Build a Portfolio Career

Building a Portfolio Career

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Losing Weight in Midlife: One Step at a Time

Exercise. Weight loss. If those two phrases strike fear into your heart or fill you with guilt, you’re definitely not alone. We’re bombarded with research telling us that exercising in midlife helps to stave off heart disease, stroke, dementia, perhaps cancer. Also, maintaining a healthy weight range helps too. But that doesn’t necessarily make us more likely to get off the couch now, does it?

Don’t worry. There is hope. And it’s not quite as difficult as you might think. Let’s take a look at some of the research.

Stop Feeling Guilty over Gaining Weight
There’s no doubt that many people at midlife struggle with weight gain. However, there’s no point feeling guilty about it because it’s not anything you’ve done wrong. It’s just what happens, especially for women.

A comprehensive review in late 2012 by the International Menopause Society found that menopause does not cause a woman to gain weight. Nevertheless,  the hormonal changes at this time are associated with a change in the way fat is distributed, which leads to more belly fat. Irrespective of whether women do or do not gain weight at midlife following menopause, women experience a change in their fat stores to their abdomen because of a drop in estrogen.

Of course, the review’s authors also emphasised the need for keeping weight gain in check because it is part of staying healthy as we age.

Health in Midlife: Not just about Weight Loss

But weight loss isn’t the be all and end all. That takes the pressure off a bit, doesn’t it? Instead, a combination of ‘healthy behaviours’ is a better approach  (which of course makes it both less and more difficult.)

A current study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that engaging in a combination of healthy behaviours, such as not smoking, moderate alcohol consumption, exercise and eating fruits and vegetables daily makes it significantly more likely people will stay healthy as they age.

“Successful ageing” was defined as maintaining the ability to function well with cognitive skills, respiratory function, good mobility, mental health and no chronic diseases such as stroke, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or disability at age 60 years and above. The study’s authors found that although individual healthy behaviours are moderately associated with successful ageing, their combined impact is substantial.

One Step at a Time

Of course, there’s still the problem of how to start these ‘healthy behaviours’ — or more importantly, how to maintain them. Recent research from the US suggests it might be as simple as the number of steps you take a day.

Moving 6,000 or more steps a day — no matter how — adds up to a healthier life for women, particularly in their midlife.  That level of physical activity decreases the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome (a diabetes precursor and a risk for cardiovascular disease), according to a study published in ‘Menopause’, the journal of the North American Menopause Society.

Although other studies show the value of structured exercise in lowering health risks such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, this study showed that habitual physical activity — whether it came from exercising or activities of daily living — has the power to improve women’s health.

Active women (those who took 6,000 steps or more) in the study were much less likely to be obese, have metabolic syndrome or frank diabetes (whether or not they had menopause and whether or not they used therapy) than the inactive ones

It seems the path to weight loss and healthier living in midlife might begin with 6,000 steps!

Sharon Freeman is an Australian freelance writer and blogger.  She loves coaching, speaking and reviewing companies

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What Is a Mid Lifer?

Simplistically, we might conclude that a Mid Lifer is someone between the ages of say, mid thirties to late fifties. Mid Life, though, is a state of mind as much as a physical age. So you may be older (or younger) and still consider yourself to be a Mid Lifer.

Typically, many of your habits will be set – you know what you like to drink, the type of holidays that you enjoy, the clothes that you wear and your hobbies, for example. These won’t be set in stone and may change as you grow older but by and large, you know who you are and you know what you want.

Some Mid Lifers may have young families as they have delayed parenthood whilst enjoying their youth. Others may have a young family with a second partner. At the other end of the family spectrum, some Mid Lifers will have seen their children leave home and this may lead to life changing decisions – moving house, reviewing their career, taking early retirement for example.

Mid Lifers may be carers for their elderly parents or they may have experienced the trauma of their parents passing away.
Many Mid Lifers spent their youth swearing that there would never be a generation gap between them and their children – then finding themselves wondering why their offspring listen to ‘such mindless music’ and have such odd hairstyles.

Some Mid Lifers will feel that they’ve reached the top of the ‘bell curve’ and it’s all downhill from here. These are the people that often experience a ‘mid life crisis’ with all the negative aspects that this holds for them and their family and friends.

This will be the future for some Mid Lifers but it doesn’t have to be. As Henry Ford once famously said ‘Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re usually right’. So mid life may be a time of retrospection and review and your conclusion may be that your best days are behind you. More positively, you might conclude that the experience and learning that you’ve gained in your younger years provide you with the springboard to greater things in the second half of your life.

Life is always full of opportunities – the trick is in recognising them for what they are.

The Mid Life Opportunity highlights all of the positive aspects of Mid Life whilst also recognising that not everyone is in this happy place.

If you have issues with your career, finances, relationships or your health you will be able to find Advice and Guidance from experts in their field. Experts who can help you to see that your coping skills, experiences, maturity and accumulated wisdom can increase your confidence and show you the way through your current crisis to a brighter future.

Thanks for your interest in The Mid LifeOpportunity and do please join the community and add your voice.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Are you Ready to Reshape your Career and Redesign your Life?

Steve Preston runs a series of very engaging masterclasses, all aimed at helping people to move on to the next phase of their career.

Steve's latest class is running in London on Nov 11th 2012 and  is entitled 'How Colourful is Your Umbrella - creating your canopy of choice'.

Do these apply to you?:

  • Fed up with the 9-5 grind
  • Searching for greater freedom, choice and fulfillment
  • Would love to turn interests and passions into income streams
  • Thinking about taking up a Portfolio Career
  • Have lots of ideas for a business, but can't decide which path to take
  • Struggling to achieve your full potential.
If so, then 'How Colourful is Your Umbrella' may be the course for you.

For full details, click here:  How Colourful is Your Umbrella?

If you can't get to London on 11th November, Steve also has a number of other courses which may be of interest and which can be purchased online: I Want a Career Change

Please mention The Mid Life Opportunity when booking.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Solution To The Middle-Aged Blahs?

Guest Post by Suzie Hammond

So the birthday numbers keep rolling around and you’ve passed 45, and then 50, and life has definitely settled into that middle aged comfort zone.  You know the word ‘boring’ could be applied to your existence.
Some of the options we reviewed to overcome this dreaded problem were taking skydiving lessons in thunderstorms, joining a gang of rabid food co-op junkies, and turning our house into a modern artwork complete with splatter paintings inside and out.  We were afraid the splatter paint option would attract city citations we didn’t want to pay though.

So we took what seemed to be a less drastic action.  We moved.  We moved to a completely different area of the country actually, and then a few years later later to a life overseas.  We took on our middle age and made it into a lifestyle challenge.
You might want to consider it.  What would your life be like somewhere else?

The excitement of choosing a likely front running candidate for our new adventure was a bit of a secret at first.  The criteria we set was strict but similar to what most middle-age ex-hippies want;
a)  There had to be work there for people in middle age
b)  Also interesting things to do
c)  And a reasonable amount of safety for a couple who had slowed down but were still darned lively. 
d)  And of course life had to be affordable with some of our favorite comforts readily available.  (No use moving and discovering we could only afford to live in the poorest end of town.) 

Once the destination decision was made then we had to tell every one we were relocating.  Dealing with numerous howls of outrage and the helpful advice that we were mildly insane wasn’t enjoyable, but looking forward to a new life was.  Many charges of ‘middle aged crisis’ were leveled at us but we persevered, while privately worrying they might be right.

Next was the turmoil and less fun job of packing.  By middle age you’ve accumulated huge piles of ‘stuff’.  The relocating served the fabulous end of actually sorting out what was important in life.  When was the last time you used that waffle iron?  That outfit you bought 5 years ago and paid a lot of money for and wore twice?  That 1959 Ford transmission and hulk in the garage you bought 13 years ago that you were going to restore but haven’t gotten around to yet?  The universal consensus amongst people who have done it seems to be that it is amazing how free you feel when you let go of many of your things.  It somehow seems to open you up to new possibilities because you aren’t tied to useless things anymore. (The things we were sure we couldn’t live without went into storage literally and figuratively.) 

 Finding a place to live, unpacking and settling in to your new area can be a good deal of work but it serves up another overdue evaluation opportunity.  What is  comfortable for a couple or older family in terms of accommodation?  Do you really need 3500sf of house? Etc.

After a while the newness of where to find the post office and the best-priced grocery store will wear off.  Meantime fresh escapades will abound.  New friends and novel unexplored activities are there for the having. Many of these experiences we would never have had with such depth and satisfaction in our last home. (It is pretty hard to help clean up the beach on weekends if you live in landlocked croplands for instance.)
Most middle aged people who relocate find that the new place helped them grow as people in many unexpected ways. Not that people wouldn’t have grown where they were before of course.  But the figurative rising mud of complacency and easy comfort around your ankles in your old home makes it harder to look for those new experiences in your old and familiar area. 

Relocating thrusts us all into situations that insist we develop new capabilities, unless we fancy staying home and watching TV all day. The extreme solution of relocating found us making efforts to fit in and make a difference to our new communities.  Comparing notes with others we’ve found they too got involved and active more than before.

It may seem a radical solution to the situation but it was right for us and a surprisingly large slice of middle age people. Big changes in life are labeled ‘big’ for a reason. There are unexpected twists and turns to your plans.  Sometimes solving the problems requires the ingenuity displayed by our children when they were young.  With little effort they could come up with 30 ways to do anything we didn’t want them to.  We could all use more brain exercise and the challenges of relocating and making a new a new life for yourself certainly do that. 

Think it over and see if this might be a good route for you too.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Overweight or Underweight?

As we grow older, many of us find that the excess pounds creep up on us. It is all too easy to become overweight and much more difficult to lose those extra pounds. Midlife tends to be the tipping point for a lot of people when they 'stop trying' to lose weight and give in to the inevitability of being heavier.

We can see how large or small we are compared to those around us but not those in other countries. A new tool has been developed which lets all of us compare ourselves to other people and the national average for our country. When you have a spare 5 minutes, enter your details into the Global Fat Scale and see how you compare. Does your body compare with someone your age in Mauritius, Vietnam or Samoa? Fascinating.

The Mid Life Opportunity ( is a community for Mid Lifers. Advice and Guidance is available from the members of The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join so what are you waiting for? Join here FREE!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Three Rules to Midlife Happiness

The 3 Basic Rules to Ensure Your Midlife Happiness

Rule 1: Be happy in your own Time
Some people find it hard to accept that they are growing older, they seek perpetual youth.
Some have facelifts, botox injections, boob jobs, bum lifts and other cosmetic surgery to try to keep the ravages of time at bay. This may look very attractive for a time but often ends with the person looking a parody of his or her previous self. ‘Trout pout’ anyone?
Some wear clothes that would look much better on their children (rule 1a – If you are old enough to have worn it when it was in fashion last time around, don’t wear it this time!).
Some people in midlife decide to start again with a younger partner – ‘Cougar’ women take a toyboy, midlife men might opt for a 20 something female with long legs. Whilst this might seem attractive in the short term, once the initial excitement has died down, the couple find themselves living together with little in common. They watched different TV programmes when they were children, they grew up listening to different music and they wore different styles of clothes – they come from different ‘times’ and unless they are very fortunate, they are very unlikely to feel comfortable with each other in the long term.

Rule 2: Be happy in your own Skin
We are all born with the hand of cards that we are given. Some will grow up as beautiful people, others won’t. Some will become thought leaders in their spheres, most won’t.
‘Show me the boy and I will show you the man’, a popular saying that rings very true. Most of us don’t change greatly as we get older, we play the hand that we were dealt.
Many people, though, are not happy with the cards that they were dealt and call ‘foul’. Most women (and quite a few men) are not happy with some aspects of their looks. Some go to great lengths to change their appearance. This goes far beyond trying to keep their youth (see Rule 1) and is an attempt to change their looks, to give themselves characteristics that they wished they’d been born with.
Whilst some attempts at remodelling your looks can be beneficial, particularly for self-esteem and confidence, it is important to draw the line.
A midlife crisis is often triggered by a person not being able to come to terms with living in their own skin.

Rule 3: Be happy in your own Life
Many people feel that they need to ‘fit in’, that they need to conform to a norm with which they aren’t really comfortable. Teenagers, in particular, feel that they must be part of a crowd and fall victim to peer pressure. Their friends all have tattoos, so they feel that they should have tattoos, even if they don’t like them (and will regret having them in later life, particularly if they include someone’s name!)
Midlifers are less inclined to worry about peer pressure but the ‘green-eyed monster’ of jealousy is a very real part of the life of many people in midlife. We all lead different lives and however happy we are, however well off we are, there will always be people who seem to be doing better than us. Some of them will indeed be doing better than us, either because they were dealt a better hand at birth (see Rule 2) or because they work harder than we do (often both).
The grass always seems greener in somebody else’s life. However, when the green-eyed monster rears its head, take a few moments to consider the other aspects of the person’s life – these may not be quite so rosy. Your rich friend may be doing very nicely in the big house, driving the expensive car but behind closed doors their relationship may be falling apart. Their kids might be taking drugs and mixing with the wrong ‘friends’.
Don’t try to ‘keep up with the Jones’ out of jealousy, to make yourself look better or more acceptable to your friends. You may find yourself deeply in debt if you overstretch yourself unnecessarily.

To be happy in your life, accept what you have – but don’t let that stop you from striving to achieve greatness. There is a difference between making the most of your life and trying to live your life imitating someone else.
The Mid Life Opportunity ( is a community for Mid Lifers. Advice and Guidance is available from the members of The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join so what are you waiting for? Join here FREE!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Your Children and Mid-Life Dating

Guest Post by Cara Michaels

As your grown children get older, they may become more protective and territorial of you as their parent.  
The roles somehow seem to reverse and many adult children see themselves in the role of caring for you. If you are someone who has become interested in dating and your children are resistant to the idea, you need to sit down with them. Have a good old-fashioned conversation about your needs and what the boundaries are between you.

If you are divorced or widowed, it’s natural for your children to feel protective when you express your interest in dating.  They know what a jungle the dating world can be.  Also, they probably want to protect you from any scammers that are often prevalent when meeting someone online.  Of course, the obvious reason they are reluctant to have you date, is that they don’t want to share with you anyone else and feel a great loyalty to your departed spouse.

You need to explain carefully to your children, that your wanting to date has nothing to do with lack of loyalty to your ex or deceased spouse.  Explain that you are interested in moving forward with your life and you are looking for companionship.  It’s very difficult for children, even grown children, to see their parent as a man or a woman.  They only see them as Mum or Dad, and they don’t typically take into consideration what your social needs may be.

If you are not Internet-savvy, this is a perfect opportunity to ask your children to help you get up and running on a dating website.  This will make them feel less excluded as you take your next step into the dating world.  In all likelihood, they will be able to offer you great tips and advice for creating an effective online profile and even help you select some of the dates you would ultimately like to meet.

Convince your children that this is a healthy move forward for you and assure them that you will enter this new phase of your life carefully yet confidently.  Perhaps you’re not even looking for the next love of your life; you simply want to go online in order to meet activity partners and such.  Explain this fact as well and your children will be certain to understand.  After all, you cannot continue to count on them for your social life since they have their own lives to lead.  By seeking a dating life, you are asserting your independence and moving forward in a happy and positive way.  Your children will more than likely understand this is a healthy decision.
Author Bio: Cara Michaels is constantly sought after by friends and family for dating and relationship advice. She has taken her knowledge to the web and frequently writes for