Warmer weather is on the way and those extra few pounds of accumulated winter warmth need to go away. It’s still me beneath the extra insulation, but the small tummy pouch doesn’t really work with my summer outfits. As I age, I’ve come to understand and expect this cyclical process and with years of experience, learned to deal with it. Unfortunately, the older I grow, the more difficult it is to lose, so I thought I might share some of my own insights to possibly encourage others to keep up the good fight.
My number one personal health rule is to limit my sugar intake. Pick up an energy drink, fruit juice or other alternative “healthy” beverage and read the sugar content. It’s staggering. According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, a 12 oz. Cranberry Juice Cocktail contains a whopping 48 grams of sugar (12 teaspoons) and a typical 32 oz. convenience store fountain drink delivers 91 grams (almost 23 teaspoons) of the white-weight-waiting-to-happen–never mind the insulin shock to our poor out-of-shape bodies. Who could imagine eating 23 teaspoons of sugar in the time it takes to consume your next Big Gulp? Hopefully, no one. But consumers do it regularly in the guise of sugar water.
My second personal rule is to limit my total caloric intake. Our bodies are input-output machines. Burn less-consume less. Burn more-consume more. But the trick is to level out the intake with slower metabolizing foods. I’ve found this is easier than one might think. Simply said, consume foods in their most natural state possible. When it comes to food-processing, more is less and vice-versa. As a 57-year-old, 5’11” 150-pound woman, I can testify that it’s not so much any particular food group, but a broad selection of unprocessed foods that matters. I use color as an easy means of diversifying my intake of vital nutrients and complement a Mediterranean diet, rich in nuts and fruits, including avocados, with select veggies like asparagus, garlic, onion, etc. in cooking. I don’t eat a lot of green leafy veggies except on occasion, but whenever my body talks to me, I listen.
I’m a grazer, but I don’t know if that works for everyone. I’ve also learned the time to decide whether or not I’m going to indulge myself is at the grocery store. If I don’t buy it, I can’t eat it; that eliminates the “don’t waste money” excuse if it’s on my shelves, instead of theirs. And don’t forget a good supplemental vitamin regimen. I don’t take a multi, but I do take a B-complex, biotin, CoQ10 and coconut oil. Although I have no proof, I’m convinced the coconut oil is specifically helping me lose my little belly pouch. Go figure. But there are no silver bullets. It’s about making smart choices, for example, select Greek yogurt with the least sugar and add blueberries or other fruit at home; forget sugary cereals, buy bulk oat-based granolas; pass over the super-sweet 24g of sugar/serving soy milk and pick up a 9g/serving option instead.
Of course, the other component to weight-loss is burning those healthy food calories. I’m not an exercise nut, so don’t think I’m going there. Overall, I have a rather sedentary lifestyle, but I speedwalk regularly. That’s really all it takes… plus stretching, good posture and a positive attitude. So instead of parking as close to the door of the next business you’re visiting, park as far away as possible, especially on a beautiful sunny day and savor the walk. You might even hear some birds singing–if you’re lucky.
Lastly, I’ve learned that many people’s weight gain is a symptom of a larger problem, often due to emotional stress of some kind. Daily meditation, reflection or quiet time, whichever you prefer to call it, is a necessary component to healthy living. If there are unresolved issues disrupting your personal satisfaction in life, address them. If you are unable to resolve them on your own, seek professional help. There are resources available.
I don’t have a before-after pic because I’m tall and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference in the loss of a few pounds around my belly, anyway. But I can. Any my clothes know too. Thankfully, they don’t talk. So if you want to get into that next smaller size before the summer heat forces you to squeeze into something unnatural, give my personal weight-management plan a try. No gimmicks. No fad diet. Just common sense and an overall balanced approach to healthy living. Have fun this summer in your new swimsuit and remember, you’re beautiful.