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Surrendering (A Little) to Aging But Not Weight Gain

hourglass with sand running outAging isn't easy and losing weight isn't either but keeping my calories to about 1,200 a day helps keep my A1C where it's supposed to be. (Photo: Unsplash, NeONBRAND)

The thought of getting older is making me crazy.  I have absolutely no idea how all these years have passed, yet here I am, and the mirror doesn’t lie. I recently read an interesting article in theOnTrackDiabetes eNewsletter about why many of us are “wired” to gain weight, which is especially true as we get older.  

Informative and well-written, registered dietitian Susan McQuillan did her homework and presented the facts well. (Read "Why We're Wired for Weight Gain" here for yourself.)Yeah, thanks a lot, Susan.

It’s bad enough that my strawberry blond hair is neither strawberry nor blond anymore, that some days, my hands look like they belong to Grandma Moses, and that I don’t recognize any music written after 1968. My current struggle to maintain my 110-pound weight loss—accomplished in stages over the past nine years—is with me on a daily basis. And now I have to worry about my age, in addition to calorie consumption, counting, tracking and avoiding? Oh, swell.

From '64 Mustang to Prius

I checked out this hypothesis with my favorite doc, the guy pretty much responsible for my success in this area, and an expert you’ve read about on this site over the past few years. Dr. Scott Cunneen, director of metabolic and bariatric surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, one of the smartest people I know, confirmed this information.  

A fan of car metaphors, Dr. Cunneen explained that as we get older, it takes fewer calories to run the machinery, so my body that he described as resembling the gas guzzler I drove as a youngster  (mine was a ’64 Mustang), has now morphed into a Prius, needing far less fuel than I’m used to providing. OK, I get it.  Mother Nature’s a B-word.  So what now?

While I have been advised not to make myself crazy if a few of these pounds find their way back, I am determined to beat the odds.  I hold a Lifetime Membership in Weight Watchers, so supposedly this should be a walk in the park.  Only it’s not.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Weight Watchers, a program that lets you eat actual food while attaining your goals.  Though I don’t necessarily agree with some of their newer concepts, if it works for you, go for it!  

What does work for me in this scenario is the realization that if you want to eat A, you’ll just have to give up B at the same time.  Have a little rice with dinner instead of a potato (or vice versa); not rice and a potatoIn my house, my Hawaiian-born husband describes the meals in Hawaii as containing the “five requisite starches—rice, potato salad, macaroni salad, Hawaiian bread and some variety of noodles, depending on which ethnic restaurant you’re visiting.”

One excellent reason for my staying on the Mainland.

With all the diets that are making headlines—and arriving almost daily via email—I have reverted to the old-fashioned habit of counting calories…sort of.  I estimate, I guesstimate, and I round UP, not down. I have found that approximately 1200 calories per day will keep my weight on an even keel, so I endeavor to kind of stay in that neighborhood.  That means good choices, every single day, eating in or eating out.

By the way, speaking of eating out, check out the calorie count on meal-sized salads in almost any restaurant.  Those 900, 1000, 1200-calorie salads are enough to ruin my appetite! (Hey, maybe that’s the point!) I make it a practice to only order dressing on the side, dip my fork cautiously, and perhaps most importantly, take half the salad home!

I am always on the lookout for food I can eat without guilt. A couple of examples are 50-calorie, high-fiber, non-cardboard tortillas (X-Treme Wellness) and Better’n Peanut Butter (I get it at Trader Joe’s), 100 calories for two tablespoons (half found in the regular brands), and I make sure I use only about one teaspoon at a time. And as long as you’re at Trader Joe’s, check out their frozen turkey meatballs, 50 calories each. I put two or three of them inside a small baked yam, and I’m good to go.

So while I can’t do anything about the passage of time, can’t stop the clock, I can do my best to keep that scale—and my A1C—exactly where it is.  Probably won’t stop me from lying about my age though.

Stay well.  See you next time!

 

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