The 40 year health check – keeping the old girl running smooth

I turned 40 recently, as I may have mentioned once or twice before (three months ago is recently, right? Can I still be eating cake?). With all the lovely celebrations that went on, there was also a thought in the back of my mind about my health. Because, not only did I just turn 40, I also just finished breastfeeding my third and final baby (fingers and legs freaking crossed) and started training for the Gold Coast Half Marathon in July.

Although I run a lot, I am also a great fan of eating and drinking. And I eat pretty healthy food now, but I haven’t always. My twenties were spent on a diet of beer and hot chips, with barely any exercise to speak of. Am I paying for it now? Is my body about to fall apart?

It occurred to me this might be a good time to get a full check up and see where I’m at. Have you ever done this? I never have. Isn’t that terrible? Or is it? I don’t even know. But I took myself off to my lovely GP who introduced herself to me like we’ve never met before. (I’m one of those low maintenance patients that doctors only see when they’re dying or pregnant.)

So I got the full run-down. For the record, I want to say: do we really think pap smears are so bad? Honestly? I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Maybe it’s having babies that does it to you but my dignity is no longer any of my concern, and it’s not like it hurts. And I love the way all docs seem to have been trained to make the most inane small talk when they are wielding a speculum. What high schools are her kids going to go to? Like I give a shit. But silence would definitely be worse – and weird. Ooh, and maybe there would be squelchy noises I wouldn’t want to hear. Yeah, okay, high schools it is.

Then I got to have a breast exam. There are not many people on earth who have touched my boobs without buying me a drink first but she was very nice about it. And I found out that – because my father’s sister died from breast cancer when she was way too young – I should now be having a mammogram and an ultrasound every two years. Did you know mammograms are free for us once we hit 40? Ultrasounds aren’t but because our breast tissue is still young and dense (think Keanu Reeves circa 1992), it can be hard to detect everything with a mammogram so using both together is more reliable. If you have any family history – or if it’s something that concerns you – ask your GP about it.

And then I had a few vials of blood drawn to test my organ functions and cholesterol. I was hoping my doc didn’t see me flinch when she said she was going to check my liver. I think I held my breath for a full week but all came back A-okay-hooray! Let’s crack the bubbly to celebrate!

Next came the new phase in my training: a personal training studio. You may have seen me share on social media my new personal trainer informing me I’m the same age as his dad, which was a super-dooper start. But he redeemed himself with a full physical breakdown that included:

  • 140515 vital stats

Okay, so the mental age bit I just made up, but I was pretty pleased with the metabolic age being 35. That’s two babies and a whole lot of lost sleep ago for me. I loved 35! If you want to read more about how all those measurements work, check out the Tanita website.

So I am happily grateful for a body that is in good working order and allows me to do all the stuff I want to do. Now that I’m 40 – and have three tinies depending on me to stick around – keeping healthy seems to be suddenly more important than it ever has.

But I love to have goals and I am also unashamedly vain, so I will be working with my trainer on reducing my weight and body fat, and increasing my muscle mass so I can look as hawt as is possible for an old bugger. I know Catherine Deneuve says that after 40 a woman has to choose between her arse and her face, but fuck it, I want both. And I’m going down swinging!

Are you a health checker? Do you want to know all your statistics or would you rather not?

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


  • Go you! You’re totally killing it. I had a health check booked before we went to NZ, but I ended up having to use that appointment for my daughter at the last minute. I haven’t rebooked yet, but know I really need to.

  • You are my kind of woman, Carolyn! I too love to eat and drink but I’ve been really shit at getting the gym lately. This week I’ve turned a page and I hope to keep turning those pages in the weeks, months and years to come. Well – especially the weeks and months to come because I am a vain bitch who wants to look amazeballs for her 30th birthday!

    • Sonia, there is no way you won’t look amazing for your 30th – you gorgeous young minx, you! For the record, I tried to look good for my 30th and then found out I was pregnant a week before the big party. So I spent it looking pasty and feeling ill while everyone else drank my champagne. Hope your birthday is FAB! I wish we lived closer together. We need to hang out. xx

  • Great results. Still breastfeeding at the moment and have never had a mammagram (when should you start?) but planning on getting a major breast massage when I finish feeding soon (??). I’ve had a few when I had mastitis early on feeding baby #1 and it was amazingly effective and apparently it is really good for breaking down any dried milk or blocked milk ducts that may be left over to prevent lumps turning cancerous later on. Sounds good and proactive anyway doesn’t it 🙂

    • Oh wow, I’ve never heard of the breast massage but it sounds like a good idea. I imagine it feels pretty freaking weird (although I was milked by a midwife at the hospital once, so…). As for mammograms, they’re free from 40 but I don’t think they actually advise you to go for regulars until you’re 50 unless there are special reasons to do it.

  • Good on you! I must admit I clicked through because of the photo of drinking wine and health in the same instance – who wouldn’t?! 🙂 I say if you are happy with yourself who cares?! Eat, drink, exercise a little or a lot.

  • You are NOT 40! Really? You don’t look it! I hate all those checks. I do anything to avoid them. It’s irresponsible though so I eventually drag myself in.

    • …and you win comment of the week! Ha ha, thanks lovely. Yes, you should get checked. GO GET CHECKED! It doesn’t hurt and if there’s anything wrong with me, I want to jump on that sucker as early as possible. xx

  • You just reminded me that I did get the reminder my mammogram was due (it will be my third one, which makes me old). Congrats on that youthful metabolic age and if you feel that young then I say fantastic.

  • It’s good to give the old girl a roadworthy every now and then. I tried to book a mammogram not so long ago and was told not to bother yet (I’m 41) but I think it may be worth trying again. The vital stats are great. Mental age, yeah, I reckon a lot of us would say 17!

    • Oh totally – that’s when we all stall, I reckon. Maybe the mammogram thing is more pushed on those with a family history?? But they’re free after 40 so you have every right to ask for one and it can’t hurt, I reckon. xx

  • Oh I love the word jalopy!!! Hilarious. I’m due for a health check also,with 2 friends recently diagnosed with cancer (both my age and I’m only 31). Definetly nearing the age where considering and looking after our health is important x

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