OK, here’s the deal.
The last part of last year — to include the holiday season — I let my healthy eating habits slide a little bit. OK, I let my healthy eating habits slide a lot.
Truth be told, I pretty much ate like a garbage disposal.
Man, it was good, too – big turkey dinner with ALL the fixings, cake and pie for Thanksgiving; huge spread of homemade Mexican food for Christmas — but guess what?
I paid the price.
The actual holidays were not the only days I pigged out in November and December, and by the time mid- to late-January rolled around, I had put on about 15 pounds, and not an ounce of that was muscle. Those 34-waist jeans that had been falling down without a belt are now fitting nice and snug, like they did when I first traded in my 36-waist jeans for a smaller size.
Now, being a fitness professional, it would seem that the solution would be easy. Get back on track with the ol’ diet, step up the ol’ workouts a little bit, and voila! Drop those nasty holiday pounds and get back to normal fighting trim.
Back in my younger days, that is exactly what would happen. A couple decades ago, I could decide to lose some weight and lose it.
Now, at age 65, not so easy.
It can be really frustrating to do all the right things – eat healthy, get some good exercise, drink lots of water – and watch as nothing happens when you climb on the scales. Makes you want to just throw in the towel and say, screw it, let me have a double bacon cheeseburger, large fries, and a big vanilla malt.
I know how frustrating it can be because I have been there. Shoot, I am there right now!
In five months, I will be heading to Pittsburgh to compete in the National Senior Games, and I absolutely do not want to go up there in the shape I am in right now. So what is it going to take?
Keep doing the right things. Stick with it. Be consistent.
The biggest thing for maintaining a healthy weight is diet. Exercise is important, too, but diet is the key.
That does not mean starving yourself. That is not what diet means. In fact, instead of using the dreaded four-letter word diet, substitute the word nutrition. Sounds a whole lot better, doesn’t it?
Improving your nutrition does not mean you have to make wholesale changes and give up all the foods you love. That is nothing but a recipe for failure.
A better approach is to change one or two things at a time.
Start with one thing you know for sure you should cut out of your regular “diet.” Get used to that for a while, and then eliminate something else. Keep it simple and the chances for long-term success are a lot better.
Here are a few suggestions for some small changes:
Use mustard instead of mayonnaise. Lot fewer calories in mustard.
Water instead of soft drinks. This one is fairly obvious. I know, I know, water is boring. How about some sparkling water with lemon? Maybe some of those flavored sparkling waters?
Fresh fruit instead of dried fruit. This one kinda surprised me a little, I have to admit. I like to put craisins in my oatmeal. I didn’t realize how much sugar those things have. I still put some in there this morning — just not as many.
Frozen protein smoothies instead of ice cream. I’ve started doing this one a while back. I still have some good ol’ ice cream once in a while, but mostly I stick with the smoothie concoctions.
Regular oatmeal instead of the flavored packages. The one-minute oats is easy to fix, and you can jazz it up with a little butter, some honey, and some fruit.
So there ya go.
Small changes to improve your diet.
John Clark is a Herald correspondent and regular contributor for the Copperas Cove Herald.
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