Monday, January 16, 2017


I am heartily ashamed of myself for letting myself go!
When I was in my middle forties, I had gained a great deal of weight.  My family genetics was a mixed bag.  One group of family members were built like the potato barrels of my youth with short legs pasted on the bottom.  Another branch was tall and willowy even as they aged.  Some were stout but not awfully heavy.  I suppose we were like any family with a long heritage of a bit of everything.
I had accepted in my heart that I was going to be that barrel type, and that is just the direction that I was heading.  When it became difficult to tie my shoes I had enough. 
I joined my local community health center.  I taught myself to swim, being resistant to instruction by someone who thought it was easy and embarrassed both at my size and inability at that age.
Pretty soon I was swimming easily...if not well, and I had begun to lose the weight.
I went from 228 pounds at 5' 10" to 165 before I stopped and decided that was just too thin for good health.  I went up to 175 without a lot of effort, and there I stayed for years and years.
Now, after the death of my spouse and a bout of depression, I resolved to do it again, having gone pretty near to where I was before at my worst.
At 64, there are limitations that I have to face, but I am confident that even if I cannot get back to my good weight, I can at least make a good effort at coming close, and at feeling better in general, and feeling better about my weight.

So I will try to share with you ways to do this.  This is a VERY simple thing to do, and this blog may not be a long one as a  result!


No, I am not a weight loss Guru, nor am I particularly educated on the subject. 
However, when in my late forties, after my weight loss, and study on the science for a couple of years, I was standing naked in the locker room of my gym, when the director walked in on me as I dried off.  He looked me up and down for a moment as I stood there, and said," look at that flat belly!"
Flattery works wonders! Within ten minutes, I had agreed to be on call for local residents who had had heart problems who wished to lose weight and gain strength through weight training. 
He had been secretly observing my activities as I lost weight and was evidently pleased with my methods.  I continued with that position for about a year. 
At that time, I was modeling for drawing groups and local college art programs and I was anxious to remain in marketable condition as long as I was there.
My waist had dropped to 28 inches, while my chest was about 48, and this was a joy to draw, or so I was told.
How I wish I had a local pool so that I could get to that shape again.  The place where I live now has no such facilities, and the mountain lakes that are near by are just too cold.  The only real advantage here is my Mediterranean diet, which is easy to maintain no matter where I live, but very easy here.


Ashamed II

I said I was ashamed.  Well, it is not productive in life to be ashamed of your build.  What I am ashamed of is that I know I have the ability to make changes that will help my physical state and health, and I did not do it. 
We are all hampered by heredity, just as some very few are aided by it.  Your parents and grandparents have a lot to do with your shape, and with your ability to alter it. 
So too does the diet that is prevalent in your family, either a help or hinder. 
My cousin's husband grew up in Oklahoma, raised on beans, cornbread and pan fried potatoes(which absolutely was not done in olive oil!).  On the surface, it has all that is necessary for basic nutrition, but woe betide he who eats that kind of diet as he ages and as his level of activity drops.

Caution wide load!

Two Simple Rules

Yes, there are two simple rules to weight loss and good health!

This blog could end right here if everyone would just take them to heart and put them into action, but I guess that more specifics are necessary, so we may get to know each other a little better before I end the blog.



The First Hurdles

The first hurdle to get over is shame.
 You cannot be ashamed of your appearance.  The issue here is how to get healthy.  I know it is an awful thing to be ashamed of your appearance, but you also have something to be really proud of.  You have decided to do something about it!  What could instill more pride, and what could be more inspirational to others than to exhibit the drive, the nerve, the determination to better your lot.  No, I do not like to see enormously fat bodies, but that is my problem and I have no right to judge others for their misfortunes!
When I see someone in a gym or a pool who is obese, I worry about their health, I worry that they will work on their problem the right way, but I first say to myself, "Wow, they are trying to better their health and they deserve applause"!
There is no way to get around the problem of embarrassment but to just dive in, so to speak.  You can begin by losing a lot of weight through water weight loss and dieting to get rid of the worst of it.  Unfortunately, people who diet will often lose their muscle mass before they lose ANY FAT AT ALL, and they will only be in a worse position than they were before, not only fat, but also lacking in the muscle to be active. 
The first thing is to diet very lightly.  Knock out a few calories here and there so that over time...Patience is the watchword here....weight is lost.  The effort to lose weight MUST be accompanied by increased activity...Move...move.... move.  Anything will do!
If you lose weight too quickly with a drastic reduction in calories, this will signal your body that you are starving.  First, you will burn up muscle, and stored fat will remain in an effort to keep alive.
Keep active to increase muscle and reduce calories a bit at a time so as not to signal a problem to your body.
The second big hurdle is to get a better diet. 
You do not have to go into starvation mode if you simply replace the bad calories from fat and heavy carbohydrate consumption with vegetables and very lean meats such as chicken breast.  Do not make gravy from meats...give it to the dog or the sewer system!  Eat smaller portions of Pasta, potato, bread and crackers, rice etc..  Have large portions of green beans, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.  You have to realize that some vegetables, too, have lots of calories. 
You do not have to consume canned vegetables to learn by reading the labels and compare which ones are a good choice over others.  Then make a bee line to the frozen veggies(whose labels are also good, but cold!) and fresh aisle to buy the best choices.
The third big hurdle is misconceptions about labels.
Read labels, but know what they mean.  It may look like a good choice on the surface.  "This has lower calories", you say to yourself, but look at the percentage of fat...30 per cent of calories from fat or less should be your goal.
If it has Hydrogenated anywhere on the label...put it back on the shelf. 
Artificial sweeteners can be worse than sugar...put them back as well.
And so it goes.  Do research yourself.  You will understand it more and become more aware of it. 
Start with not buy any sugar or artificial sweeteners...learn to drink your tea can be a real pleasure once you are used to it. Stevia may be an exception here, but do not over use even that.  Soda and diet soda should be a once a week treat.  I drink only seltzer, with a bit of lemon or orange rind, or pre flavored with natural fruit essences or peel.  Fruit juices are real bombs!!!!! They contain a lot of sugar and acid, and none of the fiber.  Both sugar and acids are very harmful in large quantities.  The acid will wear your teeth away and bother your stomach.
Eat the fruit and not the juice!
Good rules of thumb are...the fewer ingredients the better in any food.  Avoid processed in favor of natural.  Make your own dressings for salad, do not buy bottled.  Fewer preservatives and colors. Less salt is better.
You don't really need meat, especially in the quantities that Americans eat it.

Protein is in everything organic, and beans(legumes) and grains combined make adequate protein, but they are typically higher in carbs, and of lower quality.  So, don't drop meat...just moderate it and try for lower fat options, though it is best to search for meats that have no hormones or other additives and salts. 
Just  as a for instance, about carbs in vegetables and legumes, String beans are an excellent food and you can fill up on them, but the other beans removed from and eaten without the pods are higher in calories and may be better used sparingly. This especially true when you prepare beans with bacon, or salt pork, sugars and salts before they are eaten.  Try replacing these with tomato, garlic, olive oil(in moderation), herbs and spices.
Another for-instance....When you see people praising Balsamic not try to use balsamic vinegar dressings in the label...this is another calorie and fat bomb!

Eating Cheese on Your Diet.

I just adore cheese the way that Eva Gabor adored a penthouse view. Body builders are allowed three of four dice sized cubes of cheese a day.  I do not care what kind it is.  Provolone Piccante, Aged Cheddar, Smoked Edam, Mozzarella dripping off a chunk of chicken baked in tomato, onions, peppers and pepperoni...I am not that much of a body builder, and I cannot have cheese!  A taste on cheat day perhaps, even half a pizza on those days...but you cannot lose weight with cheese on your diet.  I do not buy it, I thankfully have no place to store it.  Leave it on the grocery store shelf or can't have it!
I was just having lunch.  A real Italian classic, Caprese salad.  In Italy, one can get it almost anytime, but often in the winter months the tomatoes will be a bit on the green side. 
 They tend to try to do things in season instead of getting tomatoes from Chile or somewhere.

Caprese Salad and Giardinera with fresh bread in Salina, Italy several years ago.  Yeah, the tablecloth is a bit busy! 
  Anyway, there was Fresh Mozzarella and olive oil in the salad, and my lunch partner commented on the fact that olive oil was not on her diet when she was trying to lose weight.  But, you have to have fat in your diet! 
A tablespoon a day is the absolute minimum.  Brain functions are altered, and not for the good if you do not get it. 
Remember that many foods that you may not suspect, have oils in them.  You can gently fry things in the oils left over from grilling onions, for instance.
I  remembered, as we were speaking, about a TV show I saw years ago.  It was a TV diet cooking program, and the host fried up hamburger, then put it into a strainer and WASHED IT in running water!!!!! 
Just how ANAL can you get.
Just buy the lowest fat ground meats you can find.  If it really needs fat in it for some reason, drizzle in a bit of olive oil.
Saturated fats are a No-no...meat fats should be trimmed off before cooking, and any left after cooking should be trimmed as well.
Trans-fats too should be avoided, and watch for Hydrogenated fats in all sorts of products!
Do not eat ANYTHING with Hydrogenated anything in it!
There is fat in bread and a host of unsuspected things.
If you bake bread, it is common to glaze the top of the loaf after you bake it with butter.  Well, if you must you must, but try to use the lesser of evils.  Substitute olive oil for the butter.  You save some calories, but you also have a much healthier fat!

Here is a more recent version. That is enough meat around the outside for the whole day!