Diet

balanced-diet-chartWhat we eat directly affects weight, wellness, energy, aging and emotional state. So we pay a lot of attention to what we eat and drink. These then in turn have an impact on life in retirement.

I know that I am lucky to be enjoying good health in retirement. I realize that things could easily have turned out differently especially when I look back at my early lifestyle.

When I was in my 20’s, I pretty much ate and drank whatever I wanted. I felt that because I exercised, I could get away with eating and drinking however I wanted to.  I was indeed fortunate to have survived my 20’s and 30’s. However, along the way I developed many bad eating habits. If I hadn’t met my wife, who knows how things might have turned out?

From the time I met my wife, the quality of my diet improved radically. She introduced me to the concept of meal planning. She made sure that our diet included plenty of fruit and vegetables while limiting processed foods. Typically we have protein (meat or fish) at dinner. Breakfast and lunch feature whole grains, fruit and dairy. Her philosophy is to limit portion size, not overdo any one food group and to keep calories in check.

We usually have a glass of wine, or a beer every day. Sometimes we have more than one but never to excess.

I freely admit that we’re not experts on nutrition nor do we subscribe to a particular diet. In fact, CeCe has never dieted and I only did so once. There was a time where I could not get my weight below 170 no matter how much I exercised. I was frustrated. I chalked it up to my aging, slowing metabolism. This was happening during the time when fat and cholesterol were vilified. Products were promoted as being low fat. But what they didn’t say was that they were high carb instead. So I bought into that whole movement and ate a lot of low fat everything (especially potato chips). One day my manager told me he decided to go on the Atkins Diet which flew in the face of what everyone was saying and doing. And he did great! So I read the book and started eating bacon, burgers without the buns and eggs! And I too lost weight. I eventually returned to a more balanced diet but I continued to restrict carbs. The result was that I got my weight down below 170 and kept it there.

More recently, my sister suggested that I reduce the amount of sugar I was taking in. So I made a few very simple, but impactful changes. I switched to a Greek style yogurt, stopped eating breakfast bars and mixed in a very low sugar cereal with my regular cereal (50-50).  And with those changes in place, I now maintain my weight between 163 – 165 pounds.

In summary, here are our key takes on the subject of diet.

  • Don’t take in more calories that you burn over time
  • Eat a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables
  • Moderation is important when it comes to carbs, alcohol, caffeine, ice cream, potato chips and everything else that tastes too good to be good for you.
  • Employ a low tech tool – the bathroom scale. We weigh ourselves every day.
  • Avoid extremes and fads. Remember that behind every new diet, amazing herb and life style is a money-making agenda.