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!"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Abs Diet Power - Dairy Products

Dairy Products

Milk. It does a body good. Or not.

Dairy products appear on the ever-increasing list of good news/bad news food products. Eat this. No wait, don't eat it.

Dairy products provide vitamins A and B12, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium, protein and the big gun - calcium.

Calcium does a body good - no conflicting reports there. You know about bones. The idea that calcium intake may be related to body weight has been supported by several studies in the past decade. Researchers think the mineral probably prevents weight gain by increasing the breakdown of body fat and hampering its formation. Low-fat yogurt, cheeses, and other dairy products can play a key role in your diet.

There are other sources of calcium: almonds, tofu, soybeans, leafy greens, sesame seeds and broccoli have high calcium content, but there are conflicting studies about the quality of the calcium benefits from those sources. (Of course there are! But eat them anyway for their other benefits.) Calcium supplements: I'm not much into supplements, but here's a Mayo Clinic article about what to look for when choosing a calcium supplement.

Dairy products are high in saturated fat, proven to raise cholesterol and cause heart disease.

Dairy allergies cause chronic ear infections,chronic sinus infections, chronic skin rashes, postnasal drip, chronic coughs or throat clearing, bloating, gas, irritable bowel symptoms, heart palpitations, and acne.

We know for sure that calcium is very good for us and saturated fat is very bad. What's a body to do? Stop reading studies and wing it.

Milk often didn't agree with me so I don't miss it. The little I used it for, I now use soy milk fortified with calcium.

I eat no-fat Greek Yogurt nearly every day and try to get in some no-fat cottage cheese every day.

Cheese - geez. In general, the harder the cheese, the higher the fat content (with the exception of cream cheese - loads of fat there). If you're having a cheese hankering, a mozzarella cheese stick or goat cheese are better choices. And that portion thing again. One ounce of cheddar cheese has 100+ calories and is about 85% fat. One ounce. That's a piece of cheese about the size of a 9 volt battery. One piece. Face to face with a plate of cheese and crackers, I'm sure there were times that I easily consumed 500 or 600 or more calories, mostly all fat, without even feeling like I ate much. While I was cooking dinner. This is another food for which I'm just not a fan of low-fat varieties - I'd rather indulge in the real thing sparingly. So I rarely buy cheese and I don't add cheese to omelets, sandwiches or burgers, but if I'm out somewhere and there is a cheese and cracker platter, I'm on it!

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