Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Perfect Meal Plan

When I was younger (below 40), and people explained their middle age spread away with the words slower metabolism, I inwardly scoffed, "Yeah right, you slug," and promptly took another bite of my 10 p.m. bowl of ice cream.

Pride goeth before a fall.

On the brink of 50, I now throw those same two words around and hastily show people my thyroid medicine to prove it. It's such an interesting phenomenon. I want to eat as much as I ever have, but find I can't. I get full more quickly, darn it.  So, you would think eating less would mean a person would lose weight. Nope. At least not this person - and it's all because of that pesky slower metabolism. More cheery news came out on this front in March, 2010, when the Journal of the American Medical Association released a study that said women in my age bracket needed to exercise an hour a day just to maintain their weight - and that's assuming they weren't overweight to begin with. I exercise and  enjoy exercising, but an hour a day? Good grief.

What's a middle-aged girl to do?

The help I needed has come from my doctor husband. He has attended a conference on the heart for many years in Kansas City. There he has heard cardiologist James O'Keefe speak on all issues related to heart health - our diet being a significant component. Dr. O'Keefe and his wife, Joan, a registered dietitian, have written what Lou considers the healthy lifestyle bible.

 He recommends it often in his practice. I have read most of it. Warning: It does have the following statement on page 26.

Also, never eat deep-fried foods or commercial baked goods.

Gulp. And that's not a deep-fried foods, or commercial baked goods gulp. But before that scares you away, remember that the book is also chock-full of the gazillion benefits to your body, your energy level, your mental alertness, when you eat like they recommend.

I remember quite a few principles from the book, but it was actually an article that Joan referred to on her twitter feed that has really helped me to practically eat a little better.  She refers to it as the perfect meal plan: It has no fancy title, just five words to guide your eating: Two colors and a protein.

For whatever reason, that has stuck with me. I don't do it all the time, for sure. But I find myself thinking that way before almost every meal - and actually following through a lot of the time. This summer, a typical breakfast for me, was an egg, a peach, and half an avocado (or banana, or tomato). So good. And I was full, but not in the overstuffed, I wish I hadn't eaten what I just ate way.

Yesterday at lunch, I had ham, some watermelon, and half an avocado. (Can you tell I like avocados?)
Obviously, I am not a food photographer, but this was yummy
 The great news in all this is, I have lost some of that middle age spread that's been creeping on. It may not be anything that noticeable to the world, but my clothes are fitting better. And, I feel better.

And oh, how I like to feel good. Have I sworn off the p. 26 prohibited foods mentioned above? Nope. I still love McDonald's french fries. I just love them fewer times than I used to in my younger years. I also have another confession to make. You know the healthy lunch pictured above? I certainly didn't follow it with a processed baked good -I knew this blog post was coming... but I did follow it with a homemade baked good (a horse of a different color altogether).
Homemade Peach Crisp

And you know what? Eating the perfect meal makes eating the perfect dessert pretty guilt free.

 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
                                                                                                    I Corinthians 10:31


  1. Thank you for sharing Shelley! I've been trying to eat healthier... I am afterall the example my children will subconciously follow. I LOVE the 2 colors concept! Simple!

  2. I enjoy reading your posts. I'm going to look for the book you mentioned. Could use a little motivation to keep the junk food at bay--it's a constant battle.