Staying Healthy: New Rules

I’m grateful for views like these – they make walking a joy these days!

I had a great visit with my new doctor last week. She spent quite a bit of time with me going over my three biggest health concerns: my continuing stomach issues, beginning osteoporosis, and my weight. Together we came up with plans for managing all three, meaning some big changes in how I do things going forward.

I’m basically in very good shape for my age (68). My blood pressure and other vital signs are right where they need to be; my blood pressure is low. I am overweight though, and although my stomach issues have improved they are not doing as well as I would like. I am doing the right things to manage my beginning osteoporosis, but the doctor added a couple more things I can do so that the condition doesn’t deteriorate further.

Here are the new rules:


  • Aim to lose 25 pounds . . . again. Sigh. This is going to be the most difficult thing to accomplish of all the things the doctor and I talked about, but I am going to give it my all. Since losing weight takes forever these days, my goal is to reach my new weight by the time YaYu graduates in 2022.
  • Take in no more than 1200 calories a day, and pay more attention to the macros (carbs, protein, fat, etc.). I was previously eating around 1500/day (or a bit more), so I’m having to find ways to eliminate those extra 300 or so calories. I signed up (again) with MyFitnessPal – it’s free and does a great job of tracking everything.
  • Drink lots of water. I am already doing this, so easy-peasy. 
  • Walk at least two miles five days a week. We’re already doing this as well.


  • Add calcium, at least 1200 mg additional a day. I am making sure to take at least two Tums/day – each tablet has 650 mg.
  • Continue to take a Vitamin D supplement along with my daily vitamin. Even in sunny Hawaii, I need the extra now for bone strength.
  • Add a strength training routine to my day, and carry weights when I walk.
  • Continue taking medication to help increase bone density and reduce the risk of fractures. For some reason, taking this weekly pill is a real pain for me but it matters.

Stomach issues

  • I have developed a highly acidic stomach for some reason and probably also have a hiatal hernia. Keeping a food diary will help me figure out what foods seem to increase the production of acid (cookies, crackers, chocolate, and wine all seem to be triggers right now, for example).
  • Cut back coffee (half-caff at that) to one cup a day. SOB!!
  • Add a daily probiotic and prebiotic in order to regulate my gut flora.
  • Work to reduce my current prescription acid blocker through diet change to “as needed” rather than taking it twice a day.
  • GIVE UP DIET COKE COMPLETELY! Nooooooooo! I almost cried when she said I had to do this. I currently only have one can a day, in the morning, but it now has to go completely. We still have one and a half cases on hand and she said we could use those up (Brett is helping) but then NO MORE. She also noted that getting rid of it should also help me lose weight. I am heartbroken. I love Diet Coke (and am probably addicted to it) – it’s been my only “vice.”

So far MyFitnessPal is working well, and although I don’t enjoy planning in advance everything I’m going to eat every day, it does a very good job of helping me track not only calories but those macros as well. I just ordered a set of hand weights from Amazon and will start with one pound in each hand, increasing the weight as soon as they no longer provide resistance. The pre- and probiotics already seem to be making a difference, so I am happy with that, and I’ve gotten the acid blocker down to one almost every day, taking it in the evening before bed. My daughter-in-law is sending me a case of mugicha (roasted barley tea) tea bags from Japan – it will make a decent substitute for Diet Coke, and contains beneficial minerals, but no caffeine nor calories.

Grower older is no tea party, but I am determined to not only stay healthy but improve my health. Brett and I plan to travel again and we want to be in the best shape possible when we set out again. Coming back to Kaua’i was a good move for us in that respect – it’s easier for us to exercise year-round, we eat better here, especially adding more fruits and vegetables to our diet, and our health just seems to improve overall. 

So . . . onward, new rules and all!


21 thoughts on “Staying Healthy: New Rules

  1. Have you thought about trying a Whole Food Plant Based Diet? You mentioned the great produce you have there. It could be a relatively easy solution for you.


    1. I did this approach a few years ago. I stuck with it for nearly a year, but it just isn’t for me. I eat very little meat, but I do like it. So does the rest of the family, and I found I was always having to cook separate meals for myself. This is the plan M is using in Japan (he cooks separate meals for himself). He has lost a LOT of weight and actually looked a bit too thin to us. But, he’s very healthy these days.


  2. Sounds like a good plan. And how good to solve health issues with diet and activity rather than medication and surgery!

    Once you give up coke, you won’t miss it. I used to drink a can with dinner. Now I rarely have it. Went cold turkey for my teeth.


    1. This is the plan now – make diet changes and exercise so I don’t need medication, or as much. I only take three prescription meds now, and I’d like to get that down to two (the conditions for the other medications are unfortunately hereditary – high cholesterol and osteoporosis – so those meds will always be with me).

      I have given up Diet Coke before, for nearly two years, but started up again when we moved to Hawaii because it was so hot and DC was so refreshing! I’m glad we had that extra case on hand to get through – I still drink them – one a day – but the desire is less and less each day.


  3. Sounds like I good plan. I agree that diet is worse in twenty ways then regular and when I must have coke I drink the real things. My alternative is flavored darling water in cans right now i have dark morel cherry. I am forbidden from going much lower than 1500 calories a day by doc’s and nutritionist. But I do pretty low carb. If its okay with your doctor. Look at whole thirty. Its a one month elimination dairy, no alcohol. No real or fake sugar, no grains or legumes. Tfe dairy does not invludes eggs. It’s hell, let me tell ya, but then you sdd one food at a time.


    1. I think if I was a more active person then 1500 calories/day would work, but these days I’m unfortunately more sedentary than not, so that’s why the lower number of calories.

      I wish I like sparkling water, but I don’t. None of the flavors work for me. So regular water it is, and mugicha (barley tea) once it arrives from Japan.

      I don’t think I could do that Whole Thirty – yikes! Keeping a food diary is helping me though to discover the triggers that set off my stomach.


  4. I stopped drinking coffee (cold Turkey) a few weeks ago. I switched to Teeccino decaffeinated Tea. Tastes like coffee, many varieties, I drink French Roast and the Dark Roast. I need to dial in on my food too, My fitnesspal is a great tool, thanks for the inspiration.


    1. I looked up Teecchino, and I think that might be something to look into – thank you! I’m not ready to completely give up coffee yet, but I’m getting there. I’ve been drinking coffee since I was five years old (!) – I used to have “coffee” (milk and sugar with a splash of coffee) with my grandmother in the afternoons when I stayed at her house, and also drank my mom’s unfinished cups (also more milk and sugar than coffee) as well, but eventually came to love it black. A doctor told me once that I must keep my coffee cup in a shrine (he said he did, he loved coffee so much)!


  5. Sad to say, I can relate to most of your “issues”. My hiatal hernia diagnosis explained a lot and really controls what I can eat and how much. Once I realized that situation, my misery if I overeat became very understandable. And I would do a lot better if I were eating 1200 calories/day and walking two miles. Soon…

    As for Diet Coke, I had to give up carbonated beverages for the most part a long time ago. They just really irritate my digestive system. The one encouragement I can offer is this: once you get your digestion under control (i.e. less need for anti-acids, etc.), you can probably sneak in a random Diet Coke here and there. But overall, I no longer eat much that I know will upset my system. I honestly look at certain foods (at least most days) and think, “That isn’t worth the end result.” Never thought that would happen to me, but there I am. Of course, I have an occasional craving and then follow up with a Tums chaser. LOL.

    Ain’t aging great? Ha!


    1. My hiatal hernia has not been official diagnosed because I haven’t been scoped, but all symptoms lead to that’s what’s going on. I had all sorts of test done last summer to rule out other conditions, but there just wasn’t time to do an endoscopy.

      One of the biggest changes I’ve made that’s made a difference is how I sit. I used to love stretching out on the sofa to read, but that always activated things, so now I sit up with a couple of pillows behind my back, and voila! no reflux.

      “This isn’t worth the result” is the main reason I’ve been able to give up so many things. Smaller portions help too – one thing about MyFitnessPal is that I have to weigh/measure everything. I am down to two Tums a day now, maybe three once in a while, and I can live with that. The prebiotic and probiotic seem to be making a difference as well – I think my gut flora got all out of whack but seems to be righting itself.

      Getting older is not for sissies!


  6. Good luck – sounds like you have a plan! Do you think your stomach issues could be caused by the bisphosphonates you are taking for osteoporosis? Glad you have such scenic views for walks. Isn’t it amazing how far you walk in vacation with novel surroundings?


    1. The stomach issues showed up long before I started taking medication for osteoporosis, so I don’t think they’re linked. Both the doctor I saw in Portland last summer, and the doctor here were adamant that I continue the “bone pill” (that’s what I call it).


  7. Oh poor you! I feel for you. Losing weight is so hard as we age. I have lost over 30 pounds from just giving up bread. And I love bread. I was making my own sourdough bread and eating way too much. My doctor told me that it was like eating cake. My stomach issues also disappeared when I gave it up. I don’t miss it now but it was very hard. Like giving up coffee or something. Sorry. My husband has a terrible Diet Coke habit. I gave up yelling at him over it. I wish his doctor would tell him to stop. That stuff is the worst. You could try to make something fizzy to replace it. I love mixing white grape juice with Perrier or some sort of fizzy water. Not quite the same but kind of an interesting and safe substitute.


    1. I have given up bread as well, except for Dave’s 21-Grain bread. I have a few slices a week because it doesn’t aggravate my stomach, and I like a grainy bread anyway. But like you, I LOVE bread, so this was hard. But as Laurel said, the end result after eating it just wasn’t worth it any more.

      What I’ve noticed is that when I give up stuff, Brett eventually gives it up as well. He does love sweet though, but I’ve found if I bake a cake he will now eat a tiny piece, and that seems to satisfy him. We bake the cakes in a 9″ x 13″ pan, then cut into 24 pieces. One piece is enough, and lasts the three of us for eight days!

      I really don’t like sparkling water, flavored or otherwise. I’m going to stick with herbal teas and the mugicha once the DC is gone. (My doctor agrees with you – she said Diet Coke was the worst!!)


  8. Have you given tea a try to replace coffee? I too, couldn’t handle an acidic stomach and switch to one super strong & large cup of tea in the morning. It consists of one bag of English Awake black tea + another bag of something else tea (currently Yamamotoma gen mai tea), steeped for 5 minutes, + a dash of milk + one bag of stevia. I made the switch many years ago and seldom care for coffee now even though my husband is still deep in coffee.


    1. Your tea combo sounds delicious! The dentist I saw last summer told me the same thing. She swapped out her many cups of coffee for one cup of strong green tea in the morning and doesn’t miss nor care for coffee any more. I do like tea, but I am more of iced tea drinker than hot. But, I am putting your suggestion on my “to try” list!


  9. I’m going to go against the flow and say that diets don’t work. Eating 1200 calories a day is not feasible long term. If diets worked, the diet industry would not be the thriving business that it is given its incredibly low success rate (95-98% gain back some or all). You can be healthy and be at a higher weight.


    1. I am somewhat suprised, but finding the 1200 calories to be very satisfying. It’s all about what I eat, which is more vegatables and fruits these days, and smaller amounts of rice and meat. I’m not on any sort of diet plan, or following some strict diet. I eat what I serve my family, but measure everything so that I am not eating too much, which was the problem before. I was always trying to fit in sweets, or more of something, but I’m not this time. So we shall see.


  10. I have a few thought about this. I gave up coffee and felt sad about it but then I remembered how ‘sad’ I was about giving up Dr Pepper (even typing those words made me think “ I love Dr Pepper!!!”) haha!!

    I now drink Peppermint tea and more water and feel great for that. I think that I need to give up bread for gut weight but struggle (and forget) with that one!

    Good luck! I will be here to cheer you on!!


    1. I think by the time our Diet Coke supply runs out I’m not going to feel very sad about it at all! I desire it less and less each day – I guess that’s my mind getting itself ready for when the big day finally arrives.

      I have to stick with either herbal or decaffinated teas as the caffeine still keeps me awake. I do feel great for drinking as much water as I do now (72 ounces a day).

      I’m also glad I found the Dave’s 21-Grain bread. I love bread, but most of it triggered the acid in my stomach. This bread doesn’t, maybe because of all the grains. They make a thin-sliced variety, but unfortunately don’t sell it here (unless I want to pay nearly $8/loaf out in town!). Bread has always been my nemesis, but I hopefully I figured it out this time, what I can and can’t have, and how much.


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