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Featured Women

Featured Women: Barbara Grufferman

Barbara Grufferman is the creator of the popular website Best of Everything After 50. Her franchise has expanded far beyond her original blog to include a best-selling book called, appropriately, The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money and More, a YouTube series, and weekly columns on the Huffington Post and AARP. She also has appeared on The Today Show, The Early Show and Good Morning America Health, to name a few, and is a regular guest on numerous radio and internet programs, including NPR, Dr. Oz Sirius Radio on the Oprah Channel, and Sirius Doctor Radio. She travels around the country, speaking to groups about health, nutrition, career, fitness, sex and many other topics related to positive and healthy aging.

Grufferman is also a recipient of the Generations of Strength Award from the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the country’s leading authority and resource on osteoporosis and low bone density, for her outspoken support of positive and healthy aging in America. She is also NOF’s first Ambassador for Bone Health.

Clearly, Barbara Grufferman is a PRiME Woman in thought, word and deed. We caught up with her by phone to talk about what prompted her to change her life when she turned 50 and how her thoughts are evolving as she approaches 60.

“When I turned 50, my concern was mostly about, ‘Oh, no! What does this mean?’,” she says. “I wasn’t afraid of aging; I was confused by aging.” Grufferman ticks off her list of worries at the time: Was her hair too long for her age? Could she still wear jeans, or would it be a fashion faux pas?

And, Grufferman was post-menopausal. “I had put on the post-menopause 15 pounds and counting,” she says. “I had all that going on. My hair and skin were getting dry. Everything else was getting dry.”

She decided to do something about it. Grufferman reached out to a variety of experts in areas such as sex, fashion, makeup and health, and began to change her lifestyle habits and write about it so that other mid-life women could benefit as well. The result was her best-selling book, The Best of Everything after 50.

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A former magazine publisher and CEO, Grufferman launched her book on The Today Show with Ann Curry. Certainly, that exposure helped push her book and website onto the national consciousness. But Grufferman has another theory about why she thinks The Best of Everything after 50 has done so well. “I had a clear message: positive aging. It was embrace your age,” she says. “This is what got people listening to me.

“I also made it clear that you want to take control of your health and well-being, first and foremost,” she adds. “Fashion will come after that. It’s one dot connecting to another dot. If you eat well, work out and take care of your skin — you will actually look younger, but that’s not the goal. It’s just a nice side benefit.”

Now, on the cusp of 60, Grufferman is recalibrating her approach. Her children are out of the house, her mother is aging and can no longer live alone — priorities are shifting once again. “Now that I’m about to turn 60, I know the workout, I know the fitness plan. I have that down pat. Sure, there will be changes. Our bodies are in constant evolution and I will have to adjust here and there, but how I learned to care for myself I will carry forward with me. I feel equipped to move ahead.”

Now, it’s time to focus again on others — her aging mother, her family and her community. “I’m not saying I’m putting me last again,” she says, “but I know that I feel I spent time taking care of me and I’m ready once again to take care of others in way they need to be taken care of.”

“My experience now that I’m almost 60 went by truly in a blink of an eye,” Grufferman continues. “You have different milestones. My whole message is consistently the same — embrace your age. Celebrate who you are right now. Yes, cherish your younger self but love who you are right now. Get yourself even more prepared if you need to (work out) and get ready for the future. If you want to live a vital life and be engaged in your world and be there for others….there are steps we need to take.

“We can’t control getting older, but we can control how we do it. Every day we make a choice. Do I do those push-ups or not? As we get older these choices become even more powerful and meaningful.”

Barbara Grufferman is exploring some of these ideas in her new book, due to be published by National Geographic in 2017. While it is currently untitled, the focus, Grufferman says, will be positive aging. It will include the most up-to-date science on how to feel your best as you age. The book will include everything from happiness and brain health to sleeping to working, Grufferman says.

“You may or may not live longer after reading my book,” Grufferman says. “A lot of this is genetics. But, for sure, your life will be healthier, fitter, I dare say better, if you adhere to the simple things being suggested.”

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Barbara Grufferman’s top five tips for women wanting the best of everything after 50:

  1. Move your body every day. It’s so simple. Walk if you can’t run. I walk/run so I don’t hurt my knees. Move 10,000 steps or more. Sitting is now the new smoking, and we’re sitting more and more. Every 20 minutes, get up and walk around for about two minutes. That can shift the damage done by sitting every day.
  2. Get the word “diet” out of your vocabulary. I never diet, but I eat really, really well. I swapped all the white stuff for the healthier version; white rice is now brown, sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. Cut back on portions. America eats more than we need. Even what we view as ‘normal’ portions are not. Fill your plate with veggies and legumes, and a palm-sized protein portion. Eat fewer carbohydrates and you’ll be good to go.
  3. Pay attention to bone mass. Estrogen is the culprit behind everything. When we lose estrogen, we lose bone mass. This is critical. You don’t want to succumb to osteoporosis. The stats are depressing—when a woman breaks a hip, she lands in the hospital. It’s not a good scenario. Over 54 million men and women have osteoporosis. Half of all women will break a bone due to osteoporosis. [To help maintain bone mass] for your lower body, spend time jumping. Do it every day for a few minutes. For your upper body, do 20 pushups. Even doing modified push-ups is good. If you want to lift weights, that’s fine, but you can do push-ups anywhere. Make sure you know your Vitamin D level; it should be 34 or over. Most of us have to supplement. I take 5,000 units a day. Your body can’t absorb calcium without D.
  4. Help your skin out. When I was growing up in Brooklyn, I used to slather on baby oil with iodine and use a reflector. I did that for a long time. So of course I have skin damage and have had surgery for skin cancer. Now I wear SPF every day, rain or shine, 365 days a year. The sun is the number one culprit for wrinkles and brown spots. Protect your skin. Exfoliate it. Help your skin out a bit. I use white sugar. It’s better on your body than in it. Exfoliate your face and body with it.
  5. My guiding light in life: Embrace your age. If you don’t embrace your age, you’ll be fighting your age. You’ll be fighting who you are now. You’ll be pining for your younger self instead of embracing the self you are now and looking forward to your future self.

More Women that Inspire Us:

Women Who Inspire: Lyn Slater, Accidental Icon

Day in the Life: Model Yazmeenah Rossi 

Women Who Inspire: Actress and Author Lisa Oz

Women Who Inspire: Model Gillean McLeod

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