“Wow… Muriel… I didn’t recognize you from across the room…”
I’d just walked into a party, and there was the woman from the vegetable shop standing across from me — dressed in a black micro-mini skirt and stiletto heels.
“How are the grandkids…?”
I didn’t mean to blurt that out, but I was trying to conceal my shock.
“Oh, they’re fine,” she replied. “But how do I look?”
I didn’t have the heart to tell her that, with the amount of makeup she caked on, I thought she’d come from a coffin fitting.
The thing is, all that war paint didn’t make her look any younger. It actually added 10 years to her appearance.
All I could think was “high mileage.”
Luckily she came to my rescue. Sort of.
“What do you think of my dress?” she said. “Don’t you just love it?”
“I guess… What there is of it, I mean…”
“Isn’t it bombastic?” She turned a pirouette, and then stumbled off across the room to flirt with a kid in his 20’s.
The thing is, no one noticed. I was living in the Mediterranean, and that sort of thing was completely normal.
I’d seen the same thing when traveling with Italians. We were on a wilderness trek, but the one Italian lady in our group — a grandmother in her late 60’s — showed up to the cook fire every night in a different outfit, with full makeup and matching earrings.
But it wasn’t just her appearance that was so sad.
It was the way she hung off our young tour guide. And the way she expected him to prop her up with constant flirting.
She was acting like a girl in her 20’s. But it only made her look like someone’s crazy mother trying to pick up the lads at a wedding.
“Why do women in the Mediterranean region age like that?” I asked myself. “And why were Scandinavian women the total opposite?”
I took a trip to Sweden once. And I have to admit, those Swedish women filled me with envy.
I saw women in their mid-40’s and 50’s who easily passed for 10 years younger.
They were beautiful and confident.
They had a glow about them.
And my husband couldn’t take his eyes off them.
What were they doing so differently?
Why do Scandinavian women age better than those sultry Mediterranean beauties — especially from 40 and beyond?
It turns out they have several secrets. I’ve begun to think of it as a Northern Fountain of Youth.
1) They dress for their age.
They wear flat shoes rather than stiletto heels. They go for a more natural look, and they don’t wear much makeup. Some wear none at all.
Chemicals found in many types of makeup can damage your skin and accelerate aging. And caking on the war paint also clogs your pores.
Those gorgeous northern ladies know that a natural look is fresh, youthful, and energetic. It has a glow that comes from the inside rather than being painted on.
Their fashion sense is understated but elegant. Think “Scandinavian design” and you’ll get the picture
2) They get less sun.
Sun exposure is responsible for most of the visible aging of your skin.
And not just by a little bit, either. 80% — more than all other factors combined.
UV rays are responsible for most of the changes we hate: wrinkles, sun spots, pigmentation, changes in the texture of our skin, and loss of skin elasticity.
And that’s one reason those northern women have it so good.
These beautiful, youthful Scandinavian ladies get a lot less sun exposure at northern latitudes, and so their skin doesn’t suffer the sun damage of someone who bakes all day in the harsh Mediterranean glare.
That’s your second aging secret. Don’t bake yourself in the sun unless you want to look like an old boot.
3) They eat fatty fish.
Cold water fatty fish contain high levels of healthy Omega 3 fatty acids.
Those healthy oils are so important for maintaining youthful, glowing, more elastic skin.
And they bring other anti-aging benefits too, like balanced hormones, lower incidence of depression, reduced inflammation, and reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
How do you know when you’re not getting enough healthy Omega 3’s?
Your skin looks dry and flat. You might also experience itchy skin, eczema, or ugly skin infections.
Northern women get loads of Omega 3’s because they eat diets that are high in cold water fatty fish, and if you want to age like them, then you should eat like them too.
Salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines are all great choices. Add them to your diet 2 or 3 times a week.
4) They’re healthy on the inside.
Staying active and eating a nutrient-rich diet can help slow the aging process. And it can even stave off age-related diseases.
It’s especially important to choose organic when buying healthy anti-aging foods like apples, spinach, blueberries, grapes and green peppers (capsicum). These foods tend to absorb a lot of chemicals from non-organic farming, and those age-accelerating compounds get passed on to you.
Scandinavians are committed to organic foods, locally grown produce and bio products.
They care about the details of what they consume. And that health shines through on the outside too.
5) They believe in sustainable living.
Scandinavians are highly conscious of their home environment.
They go for carefully chosen items rather than clutter. And that uncluttered environment encourages peace of mind. Think serenity vs. chaos. Calm vs. constant stress.
They prefer natural materials like wood rather than chemical-oozing carpets and plastics.
They value simple things in life, like fresh air, a summer in the cottage by the lake, sharing traditional foods with friends and family.
And they care about conserving resources and protecting the environment for the next generation. Those values result in clean air and water, lower pollution, less household waste, and a healthier living environment in general.
It’s the total opposite of the Mediterranean island I lived on, with it’s traffic fumes, car-dependent lifestyle, pesticide-laden vegetables, and high stress “keeping up with the neighbours” way of living.
These natural northern beauties consume less, live simply, and walk and cycle more. They’re slim because of the choices they make, and not because they live at a gym.
6) They have an air of confidence.
They’re happy with who they are. They aren’t squeezing themselves into tiny dresses, trying desperately to attract the attention of men. That self-contained confidence is incredibly sexy.
But only part of that confidence comes from their appearance…
And this is the real secret to their post-40’s sex appeal.
A lot of it has to do with cultural differences, and how women are seen in northern societies.
You know that old saying, “French women don’t get fat”? Well, Scandinavian women are even better at aging.
It’s because they approach it differently.
I’ve got lots more to say about this — including secrets that will make you younger even if you aren’t blonde or Swedish. And I’ll tell you all about it on the Next Page.
But you’re probably wondering what happened to Muriel…
I found her later that night sobbing in a corner.
She was flirting outrageously with the bartender, until he said, “Goodnight, ma’am” and wandered off with a girl his own age.
Without external praise to prop her up, her “bombastic” self-esteem bled away faster than her running makeup.
As I walked out the door, I heard her begging her husband for plastic surgery. But I knew it wouldn’t make her any happier. And it wouldn’t change a thing.