Thursday, 19 August 2010


“Sin is sweet in the mouth and bitter in digestion. It lies hard on the stomach.” – Henry Ward Beecher

I am on a diet. Well not really a diet, I am just a little bit more careful about what I am eating, or rather even more importantly, how much I am eating. Since our return from Vietnam I have lost 2.5 kilos. It’s been simple really, cutting back on some things that are not necessary, reducing the intake of fats, not drinking alcohol (not that I drank all that much before, but between having none and having a glass with a meal is a reduction!). No chocolate, but still having a lolly or two every now and then. Not having ice cream or cream, but enjoying real milk in my coffee. Having chicken, but boiled; not fried, nor roasted. Enjoying lots of fresh salads, home made bread – one slice or two, not buttered. No margarine, rather olive oil and only a little of it. Fruit for lunch, but only one or two pieces and only fresh, seasonal fruit.

It is important to watch the quantity of what we eat first, and then the type of food and how it’s cooked. My grandfather used to say, “Eat whatever you like, but only a little of it. Whenever you have a meal, eat enough to satisfy your hunger, but leave your stomach unloaded. If it were imperative that you eat again immediately after having completed a meal, you should be able to do so without discomfort…” Wise words which he abided by. He lived a healthy, happy life and was fit until he died in his early nineties.

A “diet” can be a good culinary experience and one may still enjoy one’s meals. Once the appropriate weight has been reached, one can start including some of the more “sinful” foods one avoided, but in greatly reduced quantities. This helps to maintain the desired weight and also of course one is not a “spoil-sport” at dinner parties or restaurants. One may then eat anything and everything, but only in small portions. My mother has been doing this all her life and she has always been slim, trim and healthy.

Exercise, of course, is the other side of good nutrition when trying to lose weight. Once again moderate exercise: Walking not running; swimming not jogging; light weight lifting till one is fatigued rather than increasing the weights lifted more and more; sensible warm-ups and stretching rather than launching into a gym workout immediately; dancing and even having sex rather than doing pushups! Exercise like that becomes an enjoyable routine that alters metabolism and is gentle on the body, while having its beneficial effects.

Unfortunately, the older one gets, the harder it is to lose weight if one has put it on and the harder it is to maintain good form. It’s easier to opt for quick meal solutions and to become addicted to nutritiously harmful routine meals. Many older people can also try to do good by taking vitamins, minerals and other nutritious supplements, but these instead of helping can sometimes even do great harm. Nutritional supplements can interact adversely with medications, some older people can overdose on vitamins with dire effects, and such people can be misled into thinking that if they take supplements they needn’t look after their diet properly. Malnutrition can still happen if one is taking lots of vitamins and minerals but not eating right!

1 comment:

  1. That's a good diet! 2.5 kilos in a week or so is good...
    Being sensible about what we eat and how we exercise is enough to keep us trim and healthy.