Seeking advice for elderly female

I am a 73 year old woman, 5'4" tall and now weigh 15 stone, with a BMI of 36. Two years ago, I weighed just over 12 stones. I haven't changed what goes into my mouth or the amount of exercise I do. This is quite minimal, as I have had two spinal surgeries, and have spinal, hip and knee arthritis (I must confess to being a couch potato!) When I am "on track", I use the Fat Secret app for recording weight and food. (If you haven't come a cross this, it is very helpful.) I recently watched "That Sugar Film" on USA Netflix), an Australian documentary, where a fit young man spent 60 days on a so-called healthy diet, eating only foods that claim to be healthy (anything low fat, smoothes, breakfast bars, etc). Before the experiment, he consumed 2300 calories a day. The same during the experiment, YET he gained over a stone, developed a fatty liver, and other health problems. So, my concern is that the NHS recommends us to choose low fat options, when generally these contain more sugar. I know that the only truly healthy option is to eat only non-processed food, but hard to do. Any advice for those of us in our prime will be greatly appreciated.

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15 Replies

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  • Hello Balboa and welcome to the Weight Loss Forum 😊 It can be confusing knowing what to eat and not eat and you are correct that eating less processed foods is a big help. That unfortunately includes things like smoothies and cereal bars which are still quite calorific. I choose to eat all my favourite foods, but lots of fruit and vegetables and carefully watch the portion size and calorie content.

    Here are a few suggestions on how to get the most out of the forum. Please note if you are using the new HU App many of these features are not available so I suggest you use the full website version.

    The first place to look is at the Pinned posts section to the right of your screen (bottom if you're using a mobile), read the Welcome Newbie thread first and move through to the challenges, where we hope you'll find at least one that will appeal to you ☺

    Move down to the Topics, to find a variety of threads, collated into specific topics for ease of access and we ask that you also 'file' your own threads, so that others won't miss your important news ☺

    Have a look at the NHS 12 week plan, as many people have had success with it. Also use the BMI checker to find your target calories, it's important to eat enough. This was a major turning point for me, realising I could eat anything I wanted as long as the calories are accounted for ☺

    Don't forget to take your starting measurements and a 'before' picture, as they can be very motivating on days that the scales refuse to co-operate ☺

    The forum also have group weigh-ins every day, as well as a new Daily Diary, if you wish to take part. The posts can always be found in the Events section on the 'home' page ☺

    You'll notice a grey box next to people's names, these are achievement badges, and as a new member you have a 'Newbie' badge. If you have any questions questions please ask 😊

    We've found that to get the best out of this community, we need to be active on the forum, as it's where we exchange information, get motivation and inspiration and make friends. We hope that you'll join us here, regularly, too ☺

    Best wishes

    Anna

  • Hi Anna, Thanks for your email. One of the things I wonder about is the theory that all calories are not the same - as seems to be the case demonstrated in "That Sugar Film". So just counting calories is not the best way to loose weight. I would really appreciate more information about this on the website. Yes to all your advice about how to eat healthily and exercise, but I think many people do not have enough information about how calories work.

  • You are absolutely right about quality of food being important, that's why it's important to stick to unprocessed foods, with a heavy reliance on fresh vegetables, salad and fruit, and smaller amounts of the more calorie dense foods like meat, dairy, carbohydrates and fat.

    There is a lot of information out there, have a good look around the forum, especially at the resources section in 'topics' for more nutritional advice.

  • I joined this forum a year ago. I am now 76. I have lost one and a half stone with the support of the members on this forum. Personally, I cut out nothing but simply counted every calorie that passed my lips and happily that worked for me. Good luck with finding a strategy that works for you.🙂

  • I was going to high 5 you and say that's exactly what I've done, then remembered that I gave up alcohol. I still agree with you though, that is 'exactly' what I've done :)

  • I don't drink alcohol, not because I disapprove, but because I've never liked the taste. Lots of other things I could have binged on but didn't cut them out because I knew I'd be setting myself up for failure.

  • Massive drinker ('ex' I hope). I didn't set up to stop, it was just sabotaging my new eating strategy in the evenings. At first I only 'temporarily' stopped but it appears (fingers crossed) to be an ongoing thing. It's changed my life in too many positive ways to restart now (more crossed fingers).

  • Hi Tiggerr - thanks for your reply. Yes, white wine is my main downfall. I am looking into the reasons that alcohol consumption might have a link to environment. I visit my family in the States twice a year. When I am there, I have no craving for wine, and don't drink. The minute I am back home, I start at again. Any though t s?

  • Hi wa2un7 - Thanks for your supportive reply. Well done with your weight loss!!! I know what I need to do, but seem to use any excuse to relapse. Any advice on how you stick to your guns?

  • I don't know that I had any particular strategy when cravings struck. I do know I didn't " bravely " suffer and overcome. At my age life's too short. I didn't binge but would have some fruit, some raisins or a biscuit which wasn't too high in calories. However , whatever it was was noted in my food diary so that I didn't inadvertently go over my recommended calorie amount. It took me 8 months to lose the weight but I didn't set out looking for miracles. I could do with losing more but for the time being am trying to maintain. I'm sure you will be able to arrive at what works for you. I would say whether you are winning or losing keep in touch with the forum as you will not find better support anywhere. The members become your go to source for comfort and/or congratulation. I look forward to following your progress.🤗

  • Thanks so much! I hope I can develop your healthy habits. On the advice of another member, I have just bought Michael Moseley's book to try and keep my sugar count down. But I think I need t o somehow change my whole mind set to really get into and maintain a program.

  • I keep reciting this quote to myself and I've got a bet with myself to add this quote into every 2nd post of mine... not true about the bet but it feels like it :)

    'If you always do what you've always done then you'll always get what you've always got'.

    When I heard that here, it really clicked and I'm trying to question why I say I won't do something different, no matter what it is. It kinda fits into the fact that I call this my lifestyle change and not a 'diet'... and that's exactly what this whole journey has turned out to be for me.

    Good luck and like wa2un7 said, stay plugged into this forum. It's definitely been my rock in the last 4 months.

  • Apart from this week where I've really lapsed, the 12 week NHS plan has really changed my attitude to food. I've been doing the 5.2 for over 2yrs but it had stopped working because I was so bad on my non fasting days. Since combining it with the 12 week plan i've lost over a stone since mid Jan. Try the horizon website to see what type of eater you are to see which diet would suit you best. Good luck with whatever lifestyle change you choose.

  • Hi Balboa

    You're quite right when you say that not all calories are the same, different foods have different effects on our bodies. Some people seem to do ok just counting calories, but I'm guessing that they have changed to eating more healthily as well.

    It's very common to become more insulin resistant as you age, which means that basing your diet on calories alone is not going to be successful. Sugar spikes the release of insulin in our bodies, and insulin drives fat storage.

    You could try lowering your consumption of carbohydrates, if you can, especially the white or highly refined carbs (white bread, pasta, breakfast cereal etc). Look for high fibre, low GI carbs instead, like sweet potatoes, and limit the amount of whole grains you may eat. Definitely avoid any foods or drink with added sugar.

    I'm a couple of years younger than you and have managed to keep the weight off by being careful about the type and amount of carbs I eat. I went back to eating full fat some years ago.

    Good luck with finding what works for you. Perhaps have a look at Michael Moseley's Blood Sugar Diet for some more ideas.

  • Hi Penel,

    Thanks so much for your email. I must say that I am delighted to hear that someone is eating fat again! I keep fats down, but the occasional toast with butter and peanut butter is such a treat - but not every day. I am a great fan of Michael Moseley, and will check out his diet.

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