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Age is nothing but a number: Secret to feminine youthfulness

 These women have mastered the art of looking young (Photo: Instagram)

As human beings age, their looks change, sometimes deteriorating. Men may not be so conscious about their looks, but women do. Then again, as they say, age is just but a number, and if one can look their best and live their best life, why not?

Celebrities have been known to do just this. Gabrielle Union-Wade is turning 50 later this month and Jennifer Lopez is 53, and both look nothing like their ages, and could easily pass for women in their 20s.

Not only are both women married to younger men, but they can give a youthful girl a run for her money, with their youthful glows and bikini-ready bodies.

For them, growing older is not in the books, and they seem to be dipping into a fountain of youth that most women do not have access to.

Granted, their good looks could be a result of the magical hands of a plastic surgeon, but not everyone can afford plastic surgery and all its wonders.

So, what is the secret to their youthful looks? What has been documented about women in fashion, health magazines and online platforms is that the women share a military commitment to exercise and a strict diet that might make some of us run for the hills. Being youthful, it seems is not for the faint-hearted.

Eve spoke to three personalities who also seem to be drinking from the fountain of youth, to find out the secret to that much-desired youthful glow.

 Pinky Ghelani says the secret to staying youthful is being intentional (Photo: Pinky Ghelani/ Instagram)


Pinky Ghelani, a wife and mother of two, is 46 and looks no older than 30. She says the secret to staying youthful is being intentional.

Pinky says that it is all about good genes. She says her mouth would bounce back to shape immediately after giving birth. However, even with great genes, she says she had to be intentional about her health.

Pinky also appreciates the fact that she is ageing despite her desire to remain youthful.

"I am getting older and I am not in denial about it. To be in denial is dangerous as you will avoid being intentional about taking care of yourself today for tomorrow. As women, we are brought up to be afraid of getting old.

"We are told horror stories about what happens to a woman when she ages; that she will add weight uncontrollably, that her breasts will sag and that she will not be youthful or attractive once she gets to a certain age," she says.

"It is as if a woman growing old is akin to the reduction of her value and worth. That is why women are so scared of sharing their age. I wear my age like a badge. I do not shy away from it; I am grateful and blessed to be 46. I am not afraid to break societal norms. I step into every new birthday with joy and expectancy. However, I get to decide through the choices I make now how I will show up tomorrow when I am older."

Pinky believes that the narrative about getting older is driven by society so that women can forget their power.

"Who says you have to look old or you cannot have babies in your 40s? Interestingly enough, my period flow is more regular now that I am in my 40s. Research even shows that women have a better sex life in their 40s. We become more powerful as we get older, we just do not know our power, and the world tries to disempower us."

For Pinky, the key to youthfulness is being intentional about your exercise, diet, spirituality, self-love, and most importantly, appreciating where you are in life.

"I was recently very miserable as my stomach was constantly bloated, and after seeing a doctor I found out that refined sugar was the problem. I have now substituted refined sugar with natural sources like molasses and dates even when baking. I eat a diet rich in protein, and vegetables, and I drink lots of water throughout the day. I also avoid processed and fried foods. I try to eat healthy at least 80 per cent of the time."

Pinky says that even as she takes care of her body, she also nurtures her inner being, and that is why she has a meditation, prayer, and exercise routine.

"I get up at 5 am before everyone else in the house does, and meditate and pray for an hour before I wake my household. I then take a glass of water, and two mugs of lemon water. It does not taste great but it is healthy, especially for the gut.

"As the children get dressed, I do the five Tibetan rituals, which are types of stretches for mobility, and then I do yoga stretches which involve the shoulder and wrist rotation."

She adds, "Once the children are in school, I have a breakfast consisting of protein and vegetables with a cup of tea or coffee, and then take the dog for a 20-minute walk. I go for my workouts afterwards, which include yoga, pilates, cardio, and weight training. I usually gym four times a week. After the gym, I start my work. I am usually in bed by 9 pm, unless I have an event to attend."

When it comes to her skin, Pinky practices skin cycling and has a morning and night regimen. Further, she does a facial once in six weeks.

"We need to be intentional to preserve our youthfulness within our bodies. I should be able to somersault since I want to have a straight back at 70. I want to be as healthy and youthful for as long as I can."

 For Terryanne, looking youthful begins with the decision to take care of yourself as a woman (Photo: Terryanne Chebet/ Instagram)


Terryanne Jebet Cherutich, a mother of two, says looking youthful begins with the decision to take care of yourself as a woman.

"When you are younger everything works without much effort. Your skin naturally glows, you have no wrinkles, and you even have a flat stomach even with eating a poor diet. But once you reach 30 things start to happen, and if you are not intentional you will never recover," she says.

"I had my firstborn in my 20s and my body easily bounced back without much effort. However, from the mid-30s onwards that is not the case, and one has to be proactive."

Terryanne, who is 43, says she is conscious about what she eats.

"I have a clean diet, and I do not eat junk food. I take lots of water, and I always ensure that my plate has more vegetables than starch and protein, which is great for my skin and gut. A great diet also helps to prevent opportunistic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure," she says.

She adds, "I, however, do not believe that to be healthy you have to demonise food or eat boiled or bland food. I eat in moderation and substitute unhealthy options with healthier ones. I opt for whole wheat bread as opposed to white bread."

The communications consultant says that going to the gym is not just about losing weight but lifting one's spirit and that it is a great way to get energised.

"One of my mentors used to tell me that they go to the gym when they are physically exhausted after which they feel better; I now get it. This year I have been consistent with the gym. I have managed to cut weight by about 4kgs," she says.

"My goal is to be more toned and to be able to wear a bikini without being uncomfortable or feeling the need to cover up. My inspiration is Jada Pinkett's mother who is 68; she is youthful, has a six-pack, and can proudly put on a bikini. I have also been thinking about doing a belly ring. I had one in my 20s, maybe it is time for its return."

According to Terryanne, having a youthful glow is all about diet, exercise, and embracing a daily skincare routine.

"I take a lot of bone broth as it is rich in collagen, which is great for the skin. I also have a daily skincare routine and I use anti-ageing skin care products. It is important to use age-appropriate products. This is because your skin changes as you get older. For example, now that I am in my 40s, my skin needs products with extra moisture than what it needed when I was in my 30s," she says.

She says that attitude and how a woman carries herself also determine her youthfulness.

"I do not believe the narrative that as a woman gets older, she loses her shine or glow or value. At 43, I feel as if my life is just beginning; I have a new lease on life, a second chance. In her 40s, a woman fully understands herself and as a result, discovers her voice, and so I can only imagine what other great things happen when she gets even older."

 Being youthful as one gets older is all about being deliberate- Dr Esther Dindi (Photo: Dr Esther Dindi/ Instagram)


Dr Esther Dindi, a consultant physician and wellness expert, and author of Hot and Healthy, and founder of Doctor Fitness, says that being youthful as one gets older, is all about being deliberate.

Dr Dindi, who is around 40 and married with three children, reiterates that while exercise and diet determine one's youthfulness, other factors are also key.

"First, and most important, is one's attitude towards life. A lot of women, once they reach a certain age or when they get married and have children stop taking care of and grooming themselves. Spirituality is also important.

"I am a Christian and my faith plays an important role in my life. It renews me and makes me lighter and happier. I also love a good belly laugh. I try to be hopeful even when life is not going my way. Carry yourself with faith and hopefulness as it gives you a youthful countenance," she says.

In addition, Dr Dindi says it is important to take care of one's relationships.

"I take care of my relationship with my husband, children, and other family and friends. These relationships are key - when stress is big, they are the ones who come in and hold you through it. So, I make effort to nurture this.

"If you have a healthy relationship with God, yourself, and others and your current life situation, then you are a happy person and that flows and shows in your body and, in your life."

According to Dr Dindi, once all the above is taken care of, they can think of exercise, diet, and skincare.

"I make sure I sleep for enough hours - six is too little and nine hours is too much, so seven hours is a great compromise. I ensure I exercise four to five days a week at home. I love high-intensity structured training; I also do resistance training. As you get older we start to lose muscle and body density, and you can slow that down with resistance and strength training," she says.

When it comes to her skin, she moisturises her skin in the morning and evening and exfoliates weekly using a simple scrub.

"I protect myself from direct sunshine by using sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats and wearing long-sleeved clothes. I also hydrate a lot."

Dr Dindi says that her diet is mainly rich in protein and green leafy vegetables. "I also eat fruits, but in moderation, and avoid processed sugar and processed food."

She says that the key to being youthful is to live a purpose-driven life.

"If you want to be young, remain a student of life. When you stop learning, you start dying. Exercise your passions, and this is about serving people. Serving people gives life significance, it gives you the drive to keep going."

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