ELDER MUSIC: Country Chain Part 2
Medicare and You – An Anniversary

Using Speed of Time for Advantage

[PERSONAL NOTE:] Summer break. Mental health week. Vacation. Breather. Whatever you call it, it means time away and I'm putting some distance between me and this blog for a week.

Posts here will be a combination of new that I've written ahead and golden oldies. Note, however, that all posts at The Elder Storytelling Place linked at the bottom of each post on this blog are new so please do read them.

I'll check in occasionally during the week to see how it's going around here.

Back in April, I told you about my fitness plan begun early this year out of fear. Make that FEAR.

Compared to many people, I have been remarkably healthy all my life but it is well understood among the medical community and old age researchers that the diseases of age – heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc. - begin kicking in, on average, when people reach their mid-70s. I am already 72.

It is my strong suspicion that I would (will?) be terrible at following necessary regimens to control such diseases so I've taken on a routine I can easily do because I have a lot of on-again, off-again weight loss and exercise practice over the past half century.

Of course, there are no guarantees that this works; terrible health problems befall people who are fit all the time. But the science is on my side so it seems prudent to do this.

Here are some new personal stats: Since that April blog post, I have lost 13 more pounds and moved my body mass index (BMI) from 2.1 points below the high end of overweight (25 – 29.9) to .4 points above the low end of overweight. Four or five more pounds and I'll be at the high end of normal BMI.

When I first starting tracking my weight in March, I was losing about five pounds a month. That has now has slowed to three-to-four pounds a month. The drop is not unexpected – weigh less, lose fewer pounds.

A few weeks ago, I posted a story about an ebook filled with inspiration to help keep people motivated on their fitness plans. Now I have discovered another kind of inspiration that works only for old people.

You know how we often lament that time speeds up as we grow older, that here it is nearly August but it feels like New Years was yesterday? Usually, it is not a good thing that the months and years rip by in a blur. But now I've discovered the upside.

When I was younger and wanted to take off a few pounds to fit into a dress or for a special date, time crawled by and it seemed to take forever – while my impatience grew each day - to lose the weight.

But nowadays, with the speed of weeks and months giving me whiplash, I hardly notice how long the weight loss takes.

Combine that phenomenon with the paradox I've written about in the past - that the older I get (when it is demonstrably true that I have less time to live than I have already lived), I'm no longer in the rush I was as a younger women to accomplish anything quickly.

So with those two time perception changes, it makes no difference to me if it takes a couple of months or a couple of years to reach my weight goal. I'll get there when I get there.

The terrific bonus to my efforts to change my health behavior is that I haven't felt this good physically since I was a kid and didn't notice how good I felt because it was normal then.

And that's a bonus after the real changes the weight loss has made in what I can do. There is a hill near my home I could not walk up or, rather, not without having to stop to catch my breath every few feet. It was so hard that I'd quit even trying, instead driving short distances to avoid trudging up the hill.

But just this Saturday, I walked that hill twice in the span of 15 minutes while breathing as easily as if the street were flat. I was almost giddy with the improvement in my body.

Half of how I live now involves food and this time of year I do 95 percent of my shopping at the farmer's market. Here's what I brought home this week - the only things missing from the photo are a piece of fresh, local salmon that will give me two meals this week and giant pile of Rainier cherries.

Every week when I unpack the bags from the market, I'm surprised again and thrilled at how beautiful a pile of fruit and vegetables is. No wonder so many artists make still life paintings:

Weekly Veggies Fruit

For anyone who knows they should do something about their fitness, I've found yet another reason to skip the ice cream and do those dreary exercises every day even when I don't feel like it: as the changes happen to my body, I feel so damned proud of myself for sticking with it.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Compulsive Hoarding


Congrats to you...who inspired me to not even finish reading the blog, but to get my shoes on and do a mile walk, then I came back and was happy to finish reading it. Now I feel much better, in more ways than one!

As well you should be proud. It's a hard thing to do--losing weight--especially older people, I think.Those vegetables look amazing--our farm markets don't yet have tomatoes and corn but probably will this week. People in our residence get $20 worth of free tickets each summer, and I spend it mostly on corn and heirloom tomatoes. Did you ever see a black tomato? Delicious!

I'm still working on losing weight and am stuck again at a plateau. It seems like I stay there for weeks then another pound drops off. I have already lost my target 15 pounds, but have decided to go for another five. After that my clothes would just hang on me and I can't afford a new wardrobe.

Because I was already at the normal BMI weight after losing the firs 10 pounds, this last five I want to lose is just vanity. While I think I have stopped being vain, it does creep up at the oddest times. ;-0

Bravo Ronni! I too have been doing a round of weight loss and I sure hope NEVER to do another!

Last year I took a very demanding job that I knew would play havoc with my self-care -- and it did. After it ended, I broke my coccyx (don't!) So it was February before I could really start regaining fitness. Since then I've dropped 35 pounds (to the high end of "normal" BMI) and more important, can move again!

I write this after a week tramping through mountains in Spain, a challenging but still possible activity for this 66 year old. I hope to keep on with this sort of thing as long as I can. My mother went down the Grand Canyon on a raft at 76, so I had a good example ...

I suppose I have determined that the amount of effort required to lose, and then maintain, weight loss is not worth the effort. The benefits are undeniable, but the effort overwhelms my life. I am fully aware of the scorn people feel about fat people, and that others view me as simply lazy.

Kudos to Ronni and Darlene as poster women for achieving the remarkable challenge for elders: losing pounds plus diet change. Reading this props up my own shaky effort for more exercise.

Dear Ronni...Here I am listening to this reality and writing you from the discomfort of my nursing home bed. YUP, even if you are miserable, exercise, Try eating just a little less. Yes, bring books and a lap top to the nursing home to keep that brain moving also.

May the new you have a great week off. :)

That pile of produce looks delicious. Beats me how you manage to eat it all before it starts going bad. I don't buy nearly that much each week and yet I often end up throwing some out.

Discouraging to see that those diseases kick in, on average, in the mid 70s. I'd have sworn I read somewhere that I was already past the age when the big three -- cancer, heart disease, and stroke -- usually show up. (I'm now 70.)

You are an inspiration to all of us.
The photo is fabulous - I also buy at market and belong to a CSA. The food is wonderful, but we get nothing January, February, March. Store produce is OK, but not the same.

Take heart, Pied, I'm a couple of years past the magic number and none of that seriously bad stuff has happened.

Ronni: Hooray for you and this post. I especially liked "I'll get there when I get there."

Reminded me of the (probably paraphrased) great line from the Marigold Hotel film: "Everything will be all right in the end. If it is not all right, you have not yet reached the end."

Have a nice vacation.

Well done Ronni! Having been a non-runner my entire life, 2 months ago my husband entered me for a 5 mile run ending in the LOndon Olympic stadium - and for the first time in my life I trained for a sporting event. I managed to injure my ankle halfway through (switched to cycling and rowing at the gym instead of running) and lost not a single kilogram through two months of training... but I can see a difference in the shape of my muscles, and DAMN I feel good! Exercise is not easy and if you do it purely for weight loss it is often not rewarding either but there are *so* many other benefits! (Love the purple cauliflower BTW!)

I eat piles and piles and piles of vegetables and fruit each week plus, usually, three meals that include a 3-4 ounce piece of fish, usually salmon, sometimes halibut or, occasionally, Dungeness crab or scallops.

If I don't feel stuffed coming out of each meal, I'll just go buy ice cream but with veggies, I can eat large amounts of food that's all good for me and has minimal calories.

The only way to lose a single ounce of weight from exercise is to do it all day every day. You can bicycle for an hour and not use more than 150-200 calories.

As you're finding, the point of exercise is that it makes you strong and does all kinds of other good things for our bodies and minds.

I wish someone had made that clear to me when I was younger - I might have spent a lot more time with exercise if I'd understood that.

35 pounds since February!!! Wow and congratulations. Since March, I've lost just slightly more than 20.

For the "youngsters" of 65-75, there's hope. Although I'm now closer to 77 than 76, I don't yet have any of the major "diseases of age" knock on wood!). I do have more aches and pains than I did 15 years ago, but who doesn't?

I think it's terrific that Ronni is inspiring her readers to trim down to a healthy weight. I'm convinced that being on the low end of the range for my height has helped me avoid high blood pressure, heart disease and disabling arthritis--at least so far. My husband, age 83, has avoided diabetes by keeping his weight down (he's the only older family member who isn't diabetic).

I don't have a formal exercise routine (although I try to follow a walking plan) but I rarely sit down during the day unless I'm working or driving. I stand or move around when I'm on the phone, and make numerous trips up and down the stairs of our townhome. I volunteer at an adoption center for rescued cats 2-3X/week, and that's very active--especially when we have kittens awaiting adoption!

I'M proud of you for sticking with it, too!!! It's inspiring! You're inspiring!

Many congrats on caring for your body. I love the energy boost I get when I eat tasty and healthy.

I'm in my early 50's and time whizzes by me as well! It's July and I'm still wondering about my New Years ideas!

On the other hand, I love taking my time enjoying walks with my dog, preparing and cooking tasty food, reading books, gardening and just lolling.

When I'm really focused on doing something I love then time slows down.

Loved the pic of your weekly shop.

Ronni--Congratulations for your accomplishments, onencouraging your readers to maintain their own fitness, and on giving a venue for your readers to do a little (rightful) bragging.

And, to those (like me) who choose to accept how we are: That's called free will. (I don't know about you; but, I'm not always smart about the ways I choose to exercise free will!)

I love your successes and I truly wonder if a lot of it is linked to shopping at the Farmers Market. I try to do that also, because I am convinced our nation has become fat on food NOT from the Farmers Market. Good for you!

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