Thanksgiving week is here, the beginning of the holiday season, the parties, the overindulging of calories – or maybe not! At a certain age you learn that if you want to be in your best shape, you must make wise choices all the time, not just ‘in the new year’.
The photos in this post were taken in early November, so two months shy of my 61st birthday…still wearing a bikini, and proud that I have actually maintained my weight and fitness since a year ago. Believe me, not without effort. Good genes and good health I am grateful for, but there is a lot more that contributes to staying in shape after 60…over the years I have tried everything from Zumba to Soul Cycle, dry January to a high protein/low carb diet, always open to learning a new way to fitness that’s effective without significant torture! Here is my current regimen:
- Exercise 5-6 times a week, faithfully. It’s a habit, done without second thought. Whether I am at home or away on business, I hit the gym at 5:30am and am finished in 45 minutes. While I am open to classes, at the present I do NO Spin class (hate it), NO Zumba (not offered early enough). Half of my workout consists of doing floor exercises such as squats, crunches, then lifting weights (shoulders, biceps, triceps, back)…the other half is aerobic, on either an exercise bike or an elliptical machine – using headphones tuned into ‘Shakira’ on Pandora. (Haha, pretending I’m in Zumba). I am often inspired by those around me at the gym to try something new…my newest exercise is doing 10 jumps as fast as possible on/off a two foot ‘bench’ – then repeat. Gets your heart pumping for sure and is also good for balance.
- Eat less, drink less. Especially after 60, it is important to make healthy eating a habit of your life, not a temporary diet. And yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. I have made a few changes even in the past few months that have definitely made a difference for me – in how I feel, in how my clothes fit. One big one – no surprise – is cutting way back on sugar. Not that I indulged much before, but now, during the day, no piece of dark chocolate, no fireball candy, no small cookie, natta – sugarless gum or a couple of tic tacs – that’s it. After dinner, on occasion, a ‘kiddie portion’ of ice cream is my indulgence. Another change is cutting way back on wine. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you love your wine…well, a vodka and club soda has less carbs and you are less likely to have multiple refills, and consume more calories. You will also sleep better. The final change of late: minimum carbs – no Stacy’s chips, no carb of any type at lunch (no grain bowls), never bread at dinner – even in restaurants that serve it delightfully warm. Fruit on a limited basis and no sugared yogurt. Munchies are raw veggies with hummus, apple slices, occasionally popcorn. No more kettle corn. The part that really makes this effective is making it a way of life. On vacation I may have a few french fries, or share a piece of pastry at breakfast, but certain things are always off limits by choice. (i.e. no Pina Coladas!)
Does it sound too restrictive to you? It doesn’t feel it to me and I’ll tell you why – whenever possible, I make sure that I enjoy every meal! No prepackaged salads with dry, cold chicken for me – I will go out of my way to get freshly grilled fish or chicken for lunch, and it’s fine skipping the warm bread at dinner as long as I have my Grey Goose. 😉 It does cost more to eat this way, but aren’t you worth it? It is an investment in YOU, your health, and the one body God gave you.
The Bottom Line:
- We can’t control everything in our lives, and we all face different challenges. Take advantage of the things you CAN control: exercise and diet.
- Looking good is more enjoyable than eating a piece of cake.
- The feel of loose fitting jeans is more enjoyable than drinking a ‘Pina Colada’.
- Age alone is not an obstacle to staying in shape.
- Eating a high protein, low carb diet can be delicious if you make the extra effort.
Make wise choices EVERY DAY, including during the holiday season!
Happy Thanksgiving to all!