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!"

Friday, October 23, 2009

Taste Buds Are Adjustable

You really can change your taste for things. I now enjoy eating things that I had convinced myself I'd never get used to. Like ...

Cottage Cheese. I don't know how many times I've tried cottage cheese over the years. Just couldn't do it. Looking for healthy calcium and protein sources, once again I tried a few brands of cottage cheese. Cabot's No Fat Cottage Cheese! I like the taste and texture, it has NO fat and 13 grams of protein in 1/2 cup for just 70 calories.

Yogurt. Lots of yogurt tasting. I never cared for it. I finally found Silk brand soy yogurt, liked it, and ate it every day. Then one day I picked up a Chobani Greek Yogurt. I'm addicted! It has calcium, live active cultures, probiotics, NO fat and 3 to 4 times more protein than other yogurts - and is creamy and tastes great! Like all yogurts, the flavored ones have a little more sugar than the plain variety. I eat little other sugar most days, so I go for the Blueberry and don't worry about it. (Best deal in town: Market Basket, $1.00 ea.)

Soy Milk. I'm not a big milk drinker, but I use it for cereal and oatmeal. I tried soy milk because of the extra good nutritional value it has over dairy milk. I use Silk brand Vanilla - considerably more calcium than milk and it's fortified with DHA Omega-3. Love the taste!

Black Coffee and Tea. I weaned myself off cream and milk years and years ago. But I needed the Sweet 'n Low. I kept reducing the amount I put in a cup. I was down to just a little shake out of the package, but needed that little bit of that taste. One morning, I poured my coffee and - I was out of the pink packets! I most definitely would have run to the convenience store - I needed my coffee and I needed the Sweet 'n Low. But I decided that day to just do it. Little sips at a time. Really little. Honestly, it was just a couple of days before I was looking forward to my morning black coffee. I have picked up a friend's artificially sweetened coffee by mistake and can't believe that I ever liked it.

That's what I find has happened over and over - I've lost taste for things I used all the time and have acquired a liking for things I never thought I would. Little changes at a time.

I wanted to give up the Sweet 'n Low because I was looking to avoid as much artificial sweetening as possible. I'd rather tame a sweet tooth so that I don't want anything sweet, and have a taste of the real deal now and then if I get a craving - which I very rarely do. I overdosed on mini Italian pastries at an event this summer and felt lousy for two days - sugar sick!

These are also good examples of the benefit of reading labels. Not every choice I make is for the product with fewer calories or less sugar. I look at the protein, fat and fiber content, vitamins and calcium, preservatives and how it's sweetened. The fewer ingredients the better. It sounds complicated, doesn't it? It's not really, and figuring out the nutritional benefits will eventually become second nature.

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