Friday, January 18, 2013

Healthy Retirement Part Two-Attempting to Get a Littie Bit Leaner!

The last time I talked about healthy retirement, it was primarily about moving and exercise. How that my cough is (mainly) gone and my energy is (mainly) a bit better, I've begun to increase my exercising-both walking and working with some weights and strength training. I've added a new group of exercises as those good spark people folks now have a series of seated exercises on Utube. More variety every day!

My second healthy goal is to lose some more weight.  I am probably not looking for "thinness" on this adventure, just a little less roundness.  Excess weight is very difficult to lose post menopause for women, and I have a certain body type.  Some of you reading  this blog don't have weight issues, and have probably never experienced weight issues. Some of you simply eat what you want most of the time and don't really worry about it. Some of you are athlete types who can pretty much burn off everything you eat. I admire both groups, only-then there is the rest of us. My late husband was a guy who literally ate anything he desired, regularly and often. He was six foot two and never over 130. He was not an athlete and never worked out. We often went out to expensive, rich dinners (he was the manager of a private club for some years), where I ate half of everything on my plate and he ate his and half of mine. I was shorter, walked more, and weighed half again as much. If you fall into either of the above groups, I admire and respect you. But you cannot feel my pain here.

My original goal was to lose 62 pounds between now and my 62nd birthday in September. Since then, I've adjusted for reality and set a goal of 35 pounds. If I lose more than that, it will be wonderful.It may be that I change that goal later on. However, life is meant to be lived and enjoyed at the time, and I am a true foodie. I also don't want to set up myself for failure (the lower my weight gets, the more difficult it becomes to lose weight).

How am I going to do it? As is often true, its as least as much about what I won't do.  This is what I did the last time I began, and I will at least start on this path again.
  • I'll move to all the low fat options available from salad dressing to mayo to sour cream-except for butter.  I'll limit butter and use spray when I can-but no fake butter, margarine or half butter half whatever!
  • I will NOT be using fake sugar. In the beginning last time I worked with Jenny Craig and this was a constant struggle with them. I'll cut way down on sugar, have limited sweets, and, limit myself to one mini soda a day (remember, I don't do coffee). But I will not use fake food in my diet. A teaspoon of real maple syrup vs a quarter cup of the fake stuff? No contest.
  • Before both lunch and dinner (even if it be a sandwich) I will be having either a full bowl of salad or else other leafy greens.  Occasionally I will also be having a low calorie soup as another course before meals.
  • I won't be giving up many foods, just measuring them.  Ill also be eating three snacks a day, including a sweet one in the evening. This is the one area that I do buy prefab food-its much easier to pop 100 calories of popcorn than figure out what one hundred calories of popcorn is.  It's also the only time I miss JC.  They had a package of two mini lemon cakes at 120 calories that  could be heated in the micro and were just YUM. I don't miss it enough to pay $400 for an annual membership and buy their food.
  • I occasionally eat a prepared diet meal at lunch at home. I'm not a sandwich girl and I don't do leftovers often (when my son is no longer raiding my fridge, I'm in trouble).
  • Finally, I allow myself to eat. I eat dessert at women's support group, I eat what is served at my quilting lunch events weekly. I participate in dinner groups. I have birthday cake and I go out to dinner. I enjoy food and I refuse to be one of those people who go out with friends and refuse everything offered or pick at my food.  I just don't do those things every day-and when I'm not eating those things, I follow the guidelines above.
My goal is to be more healthy first, as well as lose some weight.  My experience with my last weight loss tells me that my daily menus will go something like this, at least to start with:
  • Breakfast:  Weekdays I have oatmeal and fruit, whole grain frozen waffles, or one egg and one piece of toast-usually with orange juice.  I simply am unable to substitute an orange for the juice-but the juice is a small amount.  Weekends I cook large breakfasts (and don't eat lunches or snacks usually).
  • Lunch:  Lean Cuisine meals (usually the kind with just meat or fish and veggies), after a huge salad or a bowl of soup. Alternatively tuna salad and crackers or soup and crackers. Sometimes a half a sandwich and fruit.
  • Dinner:  two to three cups of salad or a  low calorie soup serving. Vegetables (unlimited), 1/3 cup of starch, generally lean meat or fish. I measure and have a scale.
  • Snacks:  popcorn, cheese and crackers, fruit and cheese, hundred calorie chips, 120 calorie sweet (which is the equivalent of 3 homemade slice and bakes)
  • Water (this is a constant struggle for me because I often don't FEEL thirsty if its not summer), a mini coke can once a day. No red wine at bedtime (oh, the pain!)
There you have it. For those who think in caloric terms, my goal is 300 calories at breakfast and lunch, four hundred for dinner and the balance in snacks or sides.I'll aim for a total of 1700 calories to begin. I won't be weighing myself daily, probably every couple weeks. I will be exercising daily, but only doing true aerobic activity thrice a week until the weather gets warm (I generally don't do indoor pools, although that may have to change if I end up in the cold cold north). In the warm half of the Texas year I am in the water for an hour a day.

And now, I'm off to bed to do more of that "catch up sleep" needed after an illness!  I will get up when I wake up, and it being Saturday, I may even go back to bed!


  1. Good luck and I hope you find the initial results help you go back to your initial goal. I would kindly suggest you rethink the sweet snacks as protein would probably help you more in your weight loss goal and help break the sugar habit. I admire your willingness to put this out there and make this commitment to your health and well being.

  2. Thanks Juhli-we'll see about my initial goal! As for the sweet snack I have honestly broken the sugar habit as much as I am willing-I have one small sweet with skim milk after dinner, and a mini coke in the morning instead of coffee. I'll never be able to completely get rid of sweets (the one thing I miss about Jenny Craig are their mini lemon cakes that you could heat in the microwave). I probably should add some protein to the other snacks but really I only get protein with my meals...

  3. I've been wondering about your food plan and appreciate this post. I've noticed that whenever I try eliminating things from my diet, sugar for example, it works for a time and then it doesn't work. So my best plan is to eat what I normally eat, only less. Seems that it's an individual thing and you have to figure out what works for you. Good luck and thanks for the inspiration.

  4. rgstarte, I agree everyone has to do what works for them. I will say that the large salads/leafy greens and the soup made a HUGE difference, as it cuts the hunger and your body doesnt store veggies once it takes the nutrients. Incresing so much fiber takes an adjustment in the beginning, though.

  5. Very inspiring! Thanks for posting your food plan. I hadn't thought of including sweets in mine and having the occasional premeasured one is more realistic than a ban entirely.

  6. A couple of suggestions:

    1. Have walnuts on your oatmeal, and spring for some steel-cut oats. The breakfast is healthy and will fill you up for hours.

    2. Cook up some lentils and have a cup or so of them a day. Very nutritious, filling, few calories.

    Good luck!

  7. Anon, thats something I learned from jenny craig. Its a amazing how much a small sweet (homebaked style) and skim milk help me make it throught he day.

  8. Linda, thanks, I normally have nothing on my oatmeal but it may help. Im really an egg girl but trying so hard not to be, lol. Ill check out the lentils-traditionally I am not a bean person except in minestrone and the like.

  9. Like you, I didn't give up many foods. I just have to be very particular with the portioning of food and make sure that I eat in moderation. You have great health goals! Good luck to you.


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