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If you’re over sixty you have probably tried your share of diets and you probably worry just a little about your weight. Of course there are those people who can eat everything they want and never gain a bit, but they’re rare and I’m not one of them.


Diets come and go and many tend to be faddish. Have you tried the cabbage soup diet or the banana and cottage cheese diet? If so, you most likely won’t try them again. Food is an integral part of a healthy and happy lifestyle––we need to enjoy our meals. So what to do about those ten or twenty pounds that need to go?


First of all you’ll want to know your BMI:  Body Mass Index. This index is calculated using your height and your weight. A healthy BMI is usually considered to be about 25. Some gerontologists, doctors for seniors, believe that a slightly elevated BMI is okay as it can give seniors a certain amount of protection in the event of an illness. But in general the BMI is an indicator of either overweight or outright obesity.


Another body measurement often used by health professionals to determine risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and the possibility of developing type-2 diabetes is called the waist to hip ratio. This is a calculation made by the ratio of hip to waist numbers. For men it should be no more than 1.0 and in women no more than .8.


So calculate your BMI and your waist to hip ratio and then take a look at your daily or weekly exercise rates. Do you do something active every day? Do you walk or ride a bike? Do you exercise with a video or play a sport? Most health experts will prescribe both a healthy diet and exercise to lose extra weight. Approximately thirty minutes of exercise daily will keep one feeling fit and energized. For those overweight, the thirty minutes may need to be increased, but there is always the caution of overdoing and overstressing the body.


Do watch out for diet scams. Any diet promising weight loss with no effort is a scam. And those diets with expensive price tags are foolish as there is no substitute for eating healthy foods and avoiding those that are unhealthy. And, because of the conversations raised by various diet authorities, there are diet myths abounding. Some say all carbohydrates are bad, others say one should never ingest fat of any kind. Some will tell you never to weigh in because you’ll be discouraged, but the most successful diets will have you set a target weight and check it periodically. As in any life decision, common sense is often your best friend.


Common sense tells us that a healthy diet will include a balance of the food groups, will include moderate portions, and will avoid empty calories most of the time. Lean meats, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and reduced fat dairy products will go a long way to reaching or maintaining ideal body weight.