FOOD: If losing weight (and gaining the health benefits that go along with it), take a look at your relationship with food. What you are eating, when, where and why. If your challenge is comfort foods (sugary, salty, fatty etc) try to pay attention when you reach for them. Is it during stressful times, lonely times, anxious times, even celebratory times when you decide you want to reward yourself with something that will satisfy you for a couple of minutes but will hang around long after that? Being aware of what and when we ate is a good start to making changes in your diet.
2) EXERCISE: When we moved here to Palo Alto 13 years ago we joined the YMCA. It was a great decision. Having a place to go with people of all ages, especially seniors, exercising is inspiring. Make sure you put it on your schedule to exercise daily (OK, maybe one day a week take a break.) Personally, unless you are unable to do any other kind of exercise, walking as your main activity won’t get you the results you may be seeking when compared to almost any other kind of movement activity. The Y has some great classes that can help you break a sweat and engage a lot more muscles than taking that long walk. The Y on Ross Rd has some new equipment that helps guide you through the various movements safely and at a controlled pace. The staff will show you how to use them properly. If you aren’t into using machines, there are a lot of other exercises you can do without them, using just your body weight for example. Another suggestion is to get a workout buddy, someone who will commit to showing up when you do on a regular basis. It’s very supportive and encouraging to have someone at your level or a little higher to move you along.
3) A FINAL THOUGHT: I know I’ve written about this before so at the risk of being redundant: You cannot out-exercise the food. If you are not eating a healthy diet and eliminating everything you can that you know isn’t healthy for you, going to the Y, taking that evening walk etc. will be far less effective. Check out The Daily Mail online calculator where you can enter various types of fast food, coffee, donuts, Starbucks fancy drinks etc and see how many hours of yoga, biking etc you need to perform to offset the calories. (I tried to link this blog post to the calculator but it got hijacked by Mark Cuban's amazon.com product page. Try googling food/exercise calculators to find it or another one.) Have fun and good luck getting 2020 off on a good foot.
Note: The YMCA on Ross Rd is waiving their joining fee if you sign up in the month of January. There are of course other health clubs in the area. Some Medicare supplemental health insurance companies offer 1/2 off on certain clubs through a SilverSneakers program. Contact your health insurance company to see if they participate (currently the Y does not participate in the Silver Sneakers discount program but they do have a discounted rate for 65+ seniors.)