Change What You Eat, Add a Few Minutes of Exercise, Get Healthy

I wrote this up for someone who wanted diet and exercise advice as they are feeling lost.

These next posts are a compilation of what I wrote and think I understand about eating and exercise. These posts were private correspondence with someone with a “Slow Thyroid”. I thought I would also share my thoughts with you. I’m not a doctor, or expert in this field. Nothing is original, and is only what I find works best for me, when nothing else has.

All rightly then! I think I have written down enough to get you going in the right direction. Besides doing some reading however, you will want to come to a few realizations, and you will want make some life style changes. Nothing really big, but very important.

First off, your weight. A sad but true fact about body fat, is the older you get, the harder it is to lose and keep weight off. If you think losing weight may be hard now, wait until you are fifty, it is almost impossible. Second, there is no magic pill or gym routine to make those pounds fall off. It can happen through a combination of eating correctly and getting some exercise. You will have to decide what you think about this part as you are in charge of you.

Next, because you have low thyroid action, your metabolism works slowly. I don’t know if your doctor explained anything other than a one minute explanation. I don’t really think it is slow thyroid, it’s just what it is called. When you think back through your Mom and Dad, their parents, and their parents, going back as far as you want, their life was way different than yours is in 2019.

Before the 1900’s, people didn’t always have access to a lot of food. They didn’t go to the fridge and get something to snack on, or open a cupboard door and pull out some chips to go with a bottle of beer. There wasn’t that much food around. When there was food, due to harvest time, slaughtering a barnyard animal, or hunting, there was no refrigerator to keep it in. Put simply, food was scarce.

All through the last thousand years, your ancestor’s (and mine) body’s learned to be more efficient with food. Their bodies with each hungry generation, learned how to get more energy with less food. Think of their bodies as car engines. The cars that guzzled gas and got ten miles to the gallon didn’t last. They were phased out because there wasn’t enough gas (food) for them to be successful.

Those cars that could get thirty or more miles to the gallon, well they had enough gas (food) to survive and thrive. When you came along, your body was so finely tuned, if you were a car you would be getting forty miles to the gallon! But you didn’t know that until the doctor told you, and your eating habits were already in place. Eating as a car getting twenty-five miles to the gallon instead of the forty miles per gallon is hurting you. Kind of like putting high octane gas in a subcompact. The subcompact doesn’t gain weight, but the extra money spent on gas is wasted. Because you are human, you put on weight eating extra food.

The good news is you don’t need to eat less or go hungry. You just need to modify how you eat and how much. All you need is cheap gas (lower calorie food). And one more little tweak… For the next six months or so, you want to walk at least twenty minutes after every meal. It’s not that hard. Lucky for you, most people with weight problems, do not have a clue how to eat right. You will after your done reading.

So feed your body lighter food, and your body will thank you for it, and it will lose weight. It wants to get back to a normal weight, as I’m sure you have noticed by how you feel, compared to how you remember feeling. Eat like you are a lightweight sports car, and not a semi-truck. Both you and your body will be happier!

Eating and exercise is always a hot topic.

So, besides walking at least twenty minutes after each meal, there are some simple and quick exercises that you can do to both help get you fit again, and improve how you feel throughout the day. They take about seven minutes a day, when you reach the correct amount of exercise.

1. Squats ~ Goal for one minute, plan on ten seconds starting out.

2. Mountain Climber (partial Burpee movement, no pushup) ~ Goal for one minute, less than thirty seconds starting out.

3. Jumping Jacks – Goal for one minute, thirty seconds or less starting out.

4. Palm down Plank ~ Goal for thirty seconds, plan on about ten seconds starting out.

5. Clenched Hands Plank ~ Goal for thirty seconds, plan on about ten seconds starting out.

6. Left and Right Side Planks ~ Goal for thirty plus seconds each, plan on about ten seconds or less for each side starting out.

7. Lunges ~ Goal for one minute, less than thirty seconds starting out.

I find simply standing with my arms at my sides for a few minutes after I am done with these exercises feels really good. I think it lets the muscles relax and form into the shape they should be in rather than the lazy way I have stretched and contorted them into with my bad habits.  Let me know how this works for you.

It doesn’t hurt at all to do some walking. You should aim for about fifteen miles a week. You might even do HIT Walking. HIT Walking means you walk for say two hundred yards, and then run as fast as you can for up to thirty seconds – no more. Then you go back to walking until you get your breath back, then sprint for thirty seconds. Repeat the run and walk with no more than three to four flat out runs. This is one of those things where doing more doesn’t help, and may hurt. Finish with walking the rest of your walk.

Next post will be a quick list. Eat all the vegetables you want, and don’t be scared of the fruits on the list.

The third post will be a more in depth explanation of what and how to eat, and why. You can be successful with this, feel better and eat as much as you want, just differently. It’s all up to you from here on. If you want to feel better, lose weight and look better, give this a month. Everyone can do something for thirty days can’t they?

You can do it!

Feeling Better, Eating Differently

This is an edited copy of an email to a family member. I thought you may wish to read it too. I removed the eating plan name and the places I ate at, as my experience may or may not be the result of eating there. Fwiw, everything I have written is true for now. If anything changes, I will update this post.

You may like reading my thoughts about a eating plan? I have passed the thirty-first day on the xxxxxxxx eating plan. I can call it quits if I wish. Thing is, I’m sticking with this because I feel so much better.

I have found I may have a few more food issues than I thought. I find I can not eat orange beef and brown rice at xxxxxxx. I never thought it was possible, but I felt like I had three different headaches going at one time, starting about an hour after I ate! Lasted until I fell asleep for the night. I wasn’t a happy camper as I have eaten the same dish at the same place many times.

Even a few more foods are strongly suspect. Tacos are suspect, maybe the corn? Then there is this almond butter bar that is supposed to be healthy. Guess what? Eating one bar raised my blood pressure 20 plus points, and it stayed up for several hours! One little (claimed to be healthy) almond butter bar did this to me. I know it is the bar, because I ate one bar every other day over six days, with the same results. Before this eating plan, I thought all these foods were okay for me. And there are probably more foods I will find out I do not want to eat. I haven’t ventured too far from the eating plan, so I don’t know yet. I feel so good now.  I don’t want to ruin it.

On the bright side. Eating as much as I want to, I have lost almost 14 pounds without feeling (need to eat) hungry! My blood pressure dropped 20 points and is now in the young person normal range. My sugar level is as low as its ever been. I do not feel like I’m going to fall over from trying to keep it in a low range.

Best Health question I ever read!

And I owe it all to changing what I eat! My muscles and joints no longer get stiff for no obvious reason. My stiff neck, which I have had for over two decades, gone! My knees, sometimes aching at night, gone. I thought these were a part of getting older. Finding out that was wrong think.

All this has led to thinking more about food. Do I want to be as healthy as possible, or do I want to take and have my sugar and blood pressure keep going higher, and my muscles and joints hurting, because food makes me sick? When I started this way of eating, I thought, okay, food is now going to be a maintenance function. That said, most of the xxxxxxx plan meals, once I have added chili too, are pretty tasty. Living in New Mexico I guess. Some meals taste awesome, and some need help.

One interesting observation about overweight people eating deserts and other unhealthy foods. This is something I read about why you won’t overeat on a Paleo diet: “An overweight person has no trouble eating a quart of ice cream after a heavy dinner, but they would not wish to eat a quart of Broccoli instead.” The truth in this thought really hit home.

No more cravings! For the last half of the first week, through the second week, I occasionally had cravings for something sweet. Then they went away completely. I just ate more food! In fact, some days when I wake up, I delay eating because I do not feel hungry. On other days though, I am famished. Same goes with lunch and dinner.

It is amazing! Just like when I quit eating wheat, how much better I feel, though it took a few weeks longer! How different I eat now, and it feels normal. Sometimes meals are a little strange, like sweet potatoes with eggs for breakfast. This has since changed to meat or eggs with leftover vegetables or an apple or two. Also I find I am perfectly happy drinking water. For some unknown reason, water now tastes really good.

I am going to transition to a Paleo diet. I enjoy the way the xxxxxx has made me feel, and I don’t miss guessing whether some processed food has gluten in it or not. With xxxxxxx and eventually Paleo diet, Gluten is not a concern as grains are not on the menu to start with. This is another one of those, “I wish I would have tried this years ago!”. I am eating and feeling so much better!

Ending on a funny note. I find some of the recipes call for half of some vegetable or other, usually bell pepper. The other half used to go into the refrigerator only to be thrown out when I found it on a back shelf some time later. I no longer have that problem. Now when I am prepping to start dinner, I now just eat the other half of the bell pepper. No more food waste.