Fat to Fit at 59

My quest to lose 50 pounds in 150 days. (Now that you know about it, I'm committed.)

Day 69—Senior Moments January 23, 2010

Alzheimer's? Or just Old Timers.

Sometimes I worry about being forgetful. What’s normal for my age, and what’s not?

Recently on a Good Morning America segment wit George Stephanopoulos, Dr. Oz said that the incidence of Alzheimer’s will triple in our lifetime, and we’ll all have—or know someone who has—the disease. He described it as power lines (our brain’s message system) that have been covered with sap, which inhibits their ability to transmit thoughts.

How can we prevent it? Some causes are hereditary, but some are influenced by lifestyle choices that can cut our chances for Alzheimer’s in half! He recommends eating a Mediterranean diet (olive oil, omega-3-rich fish and nuts, leafy green vegetables and berries), regular and vigorous exercise (there’s that brain/body connection again!), aspirin (anti-inflammatory), B-vitamins (which rebuild neuronal cables), and turmeric (a spice also referred to as curcumin). Note: The incidence of Alzheimer’s in India is just 1/4 of that in the U.S!

He also cited five warning signs that should serve as Alzheimer’s red flags:

1. (Your) memory loss is destructive to (your) life

2. (You) accuse people of stealing because really, (you) can’t remember where (you’ve) put something

3. (You) put things in unlikely or illogical places (eg: keys in the fridge)

4. (You) repeat questions over and over because (you) don’t remember asking or getting an answer

5. (You) make up new words for words (you) can’t remember

Do you like quizzes? Here are eight items. Read them once, then scroll this post so you can’t see them any more. Do something else, and after two minutes, try to recall the items. If you can remember 6-8 you’re a memory master. If you remember 4-5 your memory could use some work. And if you remember 3 or less, you have reason to worry:

House       Professor       Palm Tree       Teddy Bear      Beach       Pasta       Nun       Cigar

To listen to Dr. Oz’s segment, visit http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/HealthyLiving/dr-ozs-warning-signs-alzheimers-disease/story?id=9618672 .

‘Til tomorrow, stay confident and resolute! Now where did I put those earrings…?


Day 57—Potluck? Good Luck January 11, 2010

What tips can you add to the list below?

I attended a monthly potluck yesterday. Naturally, the thought occurred to me, How do I keep on track when there are sooooo many scrumptious offerings to choose from?

Here are 6 strategies for avoiding potluck remorse:

1. Pre-eat. Before you go, eat a small amount so you’re not ravenous as you walk the potluck line.

2. Be the Goody Two Shoes. Take a healthy dish. Vegetables and healthy side dishes are always in short supply at potlucks—but much appreciated by those of us who are watching our weight.

3. Avoid the choose blues. Select the healthy versions: a whole wheat roll instead of white; the brown rice dish instead of the white… You do have options. Exercise them.

4. Exercise portion control. When so many options clamor to be sampled, try taking smaller (start with half a spoonful) samplings. You can always go back for a larger helping of a favorite.

5. Take your time. Savor the conversation and eat your meal slowly so your brain can keep up with your belly and register “FULL” before you’ve consumed everything on your plate.

6. Un-friend the Clean Plate Club. Once and for all, admit to yourself that the starving children will not be saved if you finish everything you’ve taken. But you might be saved if you don’t.

Until tomorrow, stay confident and resolute! We can do this! And if you have tips to add, be sure to comment!  😉


Day 48—Spotting Age January 2, 2010

Our sun exposure before age 20 pretty much determines what our skin will look like in our 50s and beyond.

When I was a teen-ager, my childhood best friend Pam’s mother used to tell me I should be a hand model. I admit I was blessed with beautiful hands: smooth and blemish-free with long, rock-hard nails that never chipped or split.

I maintain that my mom’s genes are behind my (relatively, for my age) minimally wrinkled and non-age-revealing skin. (Thanks, Mom!)

But these days and despite my good genes, my hands reflect my decades of sun worship. Even at my age, I still relish a nap in the searing sun, slathered with suntan oil. (Aahhhhh…wake me when the street lights come on!)

The good thing is that age spots (also called liver spots or solar lentigo), don’t itch or hurt, and may fade with time. They’re caused, like scars, as a response to skin injury: sun exposure or thin skin. The spots consist of skin pigment that gathers to the injury site as the body’s natural protection system, and the pigment may disperse after a period of time, just like a scab decomposes and flakes off as a cut heals.

The bad thing is, if we’re damaging our skin and our genes predispose us to it, we can develop skin cancer in response to the damage we inflict on our skin.

So it’s probably a good idea to play it safe and use that sunscreen whenever we’ll be exposed to the sun for extended periods. And if you’re concerned about a particular age spot or mole on your skin, have your doctor check it out.

Here’s an easy-to-remember formula of signs that you should pay attention to: the A, B, C, D & Es of melanoma:

  • Asymmetry
  • Border irregularities
  • Colors or shades of skin that are different within the same mole
  • Diameter greater than 6 millimeters (larger than a pencil eraser)
  • Enlargement

Also look for bleeding, crusting or numbness in this skin area.

It’s time I start acting my age and being kinder to my skin.  😉  How skin-friendly are you?


Day 45—The Value Of Projects December 30, 2009

I'm giving this dog-eared book a long-overdue makeover.

The thing about projects is that they absorb your attention and keep you from thinking about …oh, I don’t know,  food??

Months ago, I got supplies (a binder and page protectors) to re-do my family-favorites recipe file. Initially, I’d typed them all out years ago for my kids as they left home and kept calling for this recipe or that. But I’d made the mistake of typing them into a recipe template that became obsolete when I replaced the computer it was on.

Anyhow, with all the honey-do tasks I’ve compiled (the honey, in this case, being me!), my recipe re-do sat untouched until yesterday. That’s when my friend and fellow writer/editor Juli sent me a recipe for my try-it-out list. (Do you detect a list-making tendency here??)

So yesterday, I got from Appetizers through Beverages, Breads, Breakfast Foods, Brownies, Cakes, Candies, Canning & Freezing, Casseroles and Cookies. I can guarantee you that even though I’m still in the book’s initial alphabetical categories, these are the most jam-packed categories in my book.  😉

What a mine field of enticement! And yet, I was so engrossed in the task that I didn’t even think about the sweet treats.

Does your to-do list contain a project that can distract you from your treat temptations?

Until tomorrow, stay confident and resolute!


Day 43–Return To Reality December 28, 2009

Time to back away from the buffet table and rein in the repast.

After a week’s diet-song of mainly kolachies, thumb prints, snicker doodles, fudge, truffles, mint and caramel chocolates,  huge hunks of prime roast beast, potatoes (at least four varieties), a delicious hot turkey-cranberry salad encased in wreath-shaped crescent roll dough, eggs, french toast and pancakes, I hear the sound of screeching brakes.

The sound is bittersweet. I looovvvve all those things–and some of them are even quite healthy–but I realize that I’ve WAAAYYY overshot my calorie budget for the week (or is that for the month?).

So here we are, now that I’m home: back into the comfortable, predictable groove of more-healthy eating and more-conscious food choices.

I started today off with cream of wheat, skim milk, OJ, and a slice of whole wheat toast with a light buttering. Now I need to work on jump-starting my exercise routine, and trying out the awesome monitor my kids gave me (When there are grandkids around to have fun with, it’s hard to think about hitting the exercise trail!)

So even though Christmas is wonderful, there’s something equally wonderful about getting back home and in control of my “program,” if you will.

Oh yes, the weight report? Yesterday I weighed in at 194, body fat 31.5% and body water 43%. Ouch. I feel it in my waistband. Now I’m off to the grocery to restock my fruits and veggies! Ta-ta for now…


Day 37—Road trip treats December 22, 2009

Believe it or not, my dad had one of these—in dead-body pink—when I was a kid.

Road trips are a weight-watcher’s mine field. Even though I love the down time, scenery and photo ops, driving is so mindless and—dare I say it? boring, I look for anything to fill the void. Usually that’s food. Food in the form of (I hear a song coming on…)

Chips and brown ice cream and burgers and chicken. Candy and soda and stuff finger-lickin’. These are a few of my favorite things…

Darn those gas station/convenience stores and fast food joints!

Well, really, darn me, eh!? ‘Cause as the poem Invictus says, “I am the captain of my ship. I am the master of my soul.” So true.

So here’s what I’m packing (read: planning ahead to combat impulse eating) to take along:

  • Bottled water (for me and for Finley)
  • Boxed raisins
  • Cheese sandwiches on little cocktail rye breads (festive!)
  • Fruit
  • OK, OK, some of the little chocolates I was gifted. A girl’s gotta celebrate!

What’s in your treat bag?

’Til tomorrow, stay confident and resolute! Happy road trippin’!


Day 36—(One Of) My Favorite Days December 21, 2009

December 21 is the second-happiest day of the year for me.

Yes, second-happiest. The happiest is June 21: the longest day of the year.

Why is December 21 the second-happiest day of the year? Because from today on, the days get longer by a little more than a minute a day. I say, WOO-HOO!!! Yes, that one calls for bold, italics AND capitals!

I love summer, no matter how hot. I love getting up with the sun before 5 am, and not heading into the house until 9 pm after a full day of work (OK, I’ll admit that an hour or so of napping in the sun would also be part of my ideal day!).

So from today forward, it’s “Summer, here I come!” Dontcha love it too?!?