I am 76 and Still Gettin’ my Kicks

My birthday celebration started Sunday when I went over to my brother Mike’s for dinner. He and his wife prepared a gourmet meal with an entree of lamb chops and spanakopita (made from scratch). My girlfriend and I enjoyed a delicious meal to kick off birthday festivities.

 

A friend of mine decorated this shot of me and Gabi last year for my birthday.

A friend of mine decorated this shot of Gabi and me a while back for my birthday.

I was thinking about how happy and lucky I am to be enjoying such good health on my 76th birthday. I can honestly say that although retired for 16 years, I am healthier and happier than 20 years ago when I was in the midst of an active and exciting career.

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Gourmet dinner on Sunday night.

One of the main reasons I feel like I have things so together is this blog. I started writing it in March of 2010 with a partner who has since left for other pursuits. From the beginning, I discovered a focus. At first it was simply trying to keep my weight down. I learned portion control and serving size. This Italian guy was surprised to learn that a “serving” of pasta was not a 10 inch plate heaped with spaghetti noodles smothered in tomato sauce. No, a serving of pasta is about the size of a baseball. Incredibly, that was a revelation to me. But I put the information to use. I began to reduce my portions accordingly. I am not going to recount all the lessons I learned in the past nearly six years, but if you want to get control of your weight, check out my Page – How to Lose Weight – and Keep it Off.

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I am not a giant Minions fan, but thought this was worth sharing.

Regular readers know that the blog now covers a far broader scope than just losing weight. I am convinced that is a simple problem easily dealt with once you put your mind to it. I have expanded the blog’s purview to include the understanding that healthy eating is healthy living and healthy aging. If you do it right, you can live a long, healthy and happy life with your mental faculties intact the whole way. My family has both Alzheimer’s and dementia, so my brain continuing to work is something I am very concerned about. I am proud to say that I have one of the few blogs that ties exercise to a healthy brain. Check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain – and Exercise to learn more.

I’m sorry if this paragraph sounds like bragging; that is not my intention. I just want to document that I not only talk the talk, but I walk the walk. My resting heart rate is under 50. My cholesterol under 200; the HDL (the good cholesterol) is around 85. I am 5 feet 9-1/4 inches tall (vs 5 feet 11 inches 10 years ago). I weigh just under 155 pounds and have a 32 inch waist. That is about the same as when I was a senior in high school in 1957. At present I take no medication except Flomax for my prostate. I have weighed in the mid 150’s for five years.

I wanted to share this information with you because so many people I run into who are in their late 50’s and 60’s appear to be giving up on their health and conditioning. They act like it’s over. The phrase ‘I’m gettin’ old’ bubbles out of their mouths frequently. A lot of the posts I write for this blog are meant to demonstrate that by focusing on your eating and making sure you get adequate exercise you can continue to enjoy yourself for many years.

My ‘go to’ exercise is riding my bike. I average over 100 miles a week year ’round here in Chicago. Last year it totaled just under 6000 miles.

It’s up to you now. I have to go get ready. My girlfriend is taking me out for a fancy dinner tonight.

I wish you all good luck!

Tony

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7 Free Ways To Fight The Effects Of Aging

It’s always gratifying to see someone else agreeing with my own ideas. There are some good ones here.

To read further on prolonged sitting, check out my Page – Do You Know the Dangers of Too Much Sitting?

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For further benefits of exercise, check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits).

On being happy, check out How About a Quick Tool to Measure your Happiness.

Tony

Our Better Health

By Dr. Agnes Frankel    October 3, 2014 

The essence of anti-aging medicine is not only prolonging one’s life span, but to ensure that we are experiencing life while being our best, most vibrant, energetic and healthy self — whether in our 20s or 60s.

Think of your body as an ocean full of beautiful underwater life. When the water is dirty there is no way the colorful fish will stay healthy and vital. The same goes for your cells and organs — when their environment becomes polluted they get weaker and die prematurely, meaning they AGE!

That’s why the key is to be focused on proactive actions that will help your body and mind stay balanced in their best and most optimum state. Let me share with you some easy yet powerful tips that, when implemented, will set you up to win and thrive every single day of your…

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How Dangerous is Shoveling Snow?

It is the New Year and also for many of us the onset of snow shoveling season. If you are a reader on the East Coast, where the El Nino blizzard hit, please be aware that in terms of your body shoveling snow is not a totally innocent activity.

While I strongly support calorie burning exercises to build up your cardiovascular system and other benefits, it is important to know your limits. If you are not currently working out or don’t consider yourself to be “in condition,” please think twice before you grab that snow shovel and race out to clear the walk.

The American Journal of Emergency Medicine reported that more than 195,000 people were treated in U.S. Emergency Rooms for snow-shovel-related incidents from 1990 to 2006. This is an average of 11,500 individuals per year. Keep in mind that this information only covers folks who actually went to the ER for treatment. Plenty more stayed home and nursed their wounds ….

About 2/3 of these incidents occurred among males. Children younger than 18 made up 15.3% of the cases. Older adults (above 55 years) accounted for more than 20%.
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More Weight Loss and Fitness Funnies

A funny thing happened to me on my weigh to the health club.

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Clearly an ad from the 1940’s. Today’s Wondy would never do this.

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Have a great week!

 

Tony

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You Can Slow Down Brain Drain

Regular readers know that I have a serious interest in brain health as three of my family members have suffered from dementia in general or Alzheimer’s in particular.

Now comes Neuroscience News reporting, “Individuals who participated in high challenge activities like quilting and photography showed enhanced brain activity, according to a new Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience report.

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“One of the greatest challenges associated with the growing numbers of aged adults is how to maintain a healthy aging mind. Taking up a new mental challenge such as digital photography or quilting may help maintain cognitive vitality, say researchers reporting in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience.”

I would like to add that in my experience attending the Healthy Transitions (over age 55) group talks at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, on the various aspects and challenges of aging, the most popular and avidly attended talks are the ones on Alzheimer’s and brain health. All of us folks over 55 have suffered ‘senior moments’ and are hungry for information on protecting against brain drain. Continue reading

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Don’t OutEat Your Exercise

The item yesterday on mall-walking presented a really clear example of a well-intentioned exercise outing possibly resulting in going overboard on calorie consumption. Since it all happened within an hour or so, it was very straight forward.

Consider this a variation on that theme.

A couple of years ago, I was counting up my bike riding miles. On November 28 I had a total of 3493 miles. I figured I was a cinch to reach my goal of 3500 miles for the year. There were two days left of November and the entire month of December. How could I miss getting another 7 miles?

Benefits of bike riding

Then came the snow and the ice and the freeze and winter’s winds. Chicago became Narnia under the spell of the White Witch. I looked out my window each morning and felt like a little kid who couldn’t go out and play.

At that point I was only weighing myself weekly so I didn’t catch on to what was happening for a while. The first week went by and I was unable to ride my bike. I gained 3 lbs. I didn’t take it too seriously because I know that water retention and elimination can through your weight off by a couple of pounds.
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Mall-Walking is Good for You, But …

You probably already have heard about mall-walking, right? Groups of seniors gather in shopping malls to get their exercise walking in a heated/air-conditioned area with clean rest rooms available. Mall-walking is a good way for folks to socialize as well as accomplish a daily exercise session.
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A downside to mall-walking, however, is that after the walk folks get together at a food court for breakfast or a snack. As I mentioned in the portion control posts, muffins in food courts often pack 400+ calories into their tasty outsized shapes.

At a rate of 100 calories per mile, you would need to walk over four miles to break even on this transaction. If you only walked two miles, about a half hour, you would be 200 calories in deficit after your exercise.

You really do need to keep focused about your eating in relation to your exercise.

Don’t Out-Eat your Exercise.

This is not meant to discourage you from walking in malls or otherwise. Walking in my opinion is the Cinderella of the exercise world – vastly unappreciated. Check out Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health, How Good is Walking for You? – Infographic, How to Burn More Calories Walking – Infographic, Is Walking as Effective an Exercise as Running?, Why You Should be Walking More.

Tony

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Men & Women & Weight … loss

Men and women have significantly different approaches to their body weight. In a very real way they look at the same thing and come up with different conclusions.

As I mentioned in the About Me section of this blog, I have taken a course in Nutrition from The Great Courses.

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It is really well done, taught by Professor Roberta H. Anding Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital M.S., Louisiana State University.

In the lecture on obesity, Professor Anding points out that boys grow up and out under the puberty and they add lean muscle mass through testosterone. Girls, however, grow up and fill out under the influence of estrogen. They add body fat which is perfectly normal, but many girls are troubled by this. They see their brothers looking lean and they feel ‘fat’ by comparison.

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What to do when your body asks, “What Have You Done For Me Lately?”

Do you have a friend or acquaintance that always seems to be needing some kind of attention? No matter what you do, it never seems to be enough. It always feels like the person is saying, “What have you done for me lately?”

This is what we call high maintenance. Many folks, short of sainthood, try to shed these acquaintances if possible as they can never be satisfied.

Ironically, every one of us is in such a relationship literally ‘until death do us part.’ No, it isn’t with our spouse or significant other. It is the relationship we have with our own body.

Muscles

We wake up in the morning and the first thing we do is relieve the discomfort of a full bladder. Then we have to clean up. The next thing is to get some food/fuel into it. Probably also some kind of stimulant like tea or coffee with caffeine in it to jack up our alertness. The demands never seem to end.

We can heed these needs like the first ones and try to do justice by them, or we can play ostrich and ignore them hoping they will go away. Sadly, when we do this, we become our own worst enemy.

Our bodies demand food, but not just what tastes good to us. They need to be nourished or they won’t function properly and will start to deteriorate and break down in small ways at first. Over a period of time, the deterioration blossoms into some kind of real sickness that ultimately requires medical attention.

We need to learn the proper foods and quantities that will keep us healthy and satisfied without going overboard and creating a weight problem.

Also, our bodies must have exercise. The irrefutable law of the body is ‘use it or lose it.’ We can’t let the only exercise we have be jamming our heads into the sand and ignoring our own physical requirements. If we fail to exercise, our waistlines expand and our clothes never seem to fit right any more. And that is the least of our worries. Over a period of time, such neglect leads to true deterioration and disease, again requiring medical attention. Remember Exercise is Not Optional.

Maintaining a healthy happy body takes Focus, Effort and Discipline (FED). Decide to take the first step today… and a second step tomorrow. The road to good health is attainable. All you have to do is decide you will do what is necessary to get there and stay in that condition. You need good nourishing food in reasonable quantities and regular exercise.

When your body asks, “What have you done for me lately?” Make sure you have a good answer for it. What better time to start than now just after the start of a New Year?

Tony

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Calorie Restricting – How Far Can It go?

A recent issue of Science magazine says that all organisms benefit from cutting calories, suggesting that less complex organisms can double or even triple lifespan. More complex organisms, like humans, don’t have quite the same upside, but “those who practice the strict diet hope to survive past 100 years old,” the article continues.
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According to the issue of Science, experts report that “calorie restriction influences the same handful of molecular pathways related to aging in all animals that have been studied.”

Wikipedia reports, “Two main lifespan studies have been performed involving nonhuman primates (rhesus monkeys). One, begun in 1987 by the National Institute on Aging, published interim results in August 2012 indicating that CR confers health benefits in these animals, but did not demonstrate increased median lifespan; maximum lifespan data are not yet available, as the study is still ongoing. A second study by the University of Wisconsin beginning in 1989 issued preliminary lifespan results in 2009, and final results in 2014. It found that CR primates were only 36.4% as likely to die from age-related causes when compared with control animals, and had only 56.2% the rate of death from any cause.

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More Weight Loss Funnies

Some items that struck me funny on my way around the web.

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Wondy is always welcome here.

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Please don’t smoke. It kills you in more ways than you can imagine.

Tony

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Weight Control Tips from Harvard

The original focus of this blog was simply to lose weight. However, in the past nearly six years it has expanded to living a long healthy life without micromanaging the weight situation and finishing up with a fully functioning brain. Here is a good reminder from Harvard HealthBEAT no less that weight control covers a multitude of sins. Spoiler alert: You need to read to the very end for the full benefit of these tips.

“The tips below can help you shed pounds and keep them off:

“Move more. Exercise is one obvious way to burn off calories. But another approach is to increase your everyday activity wherever you can — walking, fidgeting, pacing while on the phone, taking stairs instead of the elevator.

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Is Hummus Good For You?

Everyone is familiar with hummus, right? That pasty substance made from crushed garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and sesame seeds and spices. Years ago you had to go to a Middle Eastern restaurant to get it, but now lots of restaurants serve this as a tasty appetizer with pita bread. You can even pick it up at the supermarket.

I am here to suggest that you take some home. Not from the restaurant. You can find it on many grocer’s shelves. I get the excellent Sabra brand at Costco in 2 lb tubs. Sabra calls this their secret recipe. I don’t know about that, but I do consider it the most delicious hummus I have ever had.
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But that is personal. Hummus itself is really good for you no matter the brand.

According to Wikipedia, “Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C, and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6. The chickpeas make it a good source of protein and dietary fiber; the tahini consists mostly of sesame seeds, which are an excellent source of the amino acid methionine, complementing the proteins in the chickpeas. Depending on the recipe, hummus carries varying amounts of monounsaturated fat. Hummus is useful in vegetarian and vegan diets and like other combinations of grains and pulses, when eaten with bread it serves as a complete protein.”
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Harvard Experts Criticize New Government Diet Guidelines

The U.S. government’s new Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limits on added sugars, sodium, and saturated fats; drop a previous limit on total fats, emphasizing healthy fats instead; and urge overall healthy eating patterns rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. But the new guidelines also have some troubling omissions, according to nutrition experts from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health who were quoted in various media outlets after the new guidelines were released on January 7, 2016.

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The experts also weighed in with an overview and critique of the new guidelines in an article on Harvard Chan School’s Nutrition Source.

Walter Willett, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School, told NBC News that he was disappointed that the new guidelines strayed from some key recommendations made last year by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), such as advice to cut back on red meat and sugary beverages. Continue reading

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Keen on Quinoa (Keen-wa)

Got a pleasant surprise in Costco the other day. Saw a giant display of four pound bags of Quinoa. Normally, quinoa is only sold at health food stores. You don’t find it in regular grocery stores often. Also, it usually sells in single pound boxes. This was the usual great Costco bargain, 4 lbs for $10.00, about half the price you would pay at a health food store.
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If you are one of the many who aren’t familiar with this “mother of all grains” according to the Incas, read on. First of all, it isn’t really a grain although it looks like one. It is a small seed. Smaller than rice, about the size of couscous.

Quinoa.net says that quinoa contains more protein than any other grain. An average of 16.2% vs 7.5% for rice, 9.9% for millet and 14% for wheat. Quinoa contains complete protein, all the essential amino acids, unlike corn, wheat and rice which are incomplete proteins.

Wikipedia says that It is also a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. It is gluten-free and easily digestible. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned space flights.

Dani Spies, culinary nutritionist and fitness trainer who has her own website at danispies.com did an excellent presentation on You Tube.


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Why You Should Not Cut Fats From Your Diet

A little knowledge is dangerous. Cutting out fats from our diets because they are ‘bad’ is a perfect example of that.

Not all fats are bad, according to the American Heart Association.

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Proper dietary guidelines say that fully 30% of our daily food calories intake should be in the form of fats. Also, 30% should be protein and 40% carbohydrates. So, fat is equally as important to us as protein.

Granted there are good fats and bad fats. The good fats serve important functions in our bodies. Life Clinic says, “Fat is the body’s major energy storage system. When the energy from the food you eat and drink can’t be used by your body, the body may turn it into fat for later use. Your body uses fat from foods for energy, to cushion organs and bones, and to make hormones and regulate blood pressure. Some fat is also necessary to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails, so you shouldn’t cut all fat out of your diet.”
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