One of my retirement resolutions is to get better control of my health. This includes sleep, diet, exercise – the whole shootin’ match. The sleep is better already, now that I don’t wake up several times each night, thinking I’ve left some random task undone. I’ve started walking a little, I’m using some free weights, and I’m working on a more sophisticated exercise plan. I’m also making all my annual doctor checkup appointments.
Diet is the really difficult paradigm shift. Lunches and snacks at work weren’t always exactly heart healthy or lo-cal. With both of us working and my getting home well after 6 every night, we had also been opting for some convenience foods at home. You know, stuff that passes for real food – canned veggies, granola bars, boxed breakfast cereals, canned soups, dried spices & herbs, and instant coffee. We’ve been shameless in using processed sugar, butter, flour, and 2% milk.
That may not sound too bad to some people, but we are children of the sixties. I used to bake my own bread twice a week, and make my own fat-free yogurt, to which we added fresh stewed fruit and freshly ground cinnamon. When the kids were young we had a great vegetable garden – they picked the evening’s vegetables fresh in season, often eating half the harvest on the way to the house. Fruit in one form or another was our main dessert. I’ve heard my own kids parrot me when grandkids ask for a snack, “have an apple; it’s nature’s toothbrush!”
So where did we go wrong? Well, it happened gradually. The kids grew up and left. I started working longer hours. We rationalized our lunches and dinners out, as if working hard somehow entitled us to eat more (and less healthy) food. We might have earned the occasional cheat, but I’m afraid we’ve both habitually chosen rather poorly. This, along with the stresses of work, has resulted in weight gain, arthritis, sleep disturbances, gastritis, and finally – and this is the one that’s really scaring us straight – a prolonged and frightening bout of asthma for my beloved.
Our doctors recommend (of course) more exercise, and a diet eliminating offending, inflammatory agents. Alrighty, then… I’ve been researching a number of diets. I’ve looked at the Zone, Atkins, and related plans, some straight-up weight loss plans, and have found a variety of books on eating well. I think I’ve come up with a good combination. I am coordinating the anti-inflammation diet recommended in Stopping Inflammation by Nancy Appleton PhD, with the 24-Day challenge.
Our daughter (who has suffered from food allergies all of her life) pushed the Challenge. She and a friend are both distributors, and have good meal plan suggestions for people with allergies that stay within the guidelines. We were a little skeptical, until we saw results in some other family members, and – what the heck – we have to start somewhere! We ordered our supply of Challenge products.
Our daughter recommends that we become accustomed to life without eight cups of coffee per day, and ramp up the amount of water we drink in advance, to help prepare us to manage the changes – after all, it is a challenge, and we don’t want anything to hamper our success. So… for now, we have started eating more anti-inflammatory meals with reasonable portions, and healthy snacks in between meals. And shortly, my beloved and I will embark enthusiastically on the Challenge with no excuses.
We’ll keep you posted on our progress!