There probably is no proof to this but I bet if there was a nationwide closet inventory, the results would show that most of us have a lot of clothes but only a few that fit us. There are those old jeans that are now two sizes too small, but well within our goal. Then there are our “fat” clothes we have for those times we hit that awful point. And then there are our current clothes that fit.
We live in a crazy world in relation to food. There is this strange American tradition of eating to excess with pride and engaging diet companies and fads to keep us slim. We eat a double cheeseburger with fries but drink a diet soda. NEITHER is good for you! Sometimes we really aren’t sure at all what is good for us. Yesterday it was red meat and sugar and dairy and eggs and fats and, well, you get the picture. This morning they suggested drinking coffee is GOOD FOR YOU. What is a person to do?
Whatever the concern, we are 100% certain that maintaining a healthy weight is important. Especially for seniors. As we age, our metabolism starts to slow down and our muscles begin to atrophy which is a very normal part of aging. Fat begins to replace muscle which in turn results in disease. The key is to avoid obesity and maintain a healthy weight. Some thoughts to consider:
- Early in life, there is a lot of concern about calorie intake as a form of weight management. Most American’s eat more high caloric meals than necessary as a result of our busy lives. Fast food and large portions are the norm. For seniors, generally our appetite is less and so as we eat less, it becomes critical that we focus on eating nutrient packed foods. The emphasis is on quality, not quantity.
- Many of us seniors are already overweight and struggle with health issues. Now is certainly not the time to jump into a diet fad but it IS the time to do two things. One, make sure you are eating healthy foods that are nutrient packed and avoid the doughnuts. Two, exercise. We are not taking about joining a gym or a jogging group but suggesting that you exercise just a bit more than you did yesterday. A walk that lasts two blocks longer, an extra lap at the pool either walking or swimming in water. Just more exercise.
- How many times have you heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Speeding up metabolism is an important factor in losing weight. High fiber cereals with milk and fruit achieve that goal. You will maintain a healthier weight with this simple trick and you won’t even know it.
- Avoid the soft drinks and sweetened fruit juices. Sweetened creamers added to coffee are also a culprit. By avoiding those things, you can lose 10-15 pounds a year just by drinking healthier liquids. And your teeth will stay healthier too.
- Avoid monotony. As we age, most of us tend to fall into food ruts with velvet linings that keep us fed, but not necessarily the healthiest. If you can cook for yourself, talk with neighbors about creating a food club. Each month, you prepare four servings of your favorite food. Your three other friends do the same. Then you each share and you end up with a variety of meals that are readily accessible and out of your normal range of cooking. It becomes not only healthy but fun.
Again, stay active with friends and family as much as possible. Isolation is a difficult thing and creates many problems in and of itself. Food is comfort for most of us. We all have that ONE food that makes us better … ice cream, chocolate, potatoes, a pound of bacon. Find comfort in having friends and family over a Caesar Salad instead of high calorie, low nutrient foods!