50 And Losing It Blog

A journey for women over 50 who are looking for renewal and self discovery

Day 22: We’ve got company August 28, 2010

Filed under: Mom's Over 50,Weight Loss — Greta @ 8:14 pm
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Our best friends from Maryland arrived today! They are celebrating their 40th anniversary this weekend and wanted to share their special day with us and our other best friends from Florida who will arrive tomorrow. We met in Maryland and have been friends for more than 25 years.

When we lived in Maryland, each couple bought an Entertainment Book from a local school. Then once a month the six of us would go out and experience a new restaurant. The guys got to pick the restaurant and the ladies got to carry the Entertainment Card. Over the years, we tried so many wonderful restaurants and our friendship grew with each outing. Then I accepted a job in Pennsylvania, but we continued with our monthly dinner outings and looked forward to the two-hour drive to and from Maryland. That ended 15 years ago.

Now whenever we’re together, we still enjoy going out for a meal or two. Tonight we ventured out to a restaurant that offers organic and wholesome cooking, Five Loaves in Mt. Pleasant, SC. I resisted a glass of wine, started with a small Caesar salad and finished with an appetizer. I read that if you pick an appetizer it’s usually a smaller portion. It was shrimp with gnocchi. I was hoping for more protein, but I was able keep it under 500 calories according to my calorie counter at everydayhealth.com.

It was wonderful to catch up with our friends. I look forward to tomorrow when we’ll all be together again.


Day 21: Three Weeks, Three New Habits, Three More Pounds August 25, 2010

Yeah! I lost a total of 9 pounds in three weeks. Granted I wanted to lose 10.5, but I’m well on my way to reaching my long-term goal of losing 50 pounds in 100 days. In fact, I lost 3 of those pounds this week. I’m pleased.

I’m continuing to drink more water, about 50 ounces a day. I’ve noticed that the circles under my eyes are less pronounced. In fact, I feel less “puffy” all over. I feel like my body is holding less water as it continues to flush toxins with each ounce I down. And while I’ve reduced the amount of carbohydrates in my diet and therefore the amount of fiber I eat, water is helping to keep me regulated which is very important in weight loss.

Other than the three days I took off to go to New York, I’ve biked 5-miles a day for a total of 90 miles since I started this journey. I actually look forward to jumping on my bike as I spend the 30 minutes thinking about my blog, my next step, or about things I need to remember for the day, the week. It’s great “me” time. I’ve noticed that my stamina is building as well. I now keep my 10 to 11 mile hour pace on inclines and have hit as high as 15 miles per hour on level roadway.

Choosing healthier foods is actually making me less hungry between meals. I’m eating a protein meal for breakfast and I’m not getting hungry two hours later. I eat a light lunch, like a BLT, low-calorie sub, or salad. And dinners are pretty much the way they’ve always been – a protein, a starch, and a veggie. The portions are smaller and the ingredients are fresh, organic when possible and leaner. For example, just this week I made Sloppy Joes with ground chicken, and last week, I tried ground turkey in my tacos. And while I’m still barbecuing steaks on the grill and making traditional Danish pork dishes, I’m now cooking with seafood more than once a week.

So drinking more water, exercising and eating healthier are all habits I can live with. It’s all good.


Day 20: And I thought whole grain was the bomb

We eat far too much bread. My favorite is white bread. But I’ve done what most Americans have done, I’ve switched my family to wheat breads and no one complained. It looks like white bread, just healthier, right?

Not really. While wheat breads are healthier than white bread, processed and refined wheat breads are deficient in nutrients and make us blow up like balloons. Multi-grain breads are better for you. So for about four months now I’ve been buying multi-grain breads for my hubby and me. I’m hoping the kids will eventually switch as multi-grain breads are more fiberous and that’s good, right?

Not really. What we should be eating is “sprouted grain” breads. I’ve learned that the process used to make sprouted grains actually increases its vitamins and beta carotene, and unlike regular wheat breads, it breaks down phytic acid which can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc and can neutralize stomach enzymes which can result in digestive disorders. But  the best reason to eat sprouted grain breads, you should experience less intestinal gas. I found loaves of freshly baked sprouted grain breads at Whole Foods in the Bakery. The one I picked for this week actually has sunflower seeds on the outside. It’s quite yummy and filling as well. They also said I could find other sprouted grain varieties in the freezer section. You can buy sprouted grain rolls, muffins, tortillas and even raisin cinnamon loaves. So sprouted grain breads are the best carbohydrates I can eat, right?

Not really. The best form of carbohydrates we can eat are actually fruits and vegetables. They turn our bodies into fat burning machines. So try replacing that sandwich with a plate of fruits and vegetables and burn those pounds away.


Day 19: Getting there one goal at a time August 24, 2010

Filed under: Mom's Over 50,Weight Loss — Greta @ 12:43 pm
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While the weight is coming off slowly, it is coming off. They say that it’s better to lose it slowly and permanently change your lifestyle then to lose it quickly just to revert back to your old ways. Like my NO Coke diet. I lost 10 pounds in two weeks last November and within a few weeks I gained it all back and then some. My long-term goal is to lose this weight and keep it off. To do this, I have to accept healthy eating as the norm and get comfortable with my new lifestyle and that takes time.

So to keep my eyes on the prize, 50 pounds in 100 days, I’m focusing on short-term goals.

Short-term goal No. 1: Drop 3.5 pounds a week. While I surpassed this goal my first week, figuring out how to make this happen weekly is challenging in itself. But I’m taking steps in the right direction. When I fail to meet this goal, like last week, I learn from my mistakes and move on to the next 3.5 pound goal.

Short-term goal No. 2: Drop one dress size. Over a year ago, I found an article requesting quality work clothes to be donated to abused women reentering the workforce. I’ve held onto that story with hopes that one day I’d lose enough weight to be able to bundle up all of my “big girl” suites and donate them to this cause. Then I’ll bundle up the rest of my clothes too big to wear and drop those off at Goodwill swearing never to buy another XL in my life.

Short-term goal No. 3: Write daily. Along with losing weight, this blog is a means to an end. While I’m a writer by trade and have written many forms of communication over the years, I’ve never made time to write for my own benefit. But this blog is helping me discipline myself into writing for me. It’s helping me take time out of my busy day and dedicating it to writing. So I’ve promised myself that if I can write this blog for 100 days, I can write that novel I toyed with before I had kids. Maybe I’ll develop a brand new plot and maybe I’ll even write myself into a whole new career.


Day 18: My Daily Bread August 23, 2010

Filed under: Mom's Over 50,Weight Loss — Greta @ 12:47 pm
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My body mass index (BMI) says that I’m “moderately fat.” Lucky for me, my fat is spread evenly over my body…my thighs, tushie, and tummy. These are all areas where fat is naturally stored by your body in case of a possible famine. This fat comes from eating too many carbohydrates. It works like this.

Whether you eat bread, cereal, pasta, corn, rice, potato or processed cakes or snacks, eating any carbohydrate creates a rapid rise in blood glucose levels. To handle this increase, your pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream to help lower your glucose level. But insulin is the body’s hormone that stores excess carbohydrate calories as fat in the thighs, tushie and tummy. Keeping your insulin level high actually reduces the body’s ability to lose that fat.

But carbohydrates are good for the body; it gives us our fuel and energy to keep going. The trick is to find the right balance of carbs. I only want to eat enough to keep up my energy level, but not enough that my body ends up storing it as fat. So I’m rethinking how I eat.

I’m throwing out the food pyramid and its recommendation of 6 to 11 servings a day. I’m going to decrease my carbs to one portion per meal and when possible eliminate breads, cereals, pastas, corns, rice, potatoes, and processed cakes and snacks from at least one meal a day. Like eating two scrambled eggs and adding veggies into the mix or eating a salad or soup for lunch.

So my thighs, tushie and tummy are going to experience a different kind of famine…a reduction in carbs. By reducing my glucose levels, I’m hoping to bring down my BMI and reward myself with smaller thighs and a smaller tushie and tummy to boot.


Day 17: Improving My Cholesterol Levels – The Organic Way

I’m glad I only want to lose 3.5 pounds of weight a week. Granted I’m a bit behind due to my New York trip, but I’m hoping steady improvements in my lifestyle will help me reach my long-term weight loss goal of 50 pounds in 100 days.

One improvement I’ve made is slowing introducing “organic” foods into our lives. I’ve learned that simply switching to organic foods, I’m eliminating a lot of “toxins” that my liver has been dealing with for years. Toxins help explain why my sonogram showed that I have a lot of fatty deposits on my liver. It’s been working so hard to get rid of those toxins, that it hasn’t been able to process the fats in my diet.

But organic is expensive. So I’m taking it slow. I’m starting with sea salt, organic eggs, extra-virgin olive oils, real butter, breads and fruits and veggies “on sale.”

Why am I targeting eggs when I have a cholesterol issue?

I’ve learned there’s a BIG difference between regular eggs and organic eggs. Chickens that live a “natural” life produce eggs that are extremely high in omega 3 fats — one of the healthiest types of fats we can eat. Omega 3s create good cholesterol levels. While eggs from commercially raised chickens are high in omega-6 fats because of the feed they eat and lifestyle they live. So while I’m eating organic eggs, yoke and all, I’m actually eating healthier and enjoying my breakfasts more.


Day 16: Salt of the Earth

Filed under: Mom's Over 50,Weight Loss — Greta @ 9:05 am
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I learned something today I wish I knew 25 years ago. I learned the truth about table salt.

Like most people, I’d heard that too much salt is bad for you. So over the years, I’ve reduced my intake of salt and that of my family’s by adding little if nothing to my cooking and eliminating it from the dinner table. I’d buy low-sodium packaged items when possible, cook fresh or frozen veggies instead of can goods and try to cook at home at least five to six nights a week. Granted they probably got more than their daily dose of salt just by eating lunch out.

Oddly enough, I crave salt. I love capers, olives, peanut butter, French fries, chips, and a childhood favorite, salted licorice from Denmark. Looking back on my eating habits, my snacks were primarily salty. While I’m sure I was getting enough salt, I’ve learned it was the wrong salt.

My Internet research has shown me that eating salt isn’t the problem; it is eating refined table salt. Our bodies can’t effectively process common table salt as it contains synthetic sodium chloride, anti-caking agents and preservatives. Any time we put man-made items in our bodies, our organs treat them as toxins. No wonder I’m craving salt, my body wasn’t getting the sodium chloride it needed to function properly.

So what’s the answer? Unrefined sea salt provides natural sodium chloride that our bodies need for good health. I’m going to start adding it a pinch here and a pinch there and see if my cravings for salt go away. We all know that our bodies need salt to function. In fact, sodium is the main component of our body’s fluids and it helps to carry nutrients into our cells. It helps regulate our body functions, such as blood pressure and it helps keep our blood pressure balance normal. But if we’re dumping milligrams of bad sodium into our bodies, the body obviously isn’t benefitting from it. So I’m going with unrefined sea salt. While I’ve always had a great blood pressure level, it’s gone up as my weight has gone up, especially since I turned 50. So I’m up for the sea salt challenge and I’m looking forward to improved health. The bottom line will be my test results when I see my doctor at the end of my 100-day diet.