That’s a long title, but for this Fashion over 50, I thought I’d share a little more about how I eat and what I do to stay in shape. I’ve had people ask me to share more about that part of staying fit. People, let me tell you, I do not have all the answers. I do know that I’m very, very fortunate to be naturally thin, have good genes, and a regular workout routine that has worked for me over the years. There has been effort involved to stay fit and in shape at my age since I have been regularly working out since I turned 25, but I think genes do play a big role too. So, please don’t hate me too much! Blame it on my daddy, he’s tall and lanky! I just turned 59, by the way. One more year until the big 6-0, which I’m not too excited about, but overall I cannot complain.
I will tell you that I’m certainly not an expert on any of this exercise stuff, nor a nutritionist. I’m just sharing what I do and what has worked for me. What I do might not work for everyone, but this is what I’ve been doing for years.
Just for reference again, I’ll share that I am tall at 5’8″, I weigh around 128 and am a size 6.
I shared this post a couple of years ago about my gym routine. I really have been working out since I was 25, doing some sort of workout in the gym and lifting weights has been a regular part of that. Go back and read that post and you’ll see what sort of exercises I do with weights and it’s mainly for my upper body that I do free weights. I mentioned that I love toned arms and I do. I will be keeping my arms toned as long as I possibly can. I lift a 30 lb. bar for my biceps and also do chest presses and shoulder extensions with the 30 lb. bar. I mix it up and do other smaller free weights too, for triceps and shoulders. I stick to a 3 day a week routine at the gym to keep my arms and upper body toned and strong. I want to go into my 60’s with strong arms and legs.
I don’t do anything high impact anymore, because I have back and hip issues. I stick to strictly low impact movements. So, no running or anything that is going to put a lot of strain on my back. I’m hoping to stave off any further problems by keeping active and those joints moving.
One thing I’ve added in the last 6 months is to do pushups on the bar. Instead of doing them on the floor, which is harder, I lower this bar and then do 3 sets of pushups here. Just another strength training move. Along with those machines I mentioned in that first post and the routine of about 5 or 6 upper body exercises with free weights, that’s my workout.
I’ve also added about 45 minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym and I can monitor my heart rate on that machine. I try to keep it around 115 beats which is between fat-burning and high cardio for my age range. I do this 3 times a week at the gym and then at least one other day, I try to get outside when the weather is nice. I’m back to hiking at nearby Kennesaw Mountain on nice days like we’ve had recently, but those days are dependent on the weather. Four days a week for exercise is good for me and I don’t do something every day to maintain where I am.
The main thing I’m getting at, as with that first post I wrote 2 years ago is this. Get up and do something! Don’t just sit around. We have to move and stay active or we will lose mobility and muscle tone as we age. I’m not about to give up exercising, it’s a huge key to aging gracefully. I’m convinced of that.
Now, today I’ll talk more about what I eat. Some of you have asked me about that. If you follow me on Instagram, you will see me posting a lot of food and some of it is at home and some at restaurants. I love to eat, no doubt about that, but I also try to limit portions and what I eat. I’m certainly not a food purist and don’t always stick to a healthy meal, but most of the time I try to eat healthy. My mom cooks all the time and my sister and I try to eat lunch with them at least once a week. When I’m there, I eat whatever she has. She always cooks with fresh veggies out of their garden when it’s in season, or frozen or canned when it is not. It must be working pretty well for them, since they are still in great shape for their age. I hope to age as well as my parents have.
When I moved in my house 3 years ago, I began to change some of what I eat. My sister and brother-in-law started eating mostly Paleo (and my roommate does too), which means no grains, bread, pasta, processed foods, etc. I’m not 100% Paleo at all, but I have almost completely stopped eating the processed foods. I hardly ever go down the middle aisles of the grocery store anymore and limit what I buy that is processed. I do still buy salad dressing and mostly use Ken’s Balsamic vinaigrette. We do eat a lot of salads around here and mix them up with grilled chicken and whatever else we can pile on top.
I cook with coconut oil or olive oil now.
I rarely cook anything out of a box anymore (except an occasional more healthy veggie pizza), but cook things from scratch. I keep it pretty simple with grilled chicken, fish, pork or sometimes beef, with sides like sweet potatoes, roasted red potatoes, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, veggies like that. I make soups at home with fresh veggies. I don’t really count calories at all and am terrible about reading labels. But most of what I buy are canned things like tomatoes or other frozen vegetables. When I do read labels, I try to stick to the simple ones with not a lot of extra ingredients. I’m certainly not the best at reading all the labels. I don’t eat a lot of carbs anymore, or at least try to limit them. I do still love pasta and will eat it when I want to, but don’t eat it as much as I used to.
I limit the amount of bread I eat now. I still buy whole wheat bread, but don’t eat it all the time anymore. I will buy it in the deli and not the regular bread section. I will limit it to sandwiches usually and that’s certainly not every day. One of my weaknesses is BLT’s, so I will make those for lunch pretty often. I love chips too and those Kettle chips are a weakness, but I don’t eat those regularly either. I’ve also discovered sweet potato chips which are pretty awesome. I try to eat veggies often, but don’t do it as much as I should. My roommate and I cook together about twice a week and she will make something and then I will too and we eat left overs. We both have different schedules at times and don’t always cook, so I can snack on something and usually find something to eat. I buy fresh veggies and fruits at Aldi’s and always have a variety around the house. I’ve been known to eat fresh salsa and diced fresh avocado with tortilla chips for dinner. That’s always a go-to. Maybe not the best choice, but fresh anyway.
One thing I don’t do is snack between meals. I know many people are snackers, but that is something I am not in the habit of doing. I eat 3 meals a day and not much snacking in between. I do have a sweet tooth and will eat dessert at my mom’s whenever I’m there, but I don’t bring a lot of sweet stuff home to my house. If it’s not around, I can’t eat it!
I rarely drink sodas anymore, but mostly stick to water. I do drink one cup of coffee in the morning and splurge with my flavored creamers. I’ve gone back and forth with creamers, trying the more healthy ones like almond creamer or coconut milk creamer, but I also buy the sweet ones too like Sweet Italian Cream or Mocha. That’s one of my splurges and I don’t like coffee unless it’s sweetened and I also add frothed milk on top with cinnamon. I just started drinking coffee regularly about 10 years ago and that started with the flavored creamers and my frothed milk.
All that to say this. I’m not above driving through Wendy’s and getting a burger and fries when I’m in a hurry and starving. I don’t stick to healthy eating all the time, but about 80% of the time I do. My favorite fast food places are Chic-Fil-A for chicken strips and I love Chipotle bowls with lots of good stuff in there. That’s a great place to eat and it’s healthy and fresh ingredients.
This is a basic recap on what I eat the most. One of my favorite things for breakfast are these Paleo banana pancakes. They are super simple and only 2 ingredients and I make them about twice a week at least. I add whatever fruit I have handy and drizzle with honey and pecans and it’s delicious. They stick with me until a late lunch most days. I don’t eat that much for lunch or dinner and try to keep it pretty healthy.
Another favorite breakfast is the Southern dish of fried egg and grits. I eat grits alone some days, but for some protein, an egg on top (all chopped up with the grits) is a filling breakfast for me. I also eat yogurt with fruit and nuts some days and oatmeal. I quit eating cereal a few years ago, after reading about the empty calories in most cereals and grains. I still like toast sometimes for breakfast, but only about once a week with an egg.
For lunch, I sometimes buy Boars Head turkey at the deli and have it with crackers, cheese, fruit for lunch. Or in the summer, lots of fresh tomatoes. Lunches are pretty simple. As I mentioned, I love BLT’s and will buy bacon pretty often.
We eat a lot of salads for dinner around here. We grill chicken tenders on the George Forman and chop up lettuce and whatever else we have on hand. This was when peaches were in season and they are delicious with goat cheese and pecans on a salad. I love different kinds of salads with chicken and whatever else you want to throw in. Blue cheese is also good on a salad without fruit, along with tomatoes and the regular salad stuff. I can definitely make a meal out of a good healthy salad and those are on our list many weeks. Other nights of the week, we will make a meat, sweet potatoes many times, and a vegetable. Very simple cooking and real food. I hardly ever make any big casseroles anymore, but just keep it simple. I know that’s not always practical when you’re cooking for a family, but with 2 single girls it works.
So, that’s a recap of what I eat a lot of the time. Definitely nothing too fancy, but just try to stick with real foods and not much processed. When I do go out to eat, I eat whatever I want. Many times that’s a salad or fish or chicken dishes, but I don’t really worry about that too much when I’m eating out. If I stick to healthy basics most of the time, I’m good. I know that not worrying about calories or what you eat is not the norm and many people have to obsess over what they eat to stay at a certain weight. I totally know that I’m not the norm and I’m grateful for that, especially at my age.
I recently went to a Christmas party/dance, so I’ll share my thriftstore dress with you. This is the black dress I picked up in Destin back in September, when we shopped at the thriftstore. These photos aren’t the best with low light at night, but I did the best I could.
This dress was $12 and the brand is Moda International. I had it dry cleaned and it’s just like new. No stockings for me, I’ve about given those up completely. I make sure my legs are shaved and moisturized though.
I found these shoes on clearance at TJ Maxx for $20. Sassy and fun for all my black dresses! They zip up the back. They are a little over 3″ high, so they are only good for 2 or 3 hours, but they aren’t too bad for parties. The brand was new to me, called Joe’s.
I added this cute hip length black jacket with the leopard collar to take the chill off. We have been having some nice weather in Atlanta, so the evenings haven’t been too cold yet. This jacket is just enough for an evening outing. I found the jacket earlier this year at the Atlanta Mart for $15 (yes, a great deal!). The brand is Tulette.
I wore my gold jewelry with the dress and felt like a million bucks!
Here’s another shorter version of the little black dress. This is the other dress I found along with the first one at the thriftstore in Destin. Again, I had it dry cleaned and it is like new, for $10. It’s an Ann Taylor and very feminine and pretty.
Paired with the same shoes and coat, I wore this one to another Christmas party. Black always works!
Hope you enjoyed this post about food, working out and little black dresses! Tis the season to get dressed up and looking pretty, it’s so nice to do that occasionally.