LK from Illinois writes: “I read your articles weekly in The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. I eat well and cook at home. I am 175cm tall and 167 years old. I exercise three times a week with Silver Baskets and nine-hole golf on a cart I just lost nine pounds due to self-resolving health issues How can I start eating again without gaining those nine pounds back?
Portion control was a downfall for me because I rationalize that what I eat is healthy, so fill my dinner-sized plate! Looks like I have the answer, don’t I! I would still like to have your comments and suggestions!”
Yes, you have the answer, LK When it comes to gaining weight, it really is true that we can get too much of a good thing. In fact, I thought you had all the answers before clarifying that you were only 67 and not 167.
Your letter identifies a major challenge for us as we age. After 60, our body needs more of certain nutrients (like calcium). At the same time, we also need fewer calories than we had in our younger years.
How do we do that? Take a look at your current food choices. Many older Americans do not get enough essential nutrients from foods such as fruits, whole grains, dairy products (high in calcium), and vegetables, especially reds and oranges. And we tend to consume too many calories from treats loaded with sugar and fat, especially the saturated type. We need to reverse these roles.
This is where portion control can be a real friend. Let’s say you’ve prepared a perfectly balanced meal: a small portion of protein like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, soy, or cheese; a cup of vegetables; a serving of a whole-grain food like bread, crackers, or brown rice; and a cup of calcium-fortified milk or soy or another beverage.
But then there are those cookies in the cupboard…
You can choose to have one or two. Or decide instead to cut some fresh fruit into a nice bowl and enjoy their natural sweet taste. It’s a way to fuel your body with essential nutrients without wasting your calories for the day.
It’s good for you to exercise regularly and choose healthy meals. Another strategy that will prevent you from gaining weight is simple: step on the scale once a week. If you see anything rising, reduce your portions, paying particular attention to low-nutrient supplements such as sweets, fats, and alcohol.
I hope this helps you. Thanks for writing.