Food & Fitness After 50: International perspective on eating well, moving well, and being well

March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Go Further with Food.” I am taking the prerogative of expanding National Nutrition Month to International Nutrition Month and going farther with food by introducing Catherine Saxelby from Australia. She graciously answered my questions and was the first international nutritionist to support Food & Fitness After 50. Check out her website at Foodwatch for “easy weight loss and no-nonsense nutrition.”

Catherine_Saxelby_Cooking__purple (1)Catherine is a “60-something” accredited nutritionist from Sydney, Australia. Like many of us in our 60s, she has faced some health challenges but has met the challenge by changing her fitness routine, not abandoning it. After having major disc surgery on her back three years, she is “thrilled she can still walk and exercise! The surgery forced me to down-scale how much weight I can lift and what I can tackle in terms of exercise; I gave up running, but have found strength classes geared for the 50+ population that keeps me strong.”

What 3 things do you do eat well, move well, and be well?

Like many of us, I find that it isn’t as easy to lose weight and stay fit as when I was younger – one needs to “work” at it which is not so much fun, but so important!

  1.  I have cut back on my portion sizes. I now serve myself smaller portions. I leave food on my plate if I’m full (apologies to the food waste world), don’t go back for seconds, and share dishes when eating out. That way, I have one or two bites to get a taste of something really delicious but don’t eat the whole thing.
  2. I listen my stomach and stop eating when I sense I am almost full. This sounds easier to do than it is! I have to pay close attention and find this works best when I’m dining alone. So one of my tips is to do this as an exercise when you eat on your own and pay attention to those often subtle feelings of fullness.
  3. I like to do something that makes me “huff and puff” twice a week. Here in Sydney with our high humidity, it’s easy to perspire a lot. So working out in air-conditioning can make for a pleasant exercise experience.
  4. I try to fit in 5 or 10 minutes of meditation each day. I’ve found it clears my mind and enables better sleep without thoughts and ideas churning around and keeping me awake.

What are the biggest challenges to eating well, moving well, and being well as you have gotten to be in your 60s?

Staying motivated to exercise as one gets older, particularly when you don’t attend a class where you’ll meet your friends or have a personal trainer standing over you is a challenge. And,  finding the time. Everyone over 50 says the same thing – they are busier now than they ever were than when they worked full time. How did they find time to work? Still we all need to fit in personal time to keep our bodies healthy.

What words of advice to do you have others as they age?

Find ways to stay active that can fit into your life and that you enjoy doing. It doesn’t matter if it’s just living in a two-story house and climbing the stairs each and every day. Or being part of a sporting team such as rowing, swimming, touch football, tennis or going to the gym. For some, simply walking everywhere allows you to stay active.

Having a regular activity commitment such as social tennis or training each week also ensures you’ll get your exercise in.

And, maintain flexibility through an activity such as yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi.

Thanks to Catherine for her time in answering my questions!

Food & Fitness After 50 is available on Amazon.