I look better in a bikini at 76 than I did at 40!

After visiting her doctor, Carolyn Hartz from Perth, WA made some lifestyle changes for the better.
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Sitting across from the doctor, I was relieved.

I’d been experiencing dizzy spells, exhaustion and terrible moods.

Aged 40, I had three kids under 10, and I wanted to be the best mum to them, and wife to my husband, Clive.

After lots of back and 
forth with doctors looking 
for an answer, one had recommended a glucose tolerance test.

And now, the results were surprising.

I wasn’t overweight, but I was hypoglycaemic and pre-diabetic.

People are often surprised when I tell them my age. (Image: Supplied)

The doctor asked me to list the foods I ate over a day.

“Some days I’ll demolish half a Sara Lee cheesecake for breakfast and a packet of biscuits in the afternoon,” I confessed. “Chocolate is my weakness. I can eat an entire block before coming to my senses.”

Saying it out loud, a terrible thought entered my mind: I’m a sugar addict.

I discovered the benefit of adding more protein, which helped keep me fuller longer.

A small amount of fresh fruit helped with sweet cravings.

I was once a self-confessed sugar addict. (Image: supplied)

Months later, tests showed steady blood sugar.

My energy had returned, and I was exercising.

A year on, I embraced a more moderate approach.

I would have two squares of dark chocolate every day and when I went out for a meal I’d have half a glass of wine or strawberries and fresh cream for dessert.

Then, aged 53, I was in the US with Clive, a property developer, for a business trip.

By chance, I found myself chatting with a woman who introduced me to a natural, sugar-free alternative – Xylitol.

“You can bake with it and enjoy the foods you love,” she said, offering me a few sachets to try.

Back home, I made lamingtons, cheesecakes, chocolate mousse and ice- cream. They were delicious!

Me with my husband Clive. (Image: Supplied)

Eighteen months later, in 2002, I brought a small shipment to Australia.

From there, I built my business SweetLife to distribute Xylitol across the country and share recipes and healthy living tips.

I hadn’t worked for 25 years as I’d been a stay-at-home mum, but I taught myself to use a computer, spent three years taking business classes at night and began doing 90-hour weeks.

SweetLife is now in its 22nd year and is a big success.

I’ve had the opportunity to speak to thousands about transforming my health and help them with theirs.

“The healthier and fitter you are, the more you’ll enjoy life,” I tell them.

I did some modelling in my 30s. (Image: supplied)

Today, I’m 76, a grandmother of four, and I’m very fit, thanks to tennis, yoga and weekly Pilates.

And I’m as happy to wear a bikini on Perth’s Cottesloe Beach as I was 40 years ago.

People are always surprised when I tell them my age.

If they ask how I stay looking so youthful, I say I’ve been sugar free for 35 years.

This year, Clive and I will celebrate 50 years of marriage – and I can credit part of its longevity to my commitment to being the best I can be.

Age is just a number, but AGE is also my mantra for living: A is for attitude, G is for gratitude, and E is for ‘ego-tude’.

I made the last word up, but we all need a little healthy ego, it’s what drives us to be our best!

‘Honestly’ Sugar Free Baking is available now at

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