28, 19 and 12 – Three Magic Numbers

The not-to-be-dreaded birthday
The not-to-be-dreaded birthday

“Happy birthday!”

(Yay, I’m now 28. Closer to adulthood).

It’s not that big of a deal. No, really. Why? Well, because while your chronological age (the year on your certificate) is overemphasized, don’t forget the other vital numbers – your metabolic age and mental age. Also, there’s that whole argument that you should celebrate getting older (and you should, because getting older normally means that you have more money and can book nice holidays and cruises and things).

But let’s get back to metabolic age and mental age. What is metabolic age? Unless you’ve worked in fitness and nutrition like me, and have delivered health assessments before, you probably don’t know. I’m here to tell you.

Metabolic age is a reflection of physical health – the age of your body on the inside. It’s based on the base metabolic rate (BMR). If someone’s metabolic age is lower than his or her actual age, e.g. my metabolic age of 12 is lower than my actual age of 28, it suggests that the body is in good health. A metabolic age that is higher than the actual age indicates that someone is not so healthy. Your metabolic age depends on your activity level, genetics, height, weight and actual age. You get your metabolic age when you compare your basal metabolic rate with the basal metabolic rate of your age group. Your BMR is a measurement of your body’s energy, or the minimum level of calories your body needs when it’s resting.

Now, I know all about metabolic age because when I was a Herbalife (nutrition company) distributor, I bought a magic scale for 200 dollars (although you can get cheaper ones off eBay). I remember telling my boyfriend at the time, Harley, about it. I said, “My metabolic age is 12.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means that the age of my body on the inside, is 12.”

He continued to scoff, as I continued to tell him the numbers – body fat percentage, physique rating, etc. When I took the Tanita scale out, he got excited.

“Put it down, put it down. I want to get on it!”

Someone should have warned me about how emotional people get when a square piece of metal and plastic shows a number.

Then 39, the scale said that his metabolic age was 33, not too bad. Four months later, I put him on the scale again. His metabolic age was higher this time, 37. He was indignant.

“This is b***s***!”

Ah, the good old days of delivering health assessments. An art I have not yet mastered. The good news is, if your metabolic age is not as low as you would like it to be, it CAN be lowered, through more exercise and a better diet. Ask any personal trainer. So don’t shoot the messenger. Breathe.

If you want a Tanita scale, you can get it off eBay. It is a worthwhile lifetime investment for those interested in monitoring their metabolic age and other health indicators.

Granted, the whole business of finding out your metabolic age is a bit serious. If you want a bit of fun, find out your mental age (then tell everyone).

What is mental age? Wikipedia says: ‘Mental age is a concept related to intelligence. It looks at how a specific child, at a specific age–usually today, now–performs intellectually, compared to average intellectual performance for that physical age, measured in years.’

But that’s not what I mean when I’m talking about mental age. I’m talking about mental maturity. You know, are you young at heart or are you wise beyond your years?

I was on holiday with a friend and we had a minor tiff in front of a souvenir shop receptionist. She blurted out loud, “God you act like a 2 year-old sometimes!”

On New Year’s Eve, my housemate, in a drunken, honest fit, said, “I reckon you never had a teenagehood.” On the other hand, I have been told that I am really grounded. So what’s the truth? I visited mymentalage.com and took the test.

The My Mental Age Test consists of 20 statements.
Answers are multiple choice.
Your first answer is your final answer.
Statements are selected at random.
5,354,211 people have now taken this test.
Nobody will see your answers – so be honest!

20 question statements later…

Results of the mental age test
Results of the mental age test

My friends, you can now use this number in arguments with me.

I am 28 (chronological age), 19 (mental age) and 12 (metabolic age), all at once. You’ve got three numbers too. Find out and tell me.


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