Senior women have a lot going against maintaining their girlish figures. How many of us gals 55 and older weigh what we did in high school? Anyone? We tip the scales at double-digit percentages over the weights of our youth.
It doesn’t need to be so, but we have been convinced that the eating habits of our lifetimes are healthy. Also, we have been dealt a bill of goods about carbohydrates. Both put on pounds. Combined with a slowing metabolism, we wonder why we get fat as we age.
Here comes my attack on carbohydrates. I love carbohydrates. I lost 22 pounds, and kept them off, on a diet of carbohydrates. But there’s a secret to carbohydrates that many may not know: the glycemic index.
Foods range anywhere from high to low on the glycemic index. Those foods ranking high at 70 or more on the list are the fat makers. These offenders start with raw sugar rated at 100 and proceed to include candy, chocolates, pies, pastries, cake, cookies, brownies, ice cream, desserts, puddings and anything that tastes sweet in concentration. If you want to lose weight, start by eliminating these foods from your diet. Yes, stop consuming them completely. Can’t do it? Yes, then you’re addicted.
I was a cookie addict my entire life until I realized the hold it had on me. Oh, I blamed my parents for producing a sweet tooth in me. A faster metabolism in my youth allowed me to get away with excesses of sugary consumption. But that sweet tooth can go away without an extraction by simply saying ‘no’ to dessert. And no, I have no cravings for sweets anymore. Life is quite livable, enjoyable even, without them. Imagine that.
Another case history compels my telling of a lady I know. She says she is a perpetual nosher, popping M&Ms throughout the day. She is overweight and wonders why. Or maybe she knows that with sugar steadily flowing into her body, excessive glucose turns into fat. It’s a wonder she’s not dead from diabetes. But maybe she knows that’s coming next.
Another gal I know rationalizes those delicious sweet-coated fruit-nut snacks bought in bulk in big-volume food discount stores. She says they’re healthy with the benefits of pecans and cranberries in combination. That both the berries and nuts are coated in sugar dilutes whatever benefits there are, delivering rather a clear path to fat, especially when bought and consumed in quantity. To call a food ‘healthy’ so that we can eat it without guilt or gaining weight is a fool’s delusion.
Foods that are medium on the glycemic index aren’t weight-loss leaders either. These are the foods that measure between 55 and 70 on the comparative scale. They can be described as complex carbohydrates including breads, pasta, potatoes, rice, cereals, and anything made from flour. Again, the whole wheat or whole grain varieties are touted as ‘healthy.’ Yes, such varieties are slightly lower on the glycemic index than their white-flour counterparts. But that is their only benefit and it’s a small one indeed. A diet full of these carbohydrates will put pounds on too.
Stick to foods low on the glycemic index, measuring 55 or below. Make high-fiber fruits and vegetables dietary staples. Steady meals consisting of lettuces, radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, parsley, basil, radicchio, spinach, green beans, blueberries, strawberries, apples and the like will get you slender again. You can eat these foods with abandon. After all, you aren’t going to gorge on leafy green vegetables. Add an ounce of cooked meat, cheese, or fish for protein and low-calorie dressing for flavor. Voila, a balanced meal that satisfies on your way to slender!
And don’t be afraid to add fat, which, by the way is not what makes one fat. Fats have been dealt an unfair deal. In moderation fats really are healthy. Yes, they contain a concentration of calories, hence the moderation required and the bad rap they acquired. And yes, in combination with flour- or starch-containing foods such as crackers, snack chips, potato chips, or French fries, the invisible fats become fat on your body. Rule of thumb: If you can see the fat that you eat, it’s okay in moderation; if you can’t see the fat but the label says it’s there, avoid it like the plague.
Get to know your friendly foods low on the list of glycemics. Do not be deluded to think that high or medium glycemic foods have health benefits that override their fat-producing potential. Consume low-glycemic foods all you want, medium glycemics in moderation, and no high glycemics at all and watch the pounds melt away.
That’s how a senior gal like me said adios to 22 pounds forever, four pounds over the 18-lb. loss reported here. At one pound below my high school weight, I am a light lady loving life in maturity.