Resuming “Le Regime”

These Satsuma mandarin oranges are in season right now, and delicious!

Well, our own holiday celebrations extended into the weekend due to a dear niece’s Bat Mitzvah which meant a few days of family in town and the resulting visits and dinners (and wine, and appetizers, and desserts….).

I’ve relaxed my food tracking over the last few weeks, though I have been continuing to weigh myself weekly and compensate for the social eating whenever I can with fresh fruits and veggies. I’m relieved that I didn’t gain beyond the top end of my normal 4 lb. range, but I am feeling a bit more sluggish and bloated. I’ll ‘fess up: I’d also like to nudge the number on the scale down just a few more pounds. I’ve returned to my “automated” breakfast and lunch menus, and have begun tracking my WW points again.

Rather than setting overly ambitious New Year’s resolutions, I’ve found that it’s more effective to incorporate changes in small, do-able steps, building over time. A couple of years ago I began cutting up fresh fruit daily for our breakfasts (mine’s an accompaniment to oatmeal or a boiled egg) and last year my change was to pack a healthy lunch and snacks for work which made following the Weight Watchers program a breeze for me.

One new step I have already added to my routine this year is recommended in Tish’s book, “Forever Chic” which is to start the day with a cup of warm water with lemon juice. (I squeeze about 1/2 of a small lemon or 1/4 of a large one.) It’s not only supposed to help the liver cleanse toxins, but according to my physical therapist helps balance the body’s pH and aids digestion. It’s also a source of vitamin C, and who couldn’t use a little more of that during the winter and being perhaps a bit run down from the holidays? At first it was a chore, now it’s getting to be habit.

Le monsieur and I want to get serious about taking evening yoga or Pilates classes. We’re looking into getting some additional in-home care for jeune homme a couple of evenings a week to free us up to do so. One thing I’ve realized from my recent back troubles is that it’s not enough to eat well and get regular cardiovascular exercise…we need to take care of joints, flexibility and alignment too in order to stay healthy and as ACTIVE as we’d like to be.

Are you making healthy changes in the New Year? Do you find that resolutions work for you, or are you more process-oriented?

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  1. Good for you! I’m a brown bagged myself. I fret a bit about missing lunchtime social opportunities with my colleagues but have to balance that with uncontrolled portion sizes and the significant expense of regularly eating lunch out. Turns out nobody much cares if you bring your brown bag to the food court., except of course my waistline, so I do.

  2. I’ve started stretching too, I realised that my weights/spin workouts just aren’t enough as I get older, a youthful body is a flexible body, hubs and I are doing it together too, oh boy, it’s hilarious, do you remember the wooden tops? That’s us.

  3. Your regime sounds very intelligent and doable! I’m rejoining my exercise class (which is for middle aged women and concentrates on flexibility, balance, and weight bearing exercise for bone health) and rejoining Weight Watchers. You have been quite an inspiration! Thank you.

  4. I also will attempt to step things up a bit. I do the strength training two days a week and cardio three days…so I want to add a class called Body Pump on the weekends. Tish’s book has helped me to re-think many of my eating decisions. Today is when I begin to add more apples for example. i am going to eat more fresh foods and less processed. I think your evening class will make a huge difference for your back! My gym this morning was full of midlife women and above.

  5. Good for you, all terrific practices/habits! May sound weird (well, it does to me!) but I’m making sure I’m super disciplined about my dental routine, both home care and pro cleaning. Keeping my teeth (and avoiding the expense of compicated work) is important to me.

  6. My husband and I are returning to juicing twice daily. It’s delicious but also a major cleanup. He does the work however.

    AS for fitness, I have to keep working on my core to strengthen my back. It works. Wish I were as diligent with my front. But, with 3 hip replacements & 1 knee replacement, it’s all about stability & strong lower back & glutes. I long for the days of lots of tennis & little exercise & size 6s. I’d kill to be an 8 again now. Shooting for a 10. 🙂

  7. I have been tracking using My Fitness Pal for 5 weeks (so far I’m down 7 pounds). I just started back with my trainer after a 3 month absence and will be going to a wellness support group with some people from church. Be sure to let the instructor know about your back so he/she can adapt the postures for you. Good luck!

  8. I’m back running 3-4 days a week, training for a 10K race in April. Back in November I bought 10 sessions with a personal trainer to learn how to strengthen core muscles and improve my upper body strength. She visits me once every two weeks and I have to do the sessions on my own twice a week in between. It was very hard to make myself exercise 6 days a week and it’s still not an established habit, but it is getting easier.

  9. Yes, it is time to start eating right and getting more exercise. After a month of treats at work, then 10 days of traveling and eating restaurant food, I was actually starting to feel a little ill.

    I like your suggestion of warm water and lemon juice. I also love to have a half a grapefruit in the morning at this time of year – they smell beautiful and feel cleansing. Now, to get the mister talked into yoga is another matter entirely!

  10. Your approach sounds wise, balanced . . .
    I’m currently trying to find a balance between the Weight Watchers regime that helped me lose weight over the last 4 months AND a need to get enough nutrition to support my distance running. Also re-affirming my commitment to a minimum of two yoga or Pilates classes a week — those got compromised over the busy season and I really noticed the difference.
    Paul’s been doing yoga since he (semi-)retired. He manages at least 3 classes most weeks, and I try to share one of those with him. A nice “date” that we often follow up with coffee, even breakfast sometimes depending on the time/weekday.

  11. Your reasonable approach to healthy living inspires. I may try the lemon water in the morning and I know I have to get back on track with my yoga practice…. I always feel best when I’ve practiced which is the best motivation of all.

  12. Ah, Weight Watcher’s. I can’t say enough good things about it. I, too, relaxed my tracking during the season, but still was aware and didn’t go hog-wild. As a result, I was up only .5 lbs and am working to lose that now.

    My resolution is more of a habit that I would like to incorporate into my life- doing yoga in the evening or a meditation tape to slow things down. I haven’t been perfect, but I have been better. Better is not as good as perfect, but more realistic.

  13. I agree with your approach. I make habit changes, that works best for me. And my top realization recently is that I can’t rely on native strength and physical resilience any more. Time to focus.

  14. The last time I saw you, you looked absolutely gorgeous. Your discipline is remarkable, I am in awe. Also, as I said previously, your hair is so, so you.

  15. I got very sick in November, so I lost the 2kg (5lb) or so that were annoying me … and a few more. Holiday season indulgence put the ‘and a few more’ back on, which was a good thing. I’ve always eaten healthily – I cook from scratch every night – but for the new few weeks we’ll be eating lighter, with more salads and fewer heavy carbs. It’s easy here since it’s summer, so fish and a salad feels just right. As for exercise, I had to give up my yoga class last year because of a clash with my teaching timetable, and my home practice got very sporadic, but I’m back again this year. I’m getting bored of walking so I’m thinking of easing myself into running again (haven’t done it for years) … we’ll see.

  16. Gym and running is certainly on top of my list and fitness goes along with healthy eating. Not that I am eating fast food right now but there is always room for improvement: More fish, less meat and sausages (popular in Germany!), less carbohydrates at night, less wine (that’s tough!)…
    Thanks for the warm water&lemon tip, I will have that tomorrow morning!

    Annette | Lady of Style
    100$ adea Everyday Luxury Giveaway

  17. How sensible to allow that 4lb range. I’m at the upper end of that range, the combination of a — relatively — lazy staycation and extra food has put me there. It’s summer here so I can take care of this over the new few weeks but I wouldn’t mind nudging down a few more pounds.

    On the exercise front: I have found that deliberate natural stretching without pushing myself makes a b-i-g difference. Thirty seconds to a minute before getting up, twenty second stretches getting up from the desk during the day, it really is amazing.

  18. Sounds like a good plan! I probably gained 5 lb in the past 2 weeks, which is really astonishing if you think about it. Just reaffirmed that at age almost-57, I will never be able to eat the way i used to! Back to tracking my Weight Watchers points, have to get those 5 lbs off by the end of the month so I can weigh in. I’m a big fan of WW, the best way to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way, IMO.

    I’ve been going to Pilates twice a week for several months. I feel that it’s helping my bad-neck issues, and is helpful for flexibility, plus I can stand up from a squat pretty easily now! I think I need to step it up some though, and also need to add cardio on a regular basis. Finding it difficult to make that a habit. It’s all a process though, right?

    — Jill Ann

  19. I generally exercise most days but, fall way off track during the Holidays. So, I decided instead of facing “2014” with extra weight gain, feeling out of shape, and in an emotional funk. I’d try to maintain my fitness and sanity, starting December 1st! My goal (a gift to myself) was to exercise a minimum of 31 minutes for 31 days and this could be accomplished very realistically by walking, gym, or by exercise tape, just no excuses. Well, I did it!
    Results: weight/fitness maintained, sanity and humor still in check!
    Next goal: lose 6ish pounds before Spring, (more veggies, less carbs) up the exercise and I too, need a yoga/and or stretch class….at 57 I’m not as limber as I used to be-feeling a little creaky! Yikes!

    I so enjoy reading your blog. Wishing you all the best in the New Year!!

  20. Story of my life, I strongly associate with your post, and find it very difficult resuming previous habits, free of sugar and treats! Yoga is by far the best that ever happened to me, allowing you to escape from the daily stress and teaching you to exercise self control, ( requiring a little more during the festive season!) Great post Susan, very inspirational, I feel encouraged to tackle to resolutions with you! Have a great new year!

  21. Once the habit of healthy eating is ingrained, those indulgences don’t feel terrific. I, too, have the holiday +4 pounds that I’m eager to shed. Running in cold weather is torture, so seeking other ways to work out for a couple of months. Would love to hear about your “automated” breakfasts and lunches…always welcome new ideas. Amazing the vigilance needed after 50! Best to you in 2014, and thank you for sharing with us!

  22. Oh yes, the getting back to it thing… I think a lot of us on on that track. I’ve certainly put on a few pounds (haven’t checked how many, but my waistbands are tight…) that’ll need to come off. Also, I’m noticing that I’m avoiding walking so obviously my fitness has dropped. I need to push myself to walk and I could also really do with finding a yoga class.

    I did a weekly hatha yoga class for a couple of years and it was a revelation – I felt so much better in myself and learned a lot about my body and how it works. I know I’m as stiff as a board now, so I really need to get back into it. There’s a lot of resistance in my mind, though… it’s such a faff trying to find a class, find my way to the venue, get parking, get there on time, have the right change to pay for it… excuses, excuses…

    Talking of food, my standard breakfast is porridge (oatmeal) that comes with some dried fruit and nuts in it. It gives me fibre, a bit of calcium with the milk and it keeps me full for a good long time. Eggs are also great at being filling and low calorie for breakfast (or lunch for that matter).