Can anything be done about the “retired guy” beer gut? I don’t even drink! Honest! This isn’t for me!
As we age we tend to lose muscle mass and gain fat. Because of this we need to take a hard look at our eating and exercise habits. Are we eating too many calories? Are we getting enough daily physical exercise? Here are some tips you might want to consider:
• I recommend that you eat three balanced meals per day. Don’t skip meals.
• Follow the healthy plate method in which one-half of the plate is non-starchy vegetables prepared in a healthy manner, one-quarter of the plate is starch and the other quarter is protein. Include low fat/nonfat dairy and fruit as well.
• It’s important to monitor portion size. Please read nutrition facts labels for serving sizes. Examples of serving sizes include 1/3 cup of pasta or rice, ½ cup of beans, ½ cup of oatmeal, ½ a medium to large banana, one piece of a small to medium whole fruit, 2 to 3 ounces of meat, fish or poultry for lunch and dinner, and one ounce for breakfast and one cup of milk (nonfat or 1% the best choice) or 6 ounces of fruited yogurt (again low fat or nonfat) or 8 ounces of plain low fat/nonfat yogurt.
• Limit/avoid concentrated sweets like candy, cake, pie and more.
• Don’t drink your calories. Avoid juice, regular soda and other high calorie/high sugar beverages.
• Get adequate calories. In general, for a male who is 5’10” or taller, 1800 calories is adequate. For a male equal to or more than 5’11’ in height aim for no more than 2000 calories. This varies by individual, so speaking with your healthcare provider or dietitian for exact calories based on you height, weight, physical activity level and medical conditions is advised.
• Keep a food diary. A good Web site to help determine calories (and more) consumed is www.myfitnesspal.com.
• To manage chronic disease, exercise a minimum of 30 minutes most days per week is recommended. To lose weight, this amount needs to be upped to at least 60 minutes most days of the week. You can break this up into 10 to 15 minute increments if you like. Also include resistance/weight training twice per week. Don’t forget to warm up and cool down. If you’re not in an exercise program now, please speak with your doctor before embarking on one.
• Create a starting plan. Come up with a few goals and start there. Building on small changes up to big ones. Aim to lose around 1 to 2 pounds per week. Slow and steady wins the race.