My father used to tell me, “Jennifer your 40’s are great. It’s in your 50’s that the chips start to fall off the block.” Well I’m 56 and suddenly the chips are starting to fall! I’ve decided to make some lifestyle changes for better health and wellness.
All my life I’ve had to watch my weight and have yo yo dieted more times than I can count. My dieting days go way back to the Scarsdale Diet, Tab, Fresca, and Jack La Lanne.
I’ve been on Atkin’s, Weight Watchers (Many Versions), South Beach, Jenny Craig, Coffee and Cigarettes, Low Carb, No Carb, Keto, etc, etc.
In 2019, I gave up meat and dairy for Lent and pretty much haven’t gone back except when going out to eat, take out on weekends, or vacations. I never eat cake, cookies, sweets, or carbs besides an occasional pita bread unless its a celebration. I live mostly on fruits and vegetables in season. I have kept my weight at a healthy number. Recently I had two trips to the doctor where my blood pressure wasn’t its usual 110/70. First chip off the block!
During the pandemic with the gym closed, my daughter and I took up walking. We visited many preserves and went hiking on local trails, and began taking more than 60 minute walks a day around the neighborhood. Walking is good for the heart and I was surprised that my blood pressure was high. Regardless, regular walking is one habit I plan to keep for the remainder of my days.
In regards to my blood pressure, I looked more closely at my eating habits and discovered that grated parmesan cheese has plenty of sodium. I had not given this up because if you are Italian, you put grated cheese on everything. There’s an old saying, “You should stop talking to anyone who comments about the amount of grated cheese you use. Who needs that kind of negativity in your life?”
So, I replace the grated cheese with pepper and pretty quickly have brought my blood pressure back to its usual range. Apparently, my body is now sensitive to the amount of sodium I consume.
I recently had a physical, and as a stated my blood pressure was now normal, but I was very surprised to find out that my cholesterol was 216. Previously it was always in the 160’s. Another chip off the block!
I don’t eat meat and cheese, but I do eat eggs. I guess I was overdoing it with the eggs as my cholesterol showed. Now I have to go back in 3 months for another fasting blood test. This is the first time this has happened. Usually I just return annually. Another chip off the block!
I gave up the eggs. Now I’m down to fruit and vegetables and I added in whole oats and chick peas and black beans. One day a week, sometimes two we go out or get take out, but basically I eat zero animal products. This is my new norm for health and wellness.
During the pandemic while the gym was closed, I finally figured out how to utilize YouTube for exercise. I really like it! I can explore endless instructors and different kinds of exercise programs. Yoga and Pilates are my 2 main interest areas. I try a class and if I don’t like it, I can just changed it. It’s a definite plus. There’s no awkwardness about leaving a class or not returning to a class. I also don’t have to worry about what I wear which in Garden City you can it caught in that fashion trap. YouTube is great for a dog sitter because I don’t have to leave them and go off to the gym. The dogs all seem to know when its exercise time and usually doze off for a while. A Frenchie I watch always sits on the end of the mat and I work around him.
Recently my gym opened up and at first I decided I didn’t want to go back just yet, but then I had a change of heart. I returned for a couple of barre classes and Pilates, but found that my lower back was really acting up. Another chip off the block!
A couple of mornings I could barely walk and if I sat down too long I got really stiff. Well apparently I have sciatica and some other disc issues and visit a chiropractor regularly now. Another chip off the block!
Now I’m back to the vigorous walking and some hiking. Occasionally I get heel pain, but that seems to subside pretty quickly. I’m back on YouTube bouncing from Pilates, Yin Yoga, and Flow. I ordered 5 pound weights from Amazon to keep my arms firm because my weak triceps are another chip off the block.
My health and wellness in my mid 50’s is now regular walks, yoga and Pilates. No jumping and nothing too strenuous. The chiropractor is now a regular thing which I kind of enjoy because we have lively talks about politics.
I eat fruits and vegetables in season which is currently cantaloupe and apples. I buy blueberries year round no matter how much they cost. I make sautés of vegetables – currently red onions, peppers, and fresh spinach and mix in some beans and have a pita bread. Soon it will be time for air frying brussel sprouts and other winter veggies.
I do cheat on Saturdays and at celebrations. I have a few upcoming vacations planned too. I’m hoping that my commitment to my health and wellness on most days will pay off in the long run. I’ll return for my blood work in a few months and I’m sure without all the eggs I’ve was eating it will be well under 200.
I am blessed at 56 to be a “young 56” and I plan to fight for my health and wellness every step of the way. It is said that health is the real wealth. Without your health you don’t really have anything.