I only made one resolution this year and I know it's a cliche but here it is: I've got to get back to healthy eating habits and drop some weight. I had lost about 20 lbs. last spring but then I put it back on after my surgery, when I started feeling a lot better.
Losing weight used to be easier. Now that I am over fifty, however, it's a different ballgame. I can't diet like I am 25 and work out like a fiend every day and watch the weight drop off.
No, what I have learned in recent years is that the changes that last need to be made gradually. Eating everything I want one day and a very strict program the next day just doesn't work. I feel deprived and then I start to obsess over food, and next thing I know I'm reaching for chocolate.
Years ago when I quit smoking I had to find substitutes for cigarettes, even though I had gradually cut down over a period of years - from 2 packs a day of regulars to 1/2 a pack a day of ultra lights. The day came when I had terrible bronchitis and I had been getting it over and over, and I was tired of being sick all the time. I was exhausted from coughing, and every time I took a drag off a cigarette I started coughing. So that day I bought several packs of gum, and a bag of baby carrots, and every time I wanted a cigarette I either had gum or a carrot. I also started sitting in a different chair when I watched TV. I drove with the windows shut. When I was on the phone I sat in a different spot. I made all those changes so I would get in the non-smoking habit. The first 3 days were really surreal. I was NOT happy. Then again, my coughing lessened tremendously and I finally began to get really well.
For months afterward, I dreamed about smoking. I never went back to it, though. Nothing in the world could induce me to take that up again.
The problem with food is you cannot cut it out of your life. You have to eat. So it's a tougher proposition, breaking those habits.
The thing I have learned over decades of dieting is that if one can cut out refined sugar it really helps. One way most people get a lot of un-needed sugar in their diets is through beverages. I cut out sodas years ago, and although fruit juice tempts me I try not to ever drink it because it's so high in sugar. Now I drink only water and one cup of tea in the morning. I put about a teaspoon of honey in my tea. The rest of the day I drink water. No alcohol - it turns to sugar in your body.
Cutting down to mostly lean meats and veggies, and a little fruit, really speeds up weight loss. If I can cut out potatoes, bread, rice -- basically all starchy stuff like that, it really helps. Those starches just turn to sugar in your body.
But back to my original premise - gradual changes. I stopped buying potato chips a while back. Mother loves them but she's having dental issues right now so she can't eat them, which is just as well because they aren't good for her anyway. Now Michael loves potato chips but he doesn't eat them often.
For breakfast, I usually eat two eggs, scrambled or over easy, and a cup of tea. Late in the morning, a banana. For lunch, instead of bread or potatoes, I am trying to saute some fresh spinach or cabbage in a little olive oil, along with some turkey or chicken. Around 4, I eat a snack. Trying to just eat some almonds and dried fruit. Dinner is a piece of meat and a veggie. Right before bed I eat some Greek yogurt. I do keep Nature Valley chewy protein bars on hand in case I get to feeling empty, but they are low sugar. Hopefully, over time, I can cut out what few processed foods I do eat because I know that it's better to eliminate that stuff.
I am still working on refining what I eat. I also need to walk Lola more.
How I talk to myself makes a huge difference, though. If I cheat a little and eat one Hershey's chocolate kiss I don't beat myself up about it. If I eat a few of Michael's potato chips I don't beat myself up. The first couple of weeks have to be a gradual weaning away from the unhealthy foods, and your body has to adjust. More importantly, YOU have to adjust your attitude towards food, which is the hardest part about it all.
The biggest thing I keep reminding myself of, to motivate myself, is really simple: If I eat good I feel good. Eat bad = feel bad. Ungrammatical but powerful motivation. The more fruits and veggies I eat, the better I feel.
My worst weakness is my sweet tooth. I have found a great substitute for candy and unhealthy stuff -- see image below. Don't laugh. These are the sweetest things ever, and eating one satisfies my cravings. I highly recommend them.
The focus of the past week has been a car for Michael. We finally got in the insurance money and I found a Buick in Marietta that we felt was a good deal. The buyer brought the car to us, which was a blessing. So now Michael is back in a 2003 Buick LeSabre, pretty similar to the one he had before. It's a great car for him because so much of the controls (radio, heat/air) etc. are on the steering wheel, so easier for him to manage with the left hand.
I am reading Boys in the Trees, Carly Simon's autobiography. She writes really well. She grew up wealthy. Her dad was the "Simon" of Simon and Schuster. Her mom was quite a character, having an affair with her son's male babysitter for years, even moving him into the house. Carly suffered from anxiety and stuttering as a young girl, but the singing helped the stuttering. It's fascinating how her music has sort of been a backdrop to my life, over the years. I was in elementary school when "You're So Vain" came out but I could sing it word for word, and all my friends could, too. When "Mockingbird" came out, the duet with James Taylor, that was great fun to harmonize to; I think I was in high school. I haven't gotten to the part where she is married to James Taylor but I've read some reviews. Apparently he was serially unfaithful and a heroin addict during their marriage, so no wonder it didn't work out. I love his music though; always have. I hope after I finish the book it doesn't cause me to not want to hear his music any more.
Sometimes I get so disgusted with an actor or musician I just don't want to see any of their work..
Many of her later songs were sort of the backdrop to my life, like "You Belong to Me" and "Haven't Got Time for the Pain." The song "Let the River Run" came out just around the time I started grad school and it made me feel powerful. I had a cassette of one of her albums and I used to play it in the car so much I finally wore it out.
The video below is so much fun to watch, despite everything, because you can see they are having a great time and the harmonies are amazing: