Eat Well to Live Well
You've heard the phrase: Eat well to live well.
For many this conjures up images of eating foods that are good for you that you don’t like. Well, that has never really worked for me. I think the worst fad diet I ever tried was the hotdog diet of the 1980s. I don’t even like hot dogs!
Over the last nine months I’ve worked at taking off 25 pounds. Slow and steady was the route I chose and that has worked for me. No particular reason that I had to take off the weight - I had just tipped over the top of the healthy zone for my height and decided to work at getting back towards the middle of a healthy weight range.
I am NOT going to share some pop “diet” that helped me get the weight off, because that’s not how it worked for me. I need something sustainable that I can maintain for a long time – indeed, forever. This time around (yes, I’ve lost that 25 pounds several times before!), I chose to NOT eliminate anything from my diet.
Everyone needs a healthy amount of macronutrients in their diet. That’s proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Each day should include fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy (lactose free or fortified if needed).
The other area I paid more attention to was portion size. I was eating like I did in my early 40s when I was running 50-80 miles a week. Well, guess what? I’m 58 and I don’t run anymore. I just don’t need the same amount of calories to keep my body working like it should.
In fact, it’s not your imagination - as we age our metabolism does slow down. Your metabolism is the amount of energy your body needs to maintain itself – to keep your organs going all day long. So practically speaking this is why my husband and I can share a main course when we go out to eat and be perfectly full.
The other pro tip that helped me out this time around was paying attention to when I was hungry and when I was full. Many of us eat because the clock, or our work, or family schedule tells us to eat. This is where mindful eating can come into play.
Mindful eating involves eating more slowly and without distraction. This allows you to focus in on the natural cues from your body telling you when you are actually hungry or full. It can also involve actually appreciating your food and enjoying the process, or experience, of eating.
I will say, this time of life for us makes it easier to do that. For the last several years my husband has gotten me a subscription to NY Times Cooking. Each week we try one or two new recipes, or favorites that we’ve saved. We try to appreciate the process of cooking together as well as eating together, while enjoying the sensory experience. That’s mindfulness.
My favorite food group is NOT listed on the choosemyplate.gov website. It’s the dessert group. Well, as I said, I have not eliminated anything from my diet, but I have changed how I eat. I have wayyyyy fewer desserts than I used to and I only have ones that I really think I will like.
So, “eat well to live well” doesn’t mean eating foods that you don’t like. Stop doing that! Enjoy eating well. All it takes is a little practice and you will find the right balance.