My Healthy Life

Hmmm. I said I’d write this post weeks ago. I have thought about it ever since then, but avoided putting it to paper. I remember when I started this blog. I couldn’t stop talking about healthy food, exercise, weight loss, weight maintenance. It was a relief to have an online group of friends who were interested in the same things. I didn’t have to worry about people rolling their eyes back in their heads as I prattled on enthusiastically about all this stuff. Well, its been twelve years since I first darkened the W.W. doorway, and ten years since I started “maintaining.” Yeah, that maintaining is in quotes, because for me maintaining has been a bit of a roller coaster. Up thirteen, back down to 100 lost. Up 25, back down to 100 lost. Now, currently, up 40. So that’s still a net loss of 60 pounds. And I tell myself that that is a lot better than almost every study I’ve read, which usually ends with the participants losing an average of 17 pounds over a year’s time. Most of those studies conclude after that one year period. Their information is basically useless for me.  If you only study what helps people to lose weight without studying what helps them to maintain that loss, you are providing false hope for so many people.

So…about what is working for me now in living the healthiest life possible at age 62. So many of the good practices and habits that I have learned about and applied over the years has stuck.

Food: From W.W. I learned about the evils of high fat foods (I don’t necessarily believe this any more.) But eating low fat is a way of life that has stuck. I enjoy the fresh taste of most foods without added fat.

From my personal trainer, Vickie, I learned about so many new healthful foods. I got a little more adventurous in my food choices. And I learned that good fats make food taste better 🙂

From friends, the internet, other bloggers, books, maybe even Dr. Phil(!) I learned lots of new ways of keeping fresh foods available, new recipes, new healthy food combos. I love to cook and experiment with food.

So now, I still shop the perimeter of the store (where all the whole foods are kept,) I almost always eat fresh vegetables and fruit. The meat I eat right now is salmon, chicken, and ground turkey. Just my current fav’s.

I try to listen to what my body is asking for. I’ve noticed that I am not as hungry in the morning as I used to be. So my breakfast is usually 2-300 calories, and that is enough to satisfy me until lunchtime.

I try to have a vegetable with every lunch. If I remember, I like roasting green beans, cauliflower, beets, rutabaga, or butternut squash. Lately, my favorite lunch is a simple strawberry smoothie. I get it ready and drink it on the way to the gym. 1 cup yogurt, 1 cup strawberries, spinach, splenda, cinnamon and vanilla. Very satisfying! Oh, that reminds me. That is one thing I have changed. For better or worse, I changed to using whole milk for my homemade yogurt. And I started using real butter sometimes. Do you want to know what I still do with that? When I put a new cube of butter in the butter dish, I mark the top in 8 even slices. That way I know how much a tablespoon is, and I can use 1/3 of that marked piece for a teaspoon.

I look forward to my afternoon coffee break every day, and I will admit that I still have a protein bar (Quest or Oh Yeah) with that coffee. These bars have 20 grams of protein in them. So that means dinner is usually simple and light. Most nights its meat and a vegetable. Most nights dinner is about 300 calories.  But who’s counting? 🙂 I am not logging my foods right now, but there is always a running total going on in my head. I am eating between 1400 and 1800 calories a day.

Lastly, I really enjoy having one diet Coke, a bowl of Skinny Pop popcorn and a small piece of chocolate after dinner.

So, you can see that although my food choices are not 100 per cent optimal, I eat a very healthy diet. I didn’t talk about grains, but I do have pasta very occasionally, granola on my yogurt sometimes, and of course, almost always breakfast includes some sort of whole grain. I don’t try to stay wheat free any more (wheat tastes good 🙂 ), and I do have sugar occasionally.

Cutting back to lose some weight would be great. But that is not happening right now. So continuing to make healthy choices every day is a good thing.

Exercise: as I’ve said before, exercise is very important to me. That said, I will admit that my knee REALLY hurts, and many other parts hurt as well. So I avoid walking, and my walks with my dogs have become shorter and shorter. All this is a good reminder to me that I really do need that knee surgery. Which is scheduled for July! I decided that I really wanted to get my baby chicks first, and they are coming in a week! I can hardly wait (for the chicks 🙂 ) This will probably turn into a chicken blog very soon.

When I take a walk and everything hurts so much, that makes me feel bad about myself. It makes me feel like I am a failure and that if I kept my weight down, I wouldn’t hurt and would be a more successful person. Intellectually I know that is not true. But that’s what it makes me feel like. So that is one reason I have had trouble writing this.

I love going to the gym and exercising hard. The bike doesn’t hurt, and running in the pool and swimming doesn’t hurt. The weight machines don’t hurt in a bad way, and I am working on increasing my upper body strength in preparation for my knee surgery. I go to the gym three days a week, and I’m thinking about increasing that to four days until I have the surgery. It just takes a big chunk of time out of the middle of my day, so that’s why I only go three days right now.

Sleep: Well, that is hit and miss. I know that my older friends (haha, I’m fast becoming one of them) cut out caffeine more and more. So far I’m not willing to give up my afternoon coffee and my evening diet Coke. But I go to bed at a normal time and wake up at a normal time. I rarely set an alarm. It seems like 7 hours is good for me. Sometimes a take a melatonin before bed if my mind is racing or I have not slept well for a few nights.

For a retired person, I think I have a fairly disciplined life. I start every day doing some sort of housework. And then I spend a large amount of time every day working on my art in my studio. When I am done in the studio, that is usually when I go to the gym or take the dogs for a walk. I spend most of the evening working on my quilted embroidery. Of course, I work a bit in the garden every day. I could do a lot more out there, but bending over… well, you know.

I hope this review is helpful for someone. I know it was helpful for me to think about all the healthy habits I have worked on and maintained over the years. I personally think that it is much healthier to eat well, exercise, and get a decent amount of sleep even if you never achieve your “ideal” weight.

19 thoughts on “My Healthy Life

  1. Debbie. I’m a nurse practitioner and I only say that to tell you I’m steeped in science and research-not feel good magazine articles! (Also a TQS member from year 1)!
    I have followed you for years, fought the good fight several years, and would suggest you rear for a scientific explanation of what is going on in our brains when we are eating what we eat. She was recently on The Doctors (I didn’t see it) but I have also followed her for several years.
    Her very, very, current science makes sense to me and I’m really looking more closely at ‘when’ I eat and how long between meals i.e. Leptin and Serotonin.
    Check it out. She will send you an email explanation and you can decide if it makes sense to you!
    Good luck with your path. BRW, I’m 72 years young and retired!

  2. Reading my email and here is this addendum to my previous note about Bright Line Eating.

    Seriously though, there’s something special about this particular interview.

    It’s a conversation between me and Patricia Gift.

    Who is Patricia Gift?

    She’s the Editorial Director at Hay House.

    And what does that mean?

    It means that she’s the gate-keeper. She chooses the books that Hay House does—and doesn’t—publish. Which means that people fall all over themselves to get her eye. She’s…popular. 😉

    And when Bright Line Eating came across her desk back in late 2015, she took notice. We wowed her, and she decided to offer a publishing contract to me and Bright Line Eating.

    But, not just that, she chose to edit my book herself.

    She doesn’t really do that anymore, at least not much. Out of the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of proposals she sees and decides on, she personally edits maybe two per year.

    And, in 2016, Bright Line Eating was one of them.

    Needless to say, Patricia Gift and I have a very special relationship.

    This 73-minute interview is one you won’t want to miss.

    Register now to listen for FREE.

    With love,

  3. Thanks for your brave story. It is the path, in some form, that many of us walk. Gain weight, lose a little, gain more, lose less, over and over for years and years. All we can do is try. For years I kept my WW booklets, which I started attending when I was maybe 15 pounds overweight. It’s almost comical. In my late 40s I got busy and actually DID lose the weight, before my 50th birthday. Then my husband got cancer, and half of it crept back on. When he passed, I got busy again and lost the 30. Now I’m fluctuating around 2-5 extra pounds, but I really watch. No calorie counting or points, just eating real food, less meat, less processed flour, sugar, no artificial sweeteners, with an emphasis on serving size. Right now, I’m not in pain, so I feel for you. It can’t be easy, but you’re figuring things out. Anyway, I always read your blogs, (both, I’m a quilter, too). Take care.

  4. I love how you have looked at where you are at now, where you were, and how things have changed. The long and short of it is that you’re still miles ahead of where you were, and you are so right – most “losers” regain everything back, so congrats, my friend – you’re still a loser! 😉

    Your tip on butter is a good one. I love butter sometimes, and having it premeasured out like that would help me to think about portion size better. And for what it’s worth, the fact that you do any kind of exercise that involves your bone-on-bone knees is extremely admirable to me. Most people, given that kind of pain, would end up sitting in their recliner. I’m very excited for your knee surgery and for you to be able to walk without pain soon!

    • Haha, I have a good recliner and I never sit in it! I am thinking about moving it to my “favorite spot” because I think it’d be easier to get up out of after my knee surgery. Thanks for your kind comments!

  5. “This will probably turn into a chicken blog very soon.” This made me laugh right out loud. I am happy and excited for you to get your little chicks.

    So much good information and wisdom in this post. I love how you explain your revolution of losing weight and maintenance and how your eating has evolved along with that.

    I like that you’ve evolved from no fat to good fats. Like you I am an old fat-free (but thus high sugars usually) WW from long ago. Here I am eating avocado, using a little butter, olive oil, etc. and not gaining huge amounts of weight – and food does taste better!

    It’s wonderful that you continue to search for ways to keep moving even though your knee is hot mess. I agree with Shelley’s sentiment that most folks would just give up.

    Thank you for sharing with us – lots of things I needed to remember written right here.

    • Thanks Helen. So interesting about the whole low fat thing. Its not a bad background to have. But it took me many years before I would even consider adding just a bit of butter to anything.

  6. I love your butter tip! Such a great idea. 🙂 I like seeing your evolution here – I came of age in the No Fat era too and it is still hard for me sometimes to wrap my brain around the fact that avocados and real butter are good for me.

    “When I take a walk and everything hurts so much, that makes me feel bad about myself. It makes me feel like I am a failure and that if I kept my weight down, I wouldn’t hurt and would be a more successful person. Intellectually I know that is not true. But that’s what it makes me feel like. So that is one reason I have had trouble writing this.” <—-I'm so sorry about this, and I totally understand it. Although I don't have knee issues, I walked with my husband for about an hour on Monday after work and I was huffing and puffing the entire time, which made me feel like an out of shape loser, and made me feel like I had let myself down. Like, maybe if I were a different (read: better) person, I wouldn't have let my weight get so out of control to begin with. Anyway, those negative voices can really do a number on a person! I try to let them go as quick as they come, but sometimes that shadow hangs over me longer than I'd like.

    I think you will be so pleased with how much you can do after your knee surgery.
    And I for one, want to see as many chick-pics as you can post!! 🙂


    • Well, I’m glad someone will be happy to see chick pics. I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of them in the year to come 🙂

      Yep, the negative voices can do a number on me. I’m still working on that.

  7. I gained so much weight on the Snackwell cookie diet. Remember those? LOL Like you, I found reducing fat helped, but not eliminating it and certainly changing which type of fat I eat helped tremendously.

    I can’t wait to see your baby chicks. Any baby animal is just adorable!

    • Believe it or not, I never ate a Snackwell cookie! I think they just came out at a period in my life where I was not dieting.

  8. Debby, you’re doing great. You have such a well rounded, interesting life. Wonderfully creative, and a fellow dog lover, quilter, and pain sharer! If I didn’t tell you before, try to make sure your regular sitting places are not too low. My sofa needed bolstering up with firm pillows, quilts and whatever I could come up with. (also my toilet seat- with a foot rest, occasionally) Most of my pain was getting up or down. You will be so glad when this is over! Remember you can call me anytime with knee questions, or if you need anything. You’re not that far away. Best wishes!
    Barb in El Dorado Hills

  9. Debbie you’ve always been an inspiration to me. The fact that you are still trying every single day to live a healthy life and your best life… thats what matters… I had a thought about the trouble of bending over in your garden…. You know i’ve always loved raised beds… and i know it might be a little late to do that in your lovely garden now or maybe you could raise a bed a year or something… But i think it would keep you gardening longer as you age.. Maybe a raised bed with a ledge that you could sit on while you weed or play with the plants… Love hearing about your garden and your soon to be chicks… just your life in general. You are an amazing woman. Hugs! deb

    • Hi Deb! Thanks for the thoughts. You gave me an idea. All of my beds are raised beds. They just aren’t raised that high (8-12 inches.) Still, I could sit on the edges of them when I need to weed instead of doing my straight-leg bend-over. That is just a very bad habit that I have had for years.

  10. Hi Debby, You are such an inspiration in all you do! Kudos on your weight loss. I have a skinny friend and she weighs everyday and when the scales go up two pounds –she get it off.
    Not such a mountain to climb. Easy to say! Love your garden, your beautiful flowers, your quilts, even the chickens !! You get so much accomplished!! Keep it up.

  11. Hi Debby, I was having trouble with my knee hurting getting up from my chair and bought ( on the internet) a 5 inch deep extra firm foam pillow -cut to the size of the cushion in the chair and had to remove the regular cushion —– but my knee quit hurting! And watch how you get in the car–sit first and swing the legs in. Good Luck!!

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