As we enter our senior years, we are more prone to putting on the extra pounds. This can be explained by the fact that as we grow older, our metabolic rate goes down, especially while resting. When this occurs we will burn fewer calories. We also tend to eat the wrong foods and larger amounts of these foods. This plus our sedentary lifestyle, more seniors are leading, easily leads to this weight gain. Roughly translated, this means that we are burning fewer calories, while increasing our calorie intake. Coupled with the fact that we have the need to eat more, simply because we are being exposed to more food with larger portions, rapidly increase our weight problems, at a greater rate than ever before.
Eating out more is a source for gaining weight, simply because the portions of food served have become overpowering, and much too much to promote a healthy diet, calorie-wise. Going to restaurants that serve foods in smaller portions, usually will be shunned by many patrons. Eating out can be a challenge for some individuals in choosing the proper foods to eat.
Managing your weight problems will entail many lifestyle changes. First and foremost you have to be “MOTIVATED”. Your motivation to change your lifestyle is a number one priority. Ask yourself; do you want to feel better? Do you want to look better? Do you promise that you will watch your diet and reduce the amount of food you eat? Will you promise to try to reduce the stressful things in your life, the stresses that contribute to your eating more? And first and foremost, do you promise to start an exercise program, and stick to it?
Now, having made these promises to your-self, your next step is seeing your healthcare provider for a physical. Discuss with him/her what exercise program you should or shouldn’t do. You should then find an exercise program that you will feel comfortable with. Remember, most people starting an exercise program will stop before a month. Going to a gym may prove to be a hassle for some. I recommend an exercise program that can be done at home. One that will give you a total body workout and not take too much of your time. This type of program will basically ensure that will be more apt to stick with it. Also be sure to see your dentist. Dental hygiene is of the utmost importance. Any problems that can interfere with chewing your food properly will cause improper absorption of your food.
Read in the health hints below how you can start these lifestyle changes that will help you lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, and lead a more healthful and vigorous lifestyle.
- Healthy eating with good digestion will allow the body to get all the needed nutrients and allow the body to absorb these nutrients. Starting with your diet, eat only foods that are high in water content. Such foods are fruits and vegetables. Vegetables especially when eaten raw are higher in water content than those that are cooked.
- Do not eat three large meals a day, but opt to eat five smaller meals.
- Do not skip breakfast. Start the day by eating a hearty breakfast. Skipping breakfast will encourage eating larger meals and snacking more between meals. Breakfast should consist of whole grain cereals; such as Grape Nuts and bite size Shredded Wheat’n Bran. To your cereal, add fruit, such as, strawberries, blueberries or bananas. Also add some raisins.
- Be sure to read the labels of the foods to determine the cholesterol, sugar, sodium and calorie content.
- Types of foods we eat will also determine how healthy the diet will be. Foods that contain trans-fats are a definite no-no. Red meats can be eaten once a week. Pick the meats that are not marbled with fat, and should be trimmed of all fat.
- Do not fry your foods, nor should you buy foods that have been prepared by deep-frying.
- Do not eat refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, white rice and potatoes. Opt instead for 100% whole wheat breads, brown rice and whole-wheat pastas. Eating refined carbohydrates causes a much quicker digestion of the foods eaten and will send glucose (natural sugar) into your bloodstream, causing your pancreas to release insulin to absorb the sugar. The sudden drop in sugar caused by the insulin, will cause you to become hungry again.
- Food portions are of the next concern. A portion of fish, meat or poultry should be no larger than can fit on the palm of your hand. A portion of fruits and vegetables is the size of a cup.
- The number of calories eaten and the number of calories used will determine if you are gaining, losing or maintaining your weight. The calorie counter below will give you a guesstimate of the calories you could consume. Basically eating more calories and not exercising will guarantee that you will gain weight.
Calorie Intake Calculation
Wt. X 12
Wt. X 13
Wt. X 13
Wt. X 14
Wt. X 14
Wt. X 15.25
Moderate to Heavy Activities…
Wt. X 15
Wt. X 16.5
Wt. X 16
Wt. X 18
After controlling your dietary intake, you must then find an exercise program that suits you. This program should be easy and convenient to do, or you won’t stick with it, guaranteed. This is where motivation is of the utmost importance. Before starting any exercise program, discuss the status of your health with your healthcare provider so that he/she will approve your starting an exercise program. Your exercise program should be a non-impact, total bodywork out that can be conveniently performed in the home. I recommend it be performed on a daily basis.
You should not depend on your exercise program alone. You must make it your business to become more active in your daily activities. The key words are, “Keep Moving”! Do not depend on driving when you can conveniently walk to close by destination. Try to walk steps wherever possible. Take long walks. Ride a bicycle when you can. Go swimming when possible. Do not sit all day long. Do not use the remote for your television. Change channels manually. Remember, every movement counts towards your calorie consumption.