I’ve been working with Anne to lose weight and reshape her relationship with food for almost a year. In that time, she’s lost 22 pounds and 11.5 inches, which is even more significant when you realize that she’s less than 5 feet tall and will be 72 in December. Losing weight when you’re that small means you must take a measured and patient approach, but her consistency and results are worth celebrating! She’s also dramatically improved all of her health markers, including her cholesterol and blood pressure, because she’s been focused on eating high-quality, whole food.
Life and what your body is capable of does change as you age, but there is so much we can control and influence through lifestyle to improve our quality of life. Anne’s example is one we can call learn from when we start feeling like we are stuck or age is working against us. Here are her starting pictures in the middle of October 2016 to compare to her photos in August 2017. Same shirt, same now hidden shorts, but I think the hero image of her at the top of this blog with her great niece in downtown Houston really shows how well she’s doing.
Like so many people, some weeks are better than others, but Anne keeps at it and the results have been life changing. It’s worth noting that in her check-ins over the last month she’s noted jumping on the trampoline with her grandsons and playing laser tag with her granddaughters. Anne is all in on living life to the fullest and not allowing her age to define her. She just returned from a 10-day trip to France where she had limited control of what the menu was and limited Wi-Fi access for logging and tracking her food, which has been critical to her success.
I suggested that before she left she write down all the things that she’s doing at home to make re-entry easier when she gets back from France, so she’s not relying on memory and potentially having to re-learn lessons. She built a full checklist to reference, so she can keep making progress when she gets home.
Her recap was so complete and so thorough, with her permission, I’m sharing it here. There’s little magic to a healthy diet, but it does take planning and conscious thought. You’ll note that she’s keenly aware of how much protein, fat, carbs and fiber she eats in a day in addition to calories and is primarily eating whole food. She’s retired, so she does have time to shop and cook, but don’t think she’s sitting at home for all of her meals. Like everyone else, she’s constantly mindful of how all the pieces in her day come together and managing social situations thoughtfully, so she continues to make progress against her goals. In full disclosure, Anne is also my mother, but I work with her as I do all of my clients.
Here’s what works for her and might help you too:
Lately, I’ve been doing better about staying on program and it seems like my weight is starting to trend downward again instead of being in somewhat of a holding pattern. The things that I have done that are working best for me are:
- Grocery shopping: Staying on top of what groceries we need to have on hand, especially fresh veggies, both for cooking and for salads. The same applies to meats and fish.
- Cooking: Getting things cooked in a timely manner.
- Making a plan: Planning my whole day of food at the beginning of the day, or even the night before, works best for me. If possible, I go ahead and prep the food, for at least one meal, ahead of time. In other words, prep both my lunch and my morning snack right after I’ve had breakfast. Since I’ve just eaten, I’m not as tempted to snack while I’m prepping the food. Likewise, right after lunch, I prep my afternoon snack and my evening meal. By taking this approach, if something unexpected comes up and I eat something I hadn’t planned, I can rework the plan so that my macros will still be within my guidelines.
- Breakfast: Having both protein and carbs for breakfast, e.g. with eggs, have some fruit or a veggie and if I have oatmeal, have a protein-rich snack in the morning. On my egg days, I sometimes have a banana if I have plenty of fiber planned for the rest of the day.
- Lunch and dinner: Having a large salad for either lunch or dinner with added chicken breast or a side of fish. Sometimes I have some fruit at lunch, such as berries or an apple. 99 percent of the time, I just put balsamic vinegar on my salad. Frequently, I add berries to my salad. Lately, I’ve started adding about 12 grams of goat cheese. It does worlds for a salad and it has very little fat because it takes so little cheese. My salad usually has a spinach base with red bell pepper, carrots and cherry tomatoes.
- Choosing snacks carefully: I tend to lean toward fruit, and I’m trying to get in the habit of reaching for veggies. I love almond butter and work that in when I can. I also love mangoes and they have amazingly few carbs to be as sweet as they are. They have virtually no fiber, though, so you still must plan for them. (I really pay attention to my fiber to make sure I get enough in my day). Lately, I’ve been having protein shakes when I’m a little low on protein. I eat jerky, too, but not too much lately. It seems like you get a lot of protein for just a little jerky, so I must be careful to not go overboard there.
- Dinner: Having chicken, fish or sometimes pork (assuming I planned for the extra fat) for dinner. I will have some veggies if I had my salad at lunch.
- A treat: Having some Kombucha as an after dinner snack. My favorites are Gingerade and Gingerberry by Synergy.
- Moderation: Cutting back some on the amount of coconut milk I use in my coffee has really helped. It allows me to have a little more fat to use other places. That’s been nice!
- Exercise: Getting in four to five workouts a week, and sometimes even getting in six. I continue to strengthen my right arm, which is still at a deficit from my shoulder surgery several years ago. I need to do at least some conditioning on my arm daily. The cool thing is that when I do that, I feel like going on to more strengthening exercises.