Saturday 29 July 2023

How can you change your fitness at 50?

Here are some things I've been doing recently!

  • Trying out an alternative diet and lifestyle
  • Challenging myself with new workouts 
  • Enjoying coffee in new locations!
  • Becoming 50 years old!

I've been needing a new perspective for a while now; change can be a terrifying positive! To reimagine the words of Shakespeare, "some are born amidst change, some achieve change, and others have change thrust upon them". Being the agent of your own change is a challenge, which is why the 3-month fitness regime last year was useful. But what happens when you are told you *must* make changes?

In my case, it was dietary. Diets are a PITA because unless there is some kind of end goal, what's the point? I'm hopeless at sticking with them because life always gets in the way. But what happens if ill-health gets in the way of life? After a scary seizure back in May, I did the whole health check-up thing and discovered low blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. 

So what have I changed?

quinoa patties
Of course, I could maintain a dietary status quo and simply take medication. It would be the easy way out. Eating in the traditional Croatian way isn't inherently unhealthy because it is fresh, homemade, and wholesome. Cheese, meat, ham, fish, eggs, baked goods, butter, mayonnaise, oils, and so many veggies - inherently, nothing wrong with all of those, in moderation. But my system struggles with meat and it has taken time to admit this!!

But why should my health suffer because I'm too anxious to please, to clear my plate, and to not cause trouble!? It's a choice, isn't it? How do I achieve healthy cholesterol level changes? By taking control and being responsible for my health.

A librarian will always hit the books to find some proper information about this. September's health programme taught me the importance of protein to build muscle and maintain fitness. I needed inspiration and I wanted to understand more of the science behind dietary fat. How do you plan meals and food shopping trips? I cannot afford to fail this so I need something that I can stick with. 

I'm uncompromising on milk in my tea and coffee - but all the other dairy is out. This is what I took away from the reading I did - here is my daily food plan 

Breakfast options

  • Protein powder, seasonal fruit, cucumber, plant-based milk, oats, peanut butter - this is a massive breakfast and a great start to the day. It's varied enough with flavours and options to keep it interesting. If I fancy something savoury - 
  • Beans on toast
  • Fish with fresh bread
  • An occasional poached egg!!! I love eggs and they are free-range and organic. What's not to love?

Lunch/Dinner options

  • Tofu, vegetable and noodle stir fry
  • All types of bean patties with a mix of flavours to keep it interesting. For example, black bean and chilli, brown bean and onion. These are great in tortillas with added sauce and salad.
  • Quinoa and sweet potato patties (in the pic above!). Soak that quinoa!!! Finally discovered that this stuff is edible if it is soaked for an hour in water beforehand.
  • Courgettes with tomato and soy mince stuffing. 
  • Cauliflower steaks with various toppings
  • Anything with tinned or fresh fish! Tomato and tuna pasta is great. Fresh grilled fish with potatoes and greens is a meal fit for a birthday queen.
  • Fishcakes - potatoes and whatever fish there is!
  • So many tomatoes and courgettes from the garden!
  • Adding nuts and seeds to everything!

Recently I've also been experimenting with chickpea flour. Cauliflower and chickpea flour fritters are epic and I really enjoyed the banana and chickpea flour bread. This is something that I am happy to incorporate into my diet. Soy mince is a great addition and I will be happy to experiment further but soy steaks I think I can omit! Gross things!

How do I feel about all this? Someone asked me if I feel deprived? No, the benefits outweigh any disadvantages. My gut has never felt healthier and I am extremely - ahem - regular!  It's a bit of a challenge to eat out or at family get-togethers because it's all about the cheese and meat! If I am strict when I can be in control, then that allows me some leeway when I am out. Moderation is everything.

I haven't really lost any weight but I need to commit more to the exercise. If I am going to do something this drastic with the diet, it seems a shame not to tweak my workout programme to match. Summer is here which means that it can be too hot to be outside but I've done 2x 5-day Fitness-Blender challenges and everything is aching in just the right way. Paddle boarding is great and I'm walking as much as possible, heat permitting. With a daily average of 420 movement calories being burned, that can make a real difference, 

Sometimes coffee is the only thing you want to do when you are sitting in a cafe under a shady tree on the beach! We've been to some beautiful places and I am grateful to my beloved. But you can always have a cool swim as well! Just don't have that doughnut...

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