Without doubt, entering the fourth decade is a turnstile in every woman's life. Since turning the big 4-oh last month I've decided to take beating my biology altogether more seriously.
Studies by The National Institute on Ageing have shown the ageing process cannot be stopped - not in itself an earth shattering discovery - but how we look after our bodies is the difference between ageing gracefully and ageing rapidly.
Whether you've been there, done that, or are starting to think "uh oh, what happens next," finding that the rules have begun to change on how to look and feel your best is a wake up call.
In ancient cultures wisdom comes with age, and wise ones are much revered. These days, 50 is the new 40, or is it the new 30? Either way, ageing is now seen as much as a state of mind as a state of body.
But, the fact of the matter is that ageing is associated with a catalogue of unwelcome sounding symptoms that add up to what you used to 'get away' with seeming like much harder work.
So, over the next year I'll be submitting my "Project40" blogs that will edit together expert advice and the results of trials, both personal and peer-reviewed, into a top to toe compendium.
I'll be seeking answers to common questions such as what can be done, if anything, to keep hair lustrous?
According to top dermatologists, overall hair density will change and individual strands will become finer as we age. What is more, by the age of 50 half of all women will complain of hair loss. Sudden hair loss due to stress is common too.
What about peachy skin? Is Botox really the only way? What impact can diet really have, if any, or is great skin just down to genetics?
Through my day job as a nutritionist I already know that the middle age spread isn't an inevitability of the fourth decade. However, the advice around how to eat and how to exercise does need to adapt to reflect the inner-changes of hormone balance and declining muscle mass.
Project 40 is not just about the outward signs of ageing. I'll look at the latest evidence around disease prevention, longevity and fertility.
Given I'm starting at the top, it seems apt to begin this blogging journey with the mind. The first question I'll seek to provide an answer to is "Is meditation and mindfulness the keys to feeling a little happier each day?"
Please note I'm setting the happiness bar at a realistic level. In my navel gazing, nirvana seeking early twenties I signed up for twenty days of silent meditation in the Himalayas. Now, two-decades, two-children and two-marriages on, I've largely forgotten how it felt.
According to G.P. and co-author of The Mindful Manifesto (one of the best-read books in the Parliament library no less) Dr. Jonty Heaversedge: "Meditating engages neural systems in the brain associated with empathy and all it really takes is a few minutes each day."
For the next month I will be undertaking a fifteen minute daily meditation practice. Until next time, "OM."Suggest a correction