Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Rt 618(86) Food, Weight and Retirement

This is retirement talk. I’m Del Lowery.

Retirement and eating out seem to go together. And gaining weight seems to accompany eating out. Thus retirement and gaining weight go together. (I suppose we could make some sort of syllogism out of that is we tried.) At any rate gaining weight seem to accompany eating out and retirement. That’s a problem. Last week we had three invitations to dinner in three days. This meant three days in a row of eating too much. I have little to no resistance to consuming everything set on a dining table. My wife has learned to prepare only just enough. She knows that if she prepares more, I will eat more. We all know that pounds go on much easier than they come off. I know it seems arrogant to complain about too much good food, but as mom use to say – too much of a good thing can ruin you.

I never ate a meal in a restaurant with my parents. It just wasn’t done; a result of having five children in the family and being relatively poor. We were all skinny. This was before Mc Donalds, Burger King, and Pizza Hut existed. Of course, we produced most of the food we consumed. There was the large garden that provided vegetables that were either eaten fresh or canned for off season meals; the orchard that provided fruit and nuts. Then there was Granny, the cow that supplied the milk; the chickens that supplied eggs and meat, hogs that provided the pork. When I think about it today, I realize that it was an organic diet. At that time we just called it growing our own food. Not because it was healthy but because it was inexpensive.

I love eating good food. My wife is an excellent chef. She grew up on a farm in Iowa and learned to cook wholesome, home grown food. She had four brothers and a farming father to help feed. She learned cooking hardy and healthy good as a young girl. She got an undergraduate degree in Home Economics and went on to refine her cooking skills at La Verenne, a French cooking school in Paris. For over forty years our evening meal has always been carefully prepared and slowly consumed and enjoyed. Food has been important to us.

Now that we are retired our interest in food has continued. We have friends with whom we exchange dinner invitations on a regular basis. The hors doerves, the wine, the salad, the main course, and then the delectable desert are always savored and discussed.

On top of the evening dinners there are the lunches. It is so easy to say, or hear, “Lets do lunch”. Then it’s off to the restaurant. The various restaurants and intriguing menus are always placing temptation in front of us. Calories once again invade our very being.

It is the weight and what it does to one’s health that is a problem. When we retire, or age, our metabolism slows. We all wonder why our appetite doesn’t also decline with aging, but so far that has not been my experience. The appetite is as healthy as ever.

Traveling always presents a difficult time for eating and gain weight. A person feels like you can splurge on specialties since you are on holiday. We order a pastry with our afternoon coffee stop every day. We never do this at our local coffee shop. We rationalize the being on vacation theme.

A few years ago we each returned home close to 10 pounds heavier than when we left. My wife prepared low to no carb dishes for two weeks. Pounds started to fall. We tried to maintain a low carb diet for a couple of months. All the extra weight disappeared. It can be done.

“Watchful eating” is the only answer to the dilemma. You have to watch what you eat. I know that some books talk about going on a low carbohydrate diet, or a low protein diet, or a – you fill in the blank. Book shelves are jammed with the secret to a healthy diet. I’m not sure it matters much what you eat. I think it matters more the quantity that you eat. The scale is my dictator when it comes to weight gain. Every day it shouts up to me from the floor. It tells me if I’ve been good or bad. It tells me if I can indulge or if I must cut back.

I knew this one guy who made chocolates for a living; fantastic chocolates. He is a chocolatiere in the true sense of the word. He ate chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He was not overweight. He claimed doctors were going to be very interested in his body when he died. His cholesterol was low. His weight was under control. He was in his early fifties. Can he maintain his regime into retirement? I’ve often wondered.

Well, I ran into him a few months ago after perhaps a ten year gap. I posed the question: “Do you still eat chocolate morning, noon and night.” He gave me a sheepish grin, shook his head and said, “Not any more”.

This is retirement talk.

If you have questions, comments or suggestions contact del@retirementta




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