Debunking myths about weight and well-being for baby boomers

As many boomers already know, we need to watch our diets and what we eat, particularly after age 50. The National Institute of Health agrees and has posted an online “Weight-loss and Nutrition Myths” website.

If you or someone you care about feels there’s a slim chance of keeping fit, it may be because of certain common but false ideas.  Here’s a look at a few, as well as some facts about weight loss and nutrition.

1. Myth: Healthy eating costs too much.

A healthy and hearty breakfast of oatmeal and fruit.

A healthy and hearty breakfast of oatmeal and fruit.

Fact: Eating better doesn’t have to cost a lot. Try these ideas for healthful eating on a budget:

  • Use canned or frozen fruits and vegetables, which may provide as many nutrients as fresh ones at lower cost. Rinse canned veggies before you cook them to remove extra salt. Choose fruit canned in its own juice or packed in water.
  • Canned, dried or frozen beans, lentils and peas are healthful sources of protein that last a long time and may not cost much.

2. Myth: If I skip meals, I can lose weight.

woman_scalesFact: Skipping meals may make you feel hungrier and lead you to eat more than you normally would at your next meal. Consider these ideas:

  • For a quick breakfast, make oatmeal with low-fat milk, topped with your favorite fruit.
  • For healthful snacks on the go, pack a small low-fat yogurt, whole-wheat crackers with peanut butter, or veggies with hummus.

3. Myth: Physical activity only counts if I can do it for a long time.

Fact: The U.S. government recommends 150 to 300 minutes of activity each week, but you don’t need to do it all at once. To benefit, you can exercise for as few as 10 minutes at a time. Here are some ways to fit activity in:

  • If you’re in a safe, well-lit area, get off the bus or train one stop early and walk the rest of the way to where you’re going.
  • Plan a game of basketball or soccer or go dancing with friends.

Check out the NIH website for further information.

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  1. My tip for inexpensive, healthy eating is – when you go to the food market, always check out the food that is reduced to sell because it has reached the sell by date. Fruits such as melons, plums and mangoes are often just reaching their ripe to perfection stage when they go on sale. My jam cupboard is kept fully filled and ready for handy gifts because I buy up fruit when it is on offer. I stew the fruit straight away and then freeze or refrigerate it until I have time to make the jam.

    Instead of buying a large bag of newly displayed mixed salad, with the intention of using part straight away and the rest in a couple of days’ time, which inevitably ends up with the rest being thrown out, I look for the bag that has been reduced, use what we want and throw the rest away with a clear conscience.

    Yesterday I bought fresh salmon steaks and a pork fillet that had reached their sell by date. Neither had been previously frozen. I used half of the pork fillet to make a stirfry. The other half and the salmon steaks went straight into the freezer. I made a total saving of $7 on these items.

    I stock pile frequently used items like olive oil, butter, basmati rice and pasta when they are on offer but avoid buying some things just because they have been reduced. Lest you think that my family’s diet is limited to what comes out of the special offer bin, I do pay the full price when necessary. You see, I was born in Scotland and we Scots are not mean, we just like to get value for money!

  2. Hi Hazel: I am a fan of Amy Dacyczyn’s Tightwad Gazette (TWG). She revolutionized my life. Sounds like you might enjoy her book. One feature of the TWG was Amy’s inclusion of readers’ mail and ideas.

    1. Hi Ria
      Thanks for the suggestion. I will certainly look out for the book next time I am States-side. It costs more than double on this side of the pond.

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