I'm not a nutritionist. I'm not a fitness expert.

I am a 57 year old woman who has never felt more healthy and fit in my entire life. Five years ago, at 52, I weighed about 80 lbs. more than I do now. I felt much older, with stiff joints and back aches and no energy. And don't even ask about clothes!

My goal was not just weight loss, but to get healthier. I did not "go on a diet," I did not count calories or carbs. I made lifestyle changes, a little at a time. I tried to eat healthier and move more. You can do this, too. You can make changes to look, and more importantly, feel healthier and fit. You don't have to be overweight to be unfit. You will feel a difference in strength, energy, stamina and flexibility. I'm talking to you, men, too!

I can tell you how I did it. Not everything I do will be right for you. Through posts about my progress; tips and ideas about nutrition and exercise; links to sites I like and find helpful, I hope to inspire others to get fit and healthy and encourage a community of support and an exchange of ideas. And have a little fun on the way! Much of our information will be about local Cape Ann sites - walking and bike routes, gyms, types of exercise, yoga studios, good buys on healthy food - but Guests and commenters from anywhere are welcome as well.

Okay, I know you all want to know. Right now I'm wearing a pair of Levis - size 8. A comfortable size 8!

Twenty year old daughter:
"Mom, why are you wearing my clothes?"
Mom: "Because I can!"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Abs Diet Power - Almonds and Other Nuts

Abs Diet Power is the name of a diet and fitness program. The program seems healthy and sensible enough. But if you've read my earlier posts, you know I'm not a fan of "diets" or rigid eating plans - especially ones that guarantee to give you a flat stomach and great physique in just 6 weeks or promise that you'll discover how to melt away fat and create muscle (even if you don’t exercise!)—and dramatically improve your life in the shortest possible time!

The nutrition aspect is helpful. "Abs Diet Power" has become a popular fitness acronym of sorts, with each letter representing a super food, or power food - foods that have been proven time and again to help control cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, hypertension and diabetes. They contain nutrients that have anti-aging, antioxidant or anti-inflammatory qualities. They increase energy, aid in weight control and improve overall health. And they have a low calorie density - meaning that you can pack in all that good stuff and feel full and energized for fewer calories. Everyone from Dr. Weil to the Mayo Clinic has a list of Super Foods. Some list ten foods, some fourteen - but they all cite basically the same foods or food groups.

I try to focus on these foods. I don't restrict myself to them, just try to fit as many of them as possible into my daily food intake - it's a lot of food! I try to get a good mix of healthy fat, healthy protein, carbs and fiber. If you fill yourself with these healthy foods as often as possible, you'll feel satisfied, energized and less likely to crave something unhealthy. I often just don't have room for anything else!

I use "Abs Diet Power" simply as a convenient way to remember what those foods are. I'll write about the benefits of each food and tell you how I use them. Not all at once, though, because I need to follow one of my own important fitness tips - get off my butt and step away from the computer!

A is for ...

Almonds (and other nuts).

Almonds are packed with nutrients — fiber, riboflavin, magnesium, iron and calcium. All nuts are high in protein and monounsaturated fat - a healthier type of fat that may help lower blood cholesterol levels, but almonds have more calcium than any other nut. One serving of almonds provides half of your body's Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin E. And for me, almonds get along better with my digestive system than other nuts.

I buy slivered almonds by the bag and toss a handful into my daily bowl of oatmeal. Good deal tip: I recently bought a 10 oz. bag of slivered almonds at Market Basket for $2.99 - an excellent value.

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