for healthy foods; a shocker for me.  I gave up my daily 5 cans of ginger ale and substituted water instead.  My sweet tooth was no where to be seen.  I ate smaller meals but I did eat when I wanted and what I wanted.  The weight came off on its own, slowly.  I was thrilled.  I was also dealing with a little anxiety, which affects my appetite immediately, so would barely eat a few days in a row.  I loved getting weighed every day.  I went from a size 16 pants to a size 12 and the 12's were really too big. 

I've been on different meds for other non threatening issues and everything seems to be stabilized now.  Unfortunately, my appetite really came back a few weeks ago, a year and a half after my surgery.  Yesterday, 4th of July, we went to a cookout and I just ate all the wonderful foods served including my own, homemade blueberry pie with vanilla ice-cream.  Last night when I got on the scales, it was up!  Now I have to be careful again.  I started today off, and will keep working at getting off those extra 14 lbs. to reach my 135 lbs. goal.  After all, we are having our 50th high school reunion in October and I want to be svelte.  My high school sweetheart will be there and we will probably never see each other again so I want his lasting memory of me to be as a "hot senior." 

I am sending this to you because I know you want to lose weight and you can do it if you really set your mind to it and take it one day at a time.  Don't be afraid to skip lunch and have a light dinner.  We too have a treadmill but I don't use it; I know I should.  You are smart to keep your ticker moving in a healthful manner.  If you are a soda drinker, cut it out completely except maybe a treat occasionally when you go out to dinner.  If you love desserts, either forget about it, or have a small portion to tide you over.  Don't give into those late night hunger pains.  You'll fall asleep and will feel much better about it in the morning.  Keep your digestive system working nicely by drinking lots of water and have fruit daily.  I like the stewed prunes or dried (the soft kind) apricots which keep things moving great.  Set a goal for yourself.  Don't tell anyone you are dieting.  Your little secret will come out when people start to notice you are thinner.  I really enjoyed that.  I started to enjoy looking in the full length mirror.  Losing the weight is great for your self-esteem.

My guess is you were and still are a beautiful girl/woman.  You will get a kick out of being thin, trust me. - Phyl (7/05/07)


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