Changing attitudes and goals in retirement (Post #2 in series 20 posts / 20 pounds)

Why is change so hard?

I had a conversation with my wife the other day about buying fresh berries. In fact, it’s the same conversation we’ve been having for a while now. She controls a good chunk of the grocery budget and she is usually reluctant to spend extra money on healthier foods. This has been something that we’ve gone around and around about for years. Recently it has taken on more significance.

Health is wealth

As I’ve aged, I’ve been slowly realizing that my body recovers more slowly and it can’t take as much abuse as I used to dole out in my younger years. It simply doesn’t make sense to NOT take care of your body. When we started monitoring our expenses in “pre-retirement” one goal that I made clear to my wife, is that if you’re spending money on US…then you don’t really need to put restrictions on yourself. For someone who has been hyper-frugal for 30+ years, that can be a difficult concept to grasp and even more difficult to implement. Let’s circle back to this after a quick example.

I don’t do dishes

I grew up in a family with 6 older sisters. I also grew up in an era where guys didn’t do dishes or housework. I got over that, fairly quickly after we got married, and probably before. I’m not overly eager about it, but I never minded helping with housework. I became the “dryer” of dishes in our house. My wife would occasionally let me wash the dishes, after she spent some time “training me” how she liked them done. I was pretty consistent with drying dishes and was good at it. (hey…if you’re gonna do something…right?) Neither of us grew up with an automatic dishwasher and never owned one after we were married. When I rehabed our kitchen 3 years ago, we added a dishwasher. What a treat that was. My wife has grown to love it. When she was recently traveling, I caught myself doing a few dishes in the sink and drying them and putting them away. (why run it for just a few right?) Right then and there I realized the installation and regular use of a dishwasher removed that component from our life, and saves us some time. While it’s a common tool and has been for years for most families, it’s been a significant change in “how we did things”. That’s my point. When you’re avoiding choices that can significantly improve your life or save you time, you end up robbing yourself.

Why not health?

That’s the example that struck me as a parallel to what we’re talking about. Why would you be reluctant to spend hard earned money on something that is going to provide a health benefit to you? Yes, at the checkout line, my total bill is going to increase from $30 to $40 if I buy those two pints of raspberries for $4.99 each, but in the end, it’s worth it. It’s really hard to tell yourself it’s “ok”. I’m talking about a certain or perceived “premium” healthy item. We buy bananas and oranges all the time. But when it comes to the next threshold upward, like blueberries and raspberries, there is always some kind of hesitation. Waste is always another concern for my wife.
Here’s what I’m proposing to her:
1. Try to add one new (premium) healthy item to our diet per week:
Raspberries, blueberries, kumquats, whatever…just bite the bullet.
2. Work like the dickens to eliminate waste. This can be achieved through better meal planning, and positioning the containers in a better spot in the fridge, so they are seen. Put them in yogurt and cereal. Make a smoothie. Heck, even drop them in some Sangria if necessary. Just use them.
3. Don’t sweat it if there is waste.

All in all, spending on yourself takes some practice, but with some conversation and improved understanding, maybe the dishes I put in the dishwasher will now be stained with raspberries and blueberries.

The Pounds

Ugh! Flat.

In case you didn’t see the original post in this series, you might not know that this series is a personal challenge for myself to write more and to move in a healthier direction with my weight. (i.e. lose 20 pounds) You can read more about it in the original post here.

One of the big reasons for doing this, is that I had my hip replaced back in January of 2019. Afterward, I immediately dropped 15 pounds, while stuck in bed, but after I became mobile, I was so elated with my new hip that I gained most of it back. Basically, I ate the world. Easy to do in NYC. However, I don’t want to squander the opportunity of a second chance. I consider this a MAJOR opportunity at a new and healthier life that is pain free. Maybe you’re going through something similar, but I’m here to document that it can be done. I often reference the following longevity statistic: In 1900, the average life expectancy was 47…in the US in 2014 it was around 81 for women and 76 for men. So why waste all those extra years, if the technology exists to help us out! I don’t want to put an undue burden on my new titanium skeleton, nor any further weight on my bone based joints.

Welcome to middle age metabolism!

I’m going to get a format together before the next post that details my intake and output (for consistency), but for this post, a quick summary will have to do.

Much to my surprise, I just stayed flat. No gain, no loss. Wow! how crestfallen I was, standing naked in the dark at 5am on my scale. I was sure that I MUST have lost some weight. In summary, in the last 2 days, I’ve only eaten about 2,500 calories, walked about 8 miles and have consumed zero alcohol. Now I know the reason why I’m up and down 3 to 4 pounds regularly. It’s all about choices, and that means everything. I’ve been here before and kind of know what I need to do: Get the heart rate up and push myself a bit more. I mean…I’m not in any pain any longer, so there’s no real reason why I can’t do that. Tomorrow the scale could show I’m down 3 pounds but it’s today that counts. Don’t cheat yourself. Get serious where you need to get serious.

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