Mark Hopkins and David Watchorn of Elwell Watchorn & Saxton LLP were appointed Joint Administrators of Rosemary Conley Food & Fitness Ltd on 3rd of Feb 2014. The Joint Administrators manage the affairs, business and property of the company as agents and act without personal liability.

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How to hold back the years

There was a time when reaching a certain age meant switching to life in the slow lane. But, if you follow a healthy lifestyle, there’s no reason why 60 can’t be the new 40

“I honestly believe that we can be biologically ‘younger’ now than we were 30 years ago if we exercise regularly, eat healthily and keep our weight at a sensible level”

This Christmas will be a celebration of a slightly different kind for me – not only will I be taking part in all the usual festivities but I will also be enjoying one of those special birthdays that has a zero in it. Will I be having a party? No. Because reaching 60 is not something one feels like celebrating in the same way one does 40 or even 50.

When we have our 40th, we delight in the chance that our life might now ‘begin’, and for me it truly did. I wrote my Hip and Thigh Diet in my 40th year, after the low-fat diet I followed because I had gallstones made my body change shape. In the same year, I married Mike and became a committed Christian. 1986 is a year I certainly won’t forget.

I celebrated my 50th with a big bash at home with lots of friends, family and new work colleagues like Richard and Judy, and Dr Hilary Jones and his lovely wife, Sarah. It was a memorable evening and great fun. But this big birthday is different. It marks a time in your life when society kindly provides free prescriptions, free travel on the bus, and concessions at the cinema. There seems to be a general expectation that we will want to leave our job and take life easy. Why on earth would I want to do that? I can see why people would use it as an opportunity to try something new, and that the cheaper deals may be welcome, but this should not be taken as red.

Living Proof

I am inspired by friends and family in their 80s, who are fully active. I honestly believe that we can be biologically ‘younger’ now than we were 30 years ago if we exercise regularly, eat healthily and keep our weight at a sensible level.

Ken, our gardener, has worked for us for more than 20 years. He is now 82. Mariolina, a beauty therapist friend, still works full time. She is also 82. My mother-in-law, Jeanne, makes her own clothes and looks after her house and garden single-handedly at 85. Rika, a friend, is 83 and plays golf four times a week. Renee, our slimmer on page 94, is still doing marathons aged 80! Fabulous! If we look after ourselves and stay active, 80 could now be the new 60.

And while there might be a few bits of me that could do with being ironed, and yes, it is ironic that our skin seems to expand as we get a little older, I personally don’t FEEL older. I have much more energy now than when I was 30, and maybe the HRT helps a bit with that. But I am fitter and slimmer, my brain is much quicker and more active and I absolutely love my job. I am pleased to report that my body is fully functional and, while I do need reading glasses and my Facial Flex gadget to keep my face toned, that’s all I need.

Time for Change

So why do I feel youthful when my birth certificate tells me I should want to be slowing down? It is not my date of birth that is the problem, it is society’s perception of life at a certain age, and I believe the time is right for us to change that thought.

I know I am very fortunate because I have a very fulfilled life doing what I enjoy, a wonderful husband, daughter and family, and work with great people doing a fun and rewarding job. I am also fit and healthy, but I have made choices to achieve that. I do eat a healthy, low-fat diet and I eat the correct amount of food that my body needs to maintain a healthy weight. That means my joints don’t have to carry more weight than they were designed to and, because I exercise regularly, I am able to move about without any aches and pains. I still teach a couple of exercise classes a week and this keeps me fairly fit, plus I stay busy – very busy. And that’s the way I like it.

Learning Curve

I think getting older has enormous benefits. I have learned to see life in a much more balanced way and I worry less. I have learned loads from the mistakes I have made along the journey. I am more patient (mostly, anyway!) and I appreciate people and life more. My priorities are different and I appreciate the little things in life – and make time to do so. Age grows confidence and I want to pass that on to others. I want to tell you if you’ve done something well or look great or are trying hard.

I also have a much better attitude to my own body and clearly understand that it deserves to be given decent, healthy fuel and that life and health is to be treasured and appreciated. We are only on this earth once and I am determined not to waste a minute of it.

So yes, I will be celebrating my birthday in the usual way, but with no party, and I have made it known that I don’t want cards with a number on or to get a cake with candles because I want to launch a campaign that helps us to celebrate the fact that, in the 21st century, 60 is, in fact, the new 40!

Here are my 5 top tips for staying younger:

  1. Lose your excess weight, eat a healthy, low-fat diet and aim to weigh the same as you did when you were 25.
  2. Stay active and exercise regularly. Work out to one of my videos or go to one of our classes for an all-over workout. Take up a sport or physical activity, such as tennis, golf, dancing or running.
  3. Develop a positive mental attitude to your age and stay young by keeping your mind and body active.
  4. Concentrate on your posture all the time. Pull in your tummy and stand tall whenever you can. It will make you look years younger and help you keep your figure.
  5. Make the most of your hair, wear make-up to enhance your face and select clothes that flatter and cover where appropriate.
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