Monthly Archives: July 2014

Healthy Eating in Retirement.

Hello all:

If you are like me, you are always conscious of what you eat.For an unknown reason, some of us cannot just eat what we want, whenever we want to! I often say that life is not fair. I have friends that can eat just about anything, at what ever time of day or night, and not gain a pound! Call it genes, or whatever. It just does not seem right!

Well,I have come to terms with this phenomenon.There is just no getting away from it. Eating right is a lifelong journey that takes us even into retirement.Let me say briefly, that at one time I weighed 280 pounds.As a child and for most of my adult life I could be described as obese! I struggled with trying to lose weight. Children can be cruel, and I learned this by being called fatso, fattie or other cruel names. I can recall many stories from those days which I am happy to say, although painful, did not prevent me from future successes.I am also happy to say that some years ago I lost 115 pounds! I have been blessed to have kept all but 15 of those pounds off. In recent months I lost 9 of the 15 so I am now about six pounds away from my goal.

Losing that much weight was quite an accomplishment for me. You may ask me how did I do it? It was a combination of things, the most important of which was that my prayers to God were answered. I learned to love the right kinds of food, and to not be a slave to others.

Now that I am retired, I find that I still need to be aware of what I eat each day.I basically eat lean meat, fish, vegetables and fruit.I do splurge on occasion, and then need to do penance by following a more strict eating plan for awhile.I accept the fact that eating right is a life long journey for me.

One fact that I learned after losing 115 pounds, is that the body makes every effort to hold on to each and every pound. After losing a lot of weight, it becomes very difficult to lose just a few pounds. The chemistry of the body tends to hold on to the last few pounds at all cost. I must admit that sometimes I get discouraged by the slow weight loss, but then I get re-energized when I lose even one pound.

Exercise is so important for overall health, and also to lose weight.I have now committed myself to working out at least three or more times per week.

In addition, I try to eat most of my meals at home each day. Since I can follow my own schedule, I plan my trips outside of my home either before or after lunch.I generally eat a restaurant meal an average of once per week. I find that this not only saves me money, but also helps me to eat right. Most restaurant food I find, is loaded with hidden calories. I can control the amount of salt, fat, and other ingredients when I make my own meals. I do however, like to eat in a restaurant so I choose those that offer me choices of lean meat, fish, vegetables, and even fruit. I try to check out the menu before I go to each restaurant so that I can be prepared.

When I travel, I have more of a challenge in finding just what I need to eat on my plan. I try to think ahead, and to plan what I will or will not eat.Of course there is temptation all around! There are cakes, pies, cookies, (and other foods that I love but must limit) just about everywhere! Most people will say to me, ” one cookie will not hurt”. I agree, but that is not the issue. The issue is that it is not always easy to eat just one!
On most occasions I have learned to decline gracefully, but ever so often I throw caution to the wind, and eat whatever forbidden food is being offered!

A well known fact to consider as we age is the fact that it is just harder to keep the pounds off! Without the hustle and bustle of going out to a job each day, I find that I need to keep busy to keep the pounds from creeping back on. I try to have something meaningful to accomplish each day. I must say that writing these posts are a great way for me to keep my mind busy and away from food.I also try to get out of my home daily as much as is possible. I am very active with committee work in my church, and with my grand children. In addition, I am taking several classes, and I also go to the gym several times weekly. A full schedule keeps me away from temptation!

I would love to hear from you as to whether you have the same challenges that I have. Please share your comments, so that we can support each other as we go through our retirement journey.


Letting go!

Hello again,

I heard a discussion recently that peaked my interest. This was a program on the radio, and callers were asked to share their experiences with letting go of personal items. One woman had a vase that she had made as a child more than fifty years ago. She admitted that it looked awful, but she found it difficult to get rid of it.She had moved several times across the United States but had kept this memorable item for unknown reasons.

Do you have trouble letting go of certain items also? I have a few that I have kept for sentimental reasons.I kept letters that my father wrote to me when I moved away from home. These are very special to me now that he is passed on. He was a prolific writer!He wrote letters to many individuals around the world. His letters are special for many reasons including the fact that it is now almost unheard of to write a letter.I like to ask young people ( 35 years old and below) whether they have ever written or received a handwritten letter. Without exception they give me a blank look when I ask about letters that are actually written by hand.Without exception they say they have never written a letter or received one that was handwritten.Most people today would prefer to send an e mail than to write a letter. Even cards are now “e” cards sent by the Internet! I must also admit that now that I am retired, I am now in the group that sends most communication by the Internet!

Not only do I hold on to letters from my Dad, I also hold unto gifts that I received many years ago. As I write this, I am looking at a small fan that someone gave to me over 20 years ago.It is trimmed with purple lace, and has a beautiful bow.It is prominently displayed on my dressing table.It was given to me by a woman named Cynthia.I was her supervisor a long time ago.This fan reminds me of the respect that was shown to me by Cynthia. She was a hard worker, and also a positive person. I lost track of her over 20 years ago, but this gift that she gave to me is still precious.She probably did not spend much to buy it, but it still means a lot to me.I even took it with me when I moved across the US, as the woman that I mentioned earlier. I kept that fan hanging on my wall at my former job for all of those years. Every time I had a new office, this fan was part of my new decor.When I retired I packed it carefully and brought it home with me. I am sure that the Cynthia would be amazed to know that I held unto it for all these years!

It is no surprise then that I kept all the cards that my children gave me over the years.Some were given to me for birthdays, while some were given to me on Mother’s Day or other occasions.These are very special.I can recall the time when my children were too small to give me any cards. Now that they do, I want to hold unto them, and to not let them go! I also received some memorable cards at my retirement parties.These cards will remind me of my former life in the work world. I wouldn’t part with them for any thing!

Why do we hold on to certain things? Is it to remember a special someone, or to recall a special time in our lives? Are we trying to hold on to the past, or to keep pleasant thoughts in our minds? Do you also hold on to special items from the past? Please share your thoughts with me.


A visit to the dentist ( no surprises)!

Hello again,

The question today is- ” Why does one wait to visit the dentist?” Sometimes it is because of fear, lack of finances, or just lack of knowledge. We might not realize that dental health is very important. In my case, the reason that I did not visit the dentist at least twice per year was not because I lacked the knowledge, or the finances.I had pretty good dental coverage while I was working, and did visit the dentist from time to time, however, not as often as I should have. I can admit to misplaced priorities- just too busy to make that visit.

Now that I am retired, I am determined to visit my dentist as often as is needed. Well, I made a visit one day last week, and it was just as I had expected. The dentist told me what I already knew, that I had 2 cavities, and needed a deep cleaning- no surprises! What was a surprise was that she said that previous fillings from about forty years ago, were now needing replacement. This is a big deal! She described the need for crowns so that the teeth will not be lost ie needing a root canal to save them.Thank God for modern technology,because it will all be painless! At least that is my belief based on past experiences.

I am telling you this because I hope my retired audience will follow my lead and schedule a dental visit ASAP!Medical science now tells us that the health of our teeth affects our overall health and well being. If we want a healthy retirement we need to fix what needs fixing now rather than later. More about the dentist later!

Exercise in Retirement

Hello all,

Today I attended my first exercise class in many years! I have been going to the gym now for over six months, but did not decide to take a class until today. I have been using the bicycle, treadmill, and other machines but just did not want to take a class. I must confess that I hesitated to take one before this time, because I thought the instructor would be going at such a fast pace that I would not be able to keep up!

When I learned that this class was designed for seniors I breathed a sigh of relief!I was more hopeful that it would be just right for me. When I arrived at the gym, there was a long line of seniors waiting to enter the room.Everyone had a bag with them, while I had my towel, water and my cell phone in my hand! I wondered why they had such large bags.I asked the person next to me for the reason that each person had a bag. She explained that I needed a jump rope, ball, dumbbells and a chair. She said these items are all provided but ” they never have enough for everyone”, so she brought her own except the chair, of course.

When we entered the room, I noticed that most people made a bee line for the back of the room! I decided to speak to the instructor and to introduce myself as a new student.I wanted her to know that with a new student she needed to slow things down so that I could keep up with her.Of course I did not tell her, but I was hoping just the same. She gave me a warm welcome and told me to follow everyone else. ” Get the same equipment that they have” she said, and pointed to several boxes to the left side of the room.I dutifully did as she said and picked up dumbbells, a chair, a ball and a jump rope.

The music began to play and the instructor began to move as did everyone in the room. I joined in, and soon realized that the pace was moderate but still taxing. “You can do this I told myself” as the tempo of the music increased. About 30 minutes into the routine, she asked us to pick up our dumbbells.I picked up mine, and noted how heavy they were! When I looked around the room, most people had little dumbbells that probably weighed half a pound.I looked at mine and realized that I had picked up the largest size! How was I to know that we could pick a smaller size. I decided that no matter what, I was not going to change to what some people had ie half pound size that resembled a dog bone!I was confident that I could manage 10 pounds on my first day! I actually did just fine, but I was also glad when we moved to the next routine- follow the leader.

The instructor began moving around the room, and we followed behind clapping, marching,swaying, and contorting to the music.It was quite a workout! At the one hour mark,we did cool down exercises, and the class ended. I really enjoyed this exercise session. It was quite exhilarating! I knew that I was feeling the effects of Endorphins- those feel good, God given hormones, that were responsible for the great way that I felt.I am certainly looking forward to the next class! I highly recommend these classes to any retiree.