Fitness Healthy Eating

Finding Balance with Exercise and Moderate Eating

I’m in touch with my body enough to know if I’ve eaten a few too many sweets (my clothes are tight), had too much salt (I can’t get my rings on),  or drank too much champagne (I start speaking French).  I know what immediate steps to take to address those issues. 

Exercise, however, has been a little trickier for me to moderate.  My best stress relief strategy go-to over the years is exercise, and I used to struggle with over-exercise.  Menopause put the kibosh on that for a number of reasons I won’t go into here, but suffice it to say I’m happy with the amount of physical activity I get now.  I love to go to a good aerobics class and have been delighted my schedule allows me to add that back into my day. 

My walk home from the gym every morning

The truth of the matter is that most people do not want to hear how much exercise is needed for heart health.  Stroke and heart attack are concerns in my family history, so when a cardiologist speaks, I listen.  The American Heart Association’s best practice is five hours of exercise a week.  That means actively getting the heart rate up – not just taking a stroll.  That number is easy for me to reach because I enjoy physical activity – especially if I can be outdoors.  But that amount can be hard to reach for people working long hours, commuting or with an injury or disability.  If that applies to you, I would recommend taming stress by petting your critter or drinking martinis.  Ok, just kidding on the martinis.

Some of my best friendships (you know who you are!) have been enriched over long walks.  AM walks, PM walks, coffee break walks.  You name it.  The act of getting up and moving can completely refocus the day.  If you wear a fitness tracker or carry a phone with an app, you might be surprised at how fast your steps add up in a day.  If a good percentage of those steps got the heart rate elevated, all the better.

My posse getting ready for the turkey trot

If I can’t make it to the gym, I determine what body parts I want to concentrate on and find a video on Youtube.  One of my favorite channels is Jessica Smith TV.  Chances are you’ll find she has an excellent video for whatever you want to target.

Of course, all the exercise in the world isn’t much improving the physique without a decent diet.  I have had many women approach me in the gym over the years and ask me what ab exercises I do for a flat stomach.  And while I do plenty of crunches and core exercises every week, the real secret is diet.  After a certain age – which is different for everyone – not cutting out the calories and cleaning up the sugar can really snowball on the weight.  I always thought that if our 17-year-old selves could see a picture of our future 40-year-old selves, we might make different choices along the way. 

As everyone knows, it’s important to have an eating lifestyle and not a diet.  The rest of our lives need to be moderate and enjoyable.  I have quite a few friends who are having good luck with intermittent fasting.  There are some compelling articles and TED talks on YouTube; here’s a link to one I found interesting.

One of the best healthy food blogs I read and get recipes from is  The recipes use ingredients easy to find (many already in your pantry) and are tested for family friendliness.  Gina has also written a few cookbooks which I’ve been happy to add to my library.

The goal of this semi-healthy living is to continue to do the things I love doing for the next 20 years. I love to hike, walk in my favorite cities, explore new locations, and I want to minimize the struggle as much as I can.

I know as I age, I’ll continue to tweak my exercise and eating routines, but for now these are the things that are working for me. Bon Appetit and have a good workout!

2 Comment

  1. I love having you in cardio classes — maybe more than you enjoy coming! I experience a high level of joy when my best friends come exercise with me!

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