About This Book

Inspiring Chicken Soup for the Soul stories and accessible leading-edge medical information from Dr. Suzanne Koven of Harvard Medical School. Women over 50 fight menopause, creaky joints, busy lives, and other factors that interfere with their quests for weight control and fitness. These advice-filled stories from women over 50 who have figured out how to get fit are combined with Dr. Koven's practical advice and medical information. You won't have any more excuses!

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Five Tips to Start You on Your Path to a Better Body

Inspired by Chicken Soup for the Soul: Say Hello to a Better Body!

By Dr. Suzanne Koven of Harvard Medical School

Just because you’re over 50 doesn’t mean you can’t look and feel great. In Chicken Soup for the Soul: Say Hello to a Better Body!, Dr. Suzanne Koven, a physician at Harvard Medical School, gives you practical and easy-to-use tips on how to stay fit and happy while maintaining a healthy weight that’s right for you. Here are some tips from the book, which will help you get started, make small changes that add up to a big difference, stop negative thinking, and even lose weight without going on a diet.

1. It’s never too late to improve your fitness and health. At fifty-nine years old, Terri Elders felt too old to start an exercise regimen even though she could barely squeeze into her bathing suit. When a friend suggested that they join a local running group, she hesitated. But after spending some extra time together jogging at the local track, they were able to actually start to keep up with their trail running group. "I wish I could brag that I gamboled effortlessly through the Seychelles brush that night, but the truth is I merely plodded and stumbled, waving my flashlight to seek a secure footing. But for the last kilometer, over flatter trail as we neared the On In, to the huzzahs of my companions, I ran like the dickens, ran like greased lightning, ran like the wind," says Terri.

2. Don’t go on a diet. Instead of calling it a diet, make a lifestyle change. The simplest way to lose weight: eat less. We live in a world of over-sized portions, but with practice, smaller portions will become normal to you. Simple adjustments to your lifestyle, such as replacing soda with water, can provide satisfying and tangible results. Eat at home to reduce the negative health effects of processed and prepared foods. Lastly, be prepared with healthy food and snacks for at home and on the go. Carole A. Bell was inspired when she remembered the smaller portions and the simpler food she ate growing up. Now she knows it’s okay to eat a smaller meal or leave food on the plate. "It is enough to be strong and healthy, and to have more pleasant things on my mind than the number of calories in a food or whether or not it is ‘on my diet,’" Carole says.

3. Manage menopause symptoms through exercise and nutrition. Menopause isn’t easy. For many women it means a slower metabolism, sugar cravings, hot flashes, and disrupted sleep, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. Exercise is a proven method to improve everything from intellectual capacity to menopause symptoms. When Helen Reeves hit menopause, she also found herself newly divorced and forty pounds overweight. After leaving her divorce lawyer’s office, she went to church to pray, but instead found a flyer for group dance classes, specifically tango. After many classes, people noticed a difference in Helen. "I had lost weight around my hips, off my thighs, and best of all, I’d lost the weight that was on my heart. For the first time in years I moved my body in celebration. This was more than exercise," Helen says.

4. Don’t make a change for anyone but yourself. Losing weight and getting healthy can be tough. When we don’t have a goal in mind, it’s hard to stay focused, but always remember that it’s your health and not anyone else’s. April Knight received an invitation for her 50th high school reunion in the mail and became obsessed with losing the weight for fear of being called fat. She made changes to her daily activities to exercise more. When she reached her goal early, she realized though that losing the weight to prove to others wasn’t what getting healthy is all about. "I can do all of these things for myself. It’s all about me, my health, the way I feel, my happiness," says April. She didn’t even bother to go to the reunion.

5. Turn your maturity into an advantage. Turning 50 or older is a great time to take advantage of greater self-confidence, financial security and fewer care-giving responsibilities. It’s also a chance to be a part of history — to turn the tide of an unhealthy generation and be a role model for our children and grandchildren. Sally Schwartz Friedman and her husband didn’t realize how out of shape they were until they could barely keep up with their three grown daughters. Sally and her husband decided to start a nightly walking routine after dinner instead of plopping down on the couch. "Somewhere in our late fifties, we changed our routine. We increased our walking distances incrementally, just to test ourselves, and discovered that with just that little effort, waistbands were looser and our annual blood work was coming back with better numbers," says Sally.

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