Happy Birthday – Part 2

It is a year and a half since we started writing this blog. At that time I weighed 165 lbs and felt happy that I had gotten my weight down from 176 lbs the year before, but I felt no certainty that I could maintain my weight there. In my experience I never had before. I hoped to keep my weight steady, but felt no certainty about it.

In the past 18 months I have not only maintained my weight, but lost a further 10 to 15 lbs and more importantly gained a complete confidence that I can maintain my weight at that level.

What changed? Well, writing the blog was a major element. Instead of my weight situation being something in the background of my life, I focused on it clearly every day. I stopped eating things just because they tasted good. The demands of the blog to learn and write something relevant to the battle of the bulge that we are all fighting yielded tons of useful information to me and, hopefully, our more than 600 blog items have benefited our readers, as well.

I learned about portion control, something I had never even considered as relevant to me personally, yet a quick look at Number 10 on our How to lose weight – and keep it off page shows the startling changes in the past 20 years on how portion sizes have gotten completely out of control. I even got a food scale and use it daily.

The Stadium Cup item two days ago is a good example of the portion control situation. A bagel was 3 inches in diameter and 140 calories 20 years ago, today it has a 6 inch diameter and runs 350 calories. Ditto, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and portion sizes in general at fast food eateries. Getting a handle on the size of your food servings is a great first step in weight control.

I also have a clearer understanding of the nature and value of exercise. I always thought that there were only two reasons for exercise: you exercised to burn off fat or to build up muscles. It turns out that our bodies have a much more serious and regular need for exercise than just those.

We need to exercise daily even if we are eating reasonably and are already at our proper weight. Working our muscles stops atrophy. Use it or lose it. Our muscles and organs need the oxygen provided by solid cardiovascular exercise. And the major organ fed by exercise is the brain. That was a startling revelation to me. That the brain benefited from exercise, indeed, exercise slows the aging process dramatically. It actually creates new cells in the brain. Additionally, it helps to keep the memory process in seniors at peak levels.

In the past 18 months I have learned a lot about stress, stress management and on the other side of the coin, relaxation. On first glance, it may seem that such subjects are off-point in a diet, exercise and weight loss blog. But, as many blog items have indicated, there is a great deal of emotional eating going on and anything that helps to reduce the damage of stress is useful in general health as well as weight loss.

Ditto sleep. We have run numerous articles on the nature and value of a good night’s sleep. Can inadequate sleep hinder weight loss? Do seniors need less sleep? These are questions we have answered with blog posts in the past 18 months.

Lastly, I have learned tons about the previously mentioned brain, that three pound organ that burns as much as 25% of our daily calories. Is that not a mind-boggling fact? Certainly, the more we know about this engine that literally runs our body, the better off we are in every respect.

Regular readers know that we have also increased our coverage of issues that concern seniors such as memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and reduced abilities in general. I consider these to be general health issues that are or will be relevant to each of us sooner or later. As a senior citizen myself, they are a part of my daily life.

That is how I personally have benefited from the blog in the past year and a half. My success is a direct result of information in the blog. If I can do it, you can too.

If you have enjoyed the blog and gotten some benefit, please do as John suggested and tell a friend. You’ll feel better for sharing and we will, too. Who knows where we will grow from here?

Tony

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Filed under brain, calories, Exercise, portion size, relaxation, sleep, stress, Weight

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