How do you maintain a healthy diet?

Tommy

Member
Location
New Hampshire
As we get older our metabolism slows down and some of us tend to put on weight. That's where I found myself a year ago, so I made the decision to try a personal experiment. I made a commitment to myself to clean up my food choices and to maintain a well balanced diet. No special exercise regimen, no fad diet, just that.

For the first part, I chose to seriously minimize my consumption of highly processed foods, refined sugars, fried foods, white flour, foods containing significant amounts of saturated fat, and alcohol. I found this to be much easier than it first sounded.

The second part involved keeping detailed records of what I eat. I don't know that many people could/would actually do this, but here I have two distinct advantages. One, I actually enjoy keeping records (an occupational hazard) and, two, my wife is an exceptionally good sport.

My dietary targets were to get less than half of my calories from carbs, less than 30 percent from fats, and at least 30 grams of dietary fiber per day. No limit on the total number of calories. I have to say, the results of my experiment fascinated and truly astounded me.

Initially, my daily calorie intake plummeted to around 1200/day. Eating the right foods in the right proportions, I just wasn't very hungry. After about a week, any cravings for junk food had all but vanished. By the end of eight months, I had lost over a third of my starting body weight and reached what I consider an ideal weight for me. I've maintained that weight for four months now. My caloric intake slowly increased to about 2000 calories per day and I sometimes have to remind myself to eat a bit more to keep from losing any more weight. And I've had to replace all of my size 42 waist pants with 36 waist.

The down side is coming to understand just how difficult it is to maintain those nutrient ratios. Many good fiber sources come with a lot of carbs. Protein is often accompanied by high fat content. I'm wondering if there is a good way to maintain a healthy nutrient balance without having to record every single thing one eats.
 

Congratulations, Tommy! It certainly seems like you are on a good track.

I think as you continue to follow your above choices in your diet you will eventually (soon?) realize that you do not have to continue to keep a food diary. Your eating will just become usual, customary and natural.

For me, after retiring from work I soon realized that my daily caloric requirement was way less than what I could burn off when working. So now I just eat a large breakfast of about 3-4 cups of fresh fruit with almonds and low fat yogurt, then eat a dinner around 5 PM. I really try to eat whole grain products, a small portion of very lean meat and plenty of vegetables. I have completely cut out snacking and really try to cut down on salt intake.

Somewhat like your story, after following this eating style I have dropped about 15 pounds (I am 5' 10" and 155 pounds) and still maintain my 32" waist but still may drop an additional 5 pounds. I also play pickleball 2-3 times a week to get in my cardio exercise.

There was a thread recently about "Living to Eat or Eating to Live". You can put me firmly into the latter.

...
 

Aunt Bea

Well-known Member
Location
Near Mount Pilot
As we get older our metabolism slows down and some of us tend to put on weight. That's where I found myself a year ago, so I made the decision to try a personal experiment. I made a commitment to myself to clean up my food choices and to maintain a well balanced diet. No special exercise regimen, no fad diet, just that.

For the first part, I chose to seriously minimize my consumption of highly processed foods, refined sugars, fried foods, white flour, foods containing significant amounts of saturated fat, and alcohol. I found this to be much easier than it first sounded.

The second part involved keeping detailed records of what I eat. I don't know that many people could/would actually do this, but here I have two distinct advantages. One, I actually enjoy keeping records (an occupational hazard) and, two, my wife is an exceptionally good sport.

My dietary targets were to get less than half of my calories from carbs, less than 30 percent from fats, and at least 30 grams of dietary fiber per day. No limit on the total number of calories. I have to say, the results of my experiment fascinated and truly astounded me.

Initially, my daily calorie intake plummeted to around 1200/day. Eating the right foods in the right proportions, I just wasn't very hungry. After about a week, any cravings for junk food had all but vanished. By the end of eight months, I had lost over a third of my starting body weight and reached what I consider an ideal weight for me. I've maintained that weight for four months now. My caloric intake slowly increased to about 2000 calories per day and I sometimes have to remind myself to eat a bit more to keep from losing any more weight. And I've had to replace all of my size 42 waist pants with 36 waist.

The down side is coming to understand just how difficult it is to maintain those nutrient ratios. Many good fiber sources come with a lot of carbs. Protein is often accompanied by high fat content. I'm wondering if there is a good way to maintain a healthy nutrient balance without having to record every single thing one eats.
Congratulations!

It seems like your records/food journal would provide the information you need to create a series of basic menus that meet your daily requirements. Then maybe a little tweaking of your basic plan as the seasons change or to accommodate special occasions.

Thanks for sharing your story it's very encouraging.
 

Tommy

Member
Location
New Hampshire
Original Poster
Thanks all. I neglected to mention that a few months after starting this experiment, I was able to discontinue the statin drug I had been taking. The doc said my cholesterol levels are now fine without it.

I am developing somewhat of a feel for the way specific foods come together. For instance, I know that when I have a breakfast of oatmeal, fruit, and yogurt, I will have to really focus on getting enough protein and healthy fats for the rest of the day. But at this point I think the record keeping will have to continue for a while.

treeguy64, I think it's great that your approach works for you and I greatly admire your active lifestyle. I have several relatives who are very happy as vegans, but I don't think it would ever work for me. It's too much of a struggle for me to get enough good protein in my day as it is.

I did try to create some "set daily menus" early on without much luck, but I may try that again. We do have some specific meals, particularly lunches and suppers, that we often go to offset nutrient imbalances.

I truly appreciate all of your thoughts and words of encouragement.
 

win231

Senior Member
Location
CA
Actually, our metabolism doesn't slow down as we age. What happens is we start losing muscle mass due to both age and less activity. Muscle is the only tissue that is metabolically active - which means it uses up calories even when we're at rest. The more muscle we have, the more calories will be used. Losing it leads to more calories stored. That's why exercise is important - especially weight-bearing exercise which maintains muscle mass. But exercise has to be age appropriate to prevent injury.
Re: Healthy Diet: I make sure my diet includes 70% fruits & vegetables. No limits on nuts (despite what you may have heard, they don't cause weight gain; the fat in nuts is healthy fat). I limit processed foods - bread, pasta, chips, anything made with flour etc.

That's what works for me - & I've had a terrible weight problem since birth. 405 lbs. 38 years ago; 170 past 11 years.
 
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Catlady

Senior Member
Location
Southern AZ
Actually, our metabolism doesn't slow down as we age. What happens is we start losing muscle mass due to both age and less activity. Muscle is the only tissue that is metabolically active - which means it uses up calories even when we're at rest. The more muscle we have, the more calories will be used. Losing it leads to more calories stored. That's why exercise is important - especially weight-bearing exercise which maintains muscle mass. But exercise has to be age appropriate to prevent injury.
Aha, weightlifting is the ONLY exercise I like to do. I've been doing squats to help me with lower body strength and it's already working. I will have to add more weight and different exercises to increase my muscle mass. Thanks!
 

win231

Senior Member
Location
CA
Aha, weightlifting is the ONLY exercise I like to do. I've been doing squats to help me with lower body strength and it's already working. I will have to add more weight and different exercises to increase my muscle mass. Thanks!
We just have to be extra careful with weightlifting when we're older. It's easy to get hurt. I lift weights about twice/month, but I reduced the weight from 10 years ago.
 

ClassicRockr

Well-known Member
Since we are both Diabetic II, we watch our diet, but not that much. No longer have any sugar, except Splenda for my coffee. Quit eating frozen dinners/pot pies due to the amount of sodium in them. Still drink Bud Light, but not the 12oz cans anymore. Only the 8oz ones. Buy milk in 1/2 gallon, instead of gallon. Both save us money and keep us from throwing milk (outdated) and beer that was left over.

Still love our shrimp, meat (as in bacon/sausage, burgers, prime rib and rib eye. Mac & Cheese. Fried and sometimes mashed potatoes. Pizza. And, so on.
 

Catlady

Senior Member
Location
Southern AZ
I follow www.nutritionfacts.org, which is run by Dr. Michael Gregor, physician and author. He recently had a video describing the wisdom of eating breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.
That makes sense since you have all day to process the food, instead of in bed sleeping. My only problem is that I am not that hungry in the morning or noon. I've heard the French have their biggest meal mid-day, don't know how true that is (or if they're thinner than Americans).
 
Drink a pot of coffee in the morning. Have a bowl of oatmeal (plain) and maybe a banana for breakfast. Then nothing until around 3pm. Eat a meal of chicken, spaghetti (wheat), maybe a burger, or if I don't feel all that hungry I'll have good old peanut butter and jelly. side order of either rice or potato depending on what I'm eating. Late night or early am (anytime between 11 pm and 4 am I might eat some nuts or raisins, That's it. If I get any craving during the day. I'll eat an orange. I also drink a lot of water through the day and if it's cold, wet and miserable, I'll drink hot chocolate or tea.
I don't lack for exercise... hauling in firewood, hauling out ashes, going out and chainsawing up more tree's for firewood, splitting and stacking wood, work on one of the too many vehicles, or do one of the many honey-do's.🙂
 

Ronni

The motormouth ;)
Location
Nashville TN
The down side is coming to understand just how difficult it is to maintain those nutrient ratios. Many good fiber sources come with a lot of carbs. Protein is often accompanied by high fat content. I'm wondering if there is a good way to maintain a healthy nutrient balance without having to record every single thing one eats.
I struggle with this too. For years I recorded everything on MyFitnessPal, an app on my phone. More recently I've changed the way I eat, because in spite of maintaining a 1500 calorie a day diet, and remaining active, I gained a few pounds. It's that pesky slower metabolism/decreased muscle mass thing :mad:

Within the last few months I've started following, loosely, a more Keto diet approach. I'm not in ketosis, but I've reduced my carb intake dramatically and upped my proteins. Lowering my carb intake has made me feel better, made it easier to lose the stubborn 4 lbs that just wouldn’t go away, helped my digestion. No more bread, grains, crackers, pasta etc., very limited potatoes and other starchy veggies but lots of the other ones, and plenty of salads. No sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup. One serving of fruit a day. I might steal a bite of rice or baked potato from Ron’s plate and about once a week I’ll eat whatever I want.

It’s been a good call for me. For the first time in years I'm not having to record everything I consume to maintain my weight. That's the upside. The downside is that my diet, except on the weekends, is pretty repetitive. I have a couple different things I'll eat for breakfast. A small serving of of the high protein low carb leftovers from dinner the night before for lunch, along with a salad and a sugar free jello for dessert. Dinner is a meat of some kind and non starchy/low carb veggies, and I'll cook some kind of carb for Ron...rice, baked potato, quinoa, etc, and usually steal one bite off his plate ;) Snacks are plain or vanilla greek yogurt, (greek is higher in protein lower in carbs) or non nitrate lunch meats like ham or turkey rolled around a stick of string cheese, or a "sandwich" of a piece of lunch meet and slice of cheese between two lettuce pieces. I still have a cocktail or glass of wine after work, but I'm careful to consume only sugar free sodas or flavors as cocktail mixers, and the wine is zinfandel because it's much lower in calories than my fave which is moscato.

One meal on the weekend I'll eat what I want. Usually we'll go out to eat and I'll order pasta or some other "forbidden" item, and have a yummy dessert. I know myself well, and if I didn't eat from the forbidden foods every so often, I'd binge on everything!! And defeat the purpose.
 

mikermeals

New Member
Location
Chicago
I am almost 65 and use the ELEM diet (eat less and exercise more) and it works out pretty well. I work out 6 days a week (pretty intense) eat a tiny breakfast and tiny lunch. Pretty big dinner (with no real limitations) with wine four nights a week and am able to keep my weight down...I eat sweets only one night a week...as you can't abstain from everything. No snacking in between meals. My dad died at an early age from Diabetes related illness so I am crazy about keeping my sugar down (I know wine has tons of sugar).
 

Nautilus

Member
I guess I'm lucky. I eat what, when and how much I choose. LOTS of bacon and eggs, steak, seafood, beer, wine and hot peppers. Age 71, 5'7", 158 lbs. For some reason, I never drink water except to take pills...maybe a quart/month total. If lost in the dessert, I'd be the last man standing.
 
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Catlady

Senior Member
Location
Southern AZ
One meal on the weekend I'll eat what I want. Usually we'll go out to eat and I'll order pasta or some other "forbidden" item, and have a yummy dessert. I know myself well, and if I didn't eat from the forbidden foods every so often, I'd binge on everything!! And defeat the purpose.
I'm curious, since you restrict your carbs during the week, how do you feel after that weekend ''no-no'' meal? Do you feel better or worse than when you restrict? I rather eat less than restrict my carbs, that's why I eat only once a day. It's the only way I can control my weight.

I agree, don't give up that one treat meal, it gives your body an incentive to eat the healthier way during the week.
 

Ronni

The motormouth ;)
Location
Nashville TN
I'm curious, since you restrict your carbs during the week, how do you feel after that weekend ''no-no'' meal? Do you feel better or worse than when you restrict? I rather eat less than restrict my carbs, that's why I eat only once a day. It's the only way I can control my weight.

I agree, don't give up that one treat meal, it gives your body an incentive to eat the healthier way during the week.
Other than....and excuse the tmi but you asked!....being kinda gassy, ;)I don’t really feel a lot different. Carbs do tend to mess with my digestion.

I don’t eat huge portions though. I don’t stuff myself. I usually take home a bunch of whatever I eat and Ron will have it for lunch a couple days.

Overeating will make me feel crappy and sap my energy way more that eating the “wrong” foods...wrong for me anyway.
 

Ruthanne

SF VIP
Location
Ohio, USA
I eat a good selection of healthy foods and have become mostly vegetarian. I also have treats in small amounts at times.

Moderation is a newer word I've followed most of the time for a couple years now. Berries and nonstarchy veggies mostly then nonfat plain yogurt and some walnuts.

I do have starches a bit too. I am having soy products as well and a little tuna but not much as I'm not crazy about it. I also have a small amount of whole grains and seeds. I enjoy sweet potato chips in moderation.
 

Lc jones

Senior Member
One somewhat large meal a day and two very small meals (salad or soup), I limit myself to 1400 calories per day and drink 36 oz. of water per day. I also try to exercise daily.
 

peppermint

Member
Location
East Coast
This is a hard one.....I did lose 10 pounds this last year....We are walking everyday and eating light most of the time...I am a salad person, but
sometimes I get hungry at night....Then I get a snack...I shouldn't but if I only have salad for dinner, I AM HUNGRY.....Jeez!!!!!
 

Lc jones

Senior Member
I have had a hard week we had two birthdays this week and I’m babysitting my grandson this weekend so too many snacks, but I’ll be back on board tomorrow 👍
 
Having worked out daily for almost 40 years now, and eating a heatlhy diet for the same time, I've never understood why it's at all a 'mystery' or 'difficult' for anyone to maintain a healthy diet. It's pretty simple to us.
We don't eat anything breaded and/or deep fried.
We never have desert in the house.
We never go to 'fast food' restaurants.
We make our own pizza on a regular basis.
We don't have a singular piece of meat with other foods on the side. Rather, we eat the way it's traditional in the rest of the world where any kind of meat is cut into pieces and put into a stew, casserole, stir-fry, etc. We only go through a pound or two of meat, per week, total for two of us.
We actually like veges, cereals, whole grain. We really like Thai and Indian food with various curries and spices. We really don't get how someone thinks deep fried battered fish is tasty, but unadulterated salmon is not. But, as stated in another thread, we don't like garlic so we're probably too different ;).

And yes, we make exceptions on holidays or get togethers with families. That means we will have burgers, commercial pizza, deserts, junk food, etc. Again, it's pretty simple to us. The grocery stores have endless good foods and endless spices to flavor foods and the internet has endless tasty, healthy, easy recipes.
 

CatGuy

New Member
Location
St. Louis, MO
I've struggled with weight also, and although I'm well down from my peak of about 10 years ago, I added 10 lbs over the holidays, and it's tough getting it off. I've started a food diary, and am planning on checking out the intermittent fasting idea with my wife. I've now set myself a goal to be under 200 before I retire at the end of August: that means losing 16 or more pounds between now and then, about 2.5 pounds a month. Ambitious, but doable, provided I maintain some discipline. Of course, if I had an abundance of discipline, I wouldn't need to lose the 16 pounds!
 


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