Senior Stories

If God Wanted Me to Touch My Toes, She Would Have Put Them on My Knees

It’s January again, and my wife and I are embarking on a program that’s supposed to make us look and feel 30 years younger.

I try to remember 30 years ago, and can’t seem to find any reason to want to return. I remember back then being afraid that I’d never find the perfect mate with whom to grow old, afraid that I’d never find a business where I wouldn’t have to deal with morons on a daily basis. And I was especially afraid that I would never find peace of mind and happiness.

But you know what? I did. I did. And I did.

So today, as I realize that I have survived long enough to be Suddenly Senior – and happy too – I also know that I could stand to lose a bit of the roll that has mysteriously appeared around my waist.

Carolyn has been fighting her weight all her life. She figures she’s lost and regained enough pounds to make up a small town in Nevada. In one year of desperate deprivation, she lost over 100 pounds and, even though then skinny, still saw a fatty in the mirror.

As she says, it’s a curse.

Now she wants to knock off about 30 “nasty, persistent pounds.” She’s done Jazzercise, Atkins, Weightwatchers, and Jenny Craig – but always those hard-fought losses came creeping back to all the places she doesn’t want them.

Maybe there’s a universal law that we don’t know about, much like Murphy’s or Moore’s, where for every ounce lost an equal and opposite ounce always must be replaced.

We have tried no-carb diets, high-protein, even lots of calorie counting.

We’ve walked until we thought our legs were broken. Biked a blue streak. Yoga’d and Tai Chi’d till we were wobbly with serenity.

I swim daily. (I hate exercising so I have to swim early in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.)

Old Lady on BikeAll this and neither of us can lose an ounce and keep it off.

Suddenly Trivia: What is the name of the famous diet that allows you to eat all the fat you can swallow? a) Weightwatchers, b) Atkins, c) Jenny Craig

Can you relate? I’ll bet you can. Short of never, ever again eating anything that tastes good, what’s a couple to do?

Last week we considered eliminating all breads and sugars. But we know a guy who did just that. And although he now looks much thinner, he also looks 20 years older. When we oldsters loose weight, we loose it in our faces first, which just creates more wrinkles, not to mention an unhealthy pallor that alarms the children.

Sure, we know the morbid statistics. Folks our age, especially the fatties, are dropping like flies. How sad to spend 60 or 70 years becoming the person you really want to be, only to croak because that real you is a lard-ass.

So once more, our fridge is full of lettuce, spinach, celery – rabbit food of all sorts. And we’re exercising. They say for every mile that you jog, you add one minute to your life. Ten miles, ten minutes. At that rate, in 20 years we’ll have an extra month and a half of unbearable arthritic pain and memory losses. (One plus: While we’re jogging, at least we hear heavy breathing again!)

So here we are, eating food we hate, walking too fast and too far, drinking so much water that we never can be more than 10 steps from a bathroom. And why? To painfully lose a few pounds that, like Lassie, will always come back home where they belong.

There must be a lesson here. Perhaps the joy is in the suffering, and like Zen, we should never get attached to anything, especially chocolate and glazed donuts. Not that it will help, mind you.

Suddenly Trivia Answer: b) Atkins diet. No wait. They changed that just this week. With nutritional advice changing daily, you might as well eat what you want. That’s what I’m going to do.


We got this from reader Peggy Fisher. Thought you might be interested…

Good luck with your diets; it is an endless battle and it’s not our fault: blame evolution, our genes, American over sizing of portions beyond all possible reason, and our 21st century lifestyle in which technology and convenience have eliminated nearly all effort and movement.

Exercise and motion can cure nearly all ailments, if we can just carve out sufficient time to get amounts more comparable to our Neanderthal forbears. I agree giving up bread, sugar and all that makes life delightful and pleasurable is not a good way for Seniors or anyone to lose weight. No wonder we end up looking and feeling terrible! Another important caveat: we don’t want to lose weight and especially muscle which burns so many more calories than inert fat. We want to lose that fat.

Try the Mediterranean diet with lots of pleasurable satisfying olive oil and nuts, seafood, lamb, eggs, lean protein, Greek salads, low-fat dairy products which recent research shows assists in weight loss, a bit of honey, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Focus very hard on not eating anything you don’t desire: downsize those mega restaurant meals by doggie bagging and sharing. Don’t eat it just because it’s piled on your plate. Eat what you really want first, instead of eating everything you think you should eat first. Add red wine for pleasure, digestion and more benefits of Mediterranean cuisine.

Surround all these Mediterranean delights with that other European lifestyle staple: walking, walking and more walking. Even 10 minutes after every meal or snack can make a huge difference in revving up your metabolism. If needed get something to walk: a dog, a cat (they can be trained to walk on a leash if you start at kitten hood; we’ve had several Siamese which tolerate their leashes and adore their walks) or a human walking partner.

Will be eagerly looking forward to your next installment on this issue so detrimental to the health and finances of our seniors and our nation.

Good luck & bon appetite!

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