Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (4/4 – 4/10)

If you eat a croissant or pastry for breakfast every morning it doesn’t matter how much you walk: you will gain weight.

I read this somewhere before we visited France in September of 2018. It was written with tongue in cheek, but turned out to be more than prescient, and in retrospect the author should have also mentioned that it would apply equally to eating two scoops of yummy gelato every day in Italy, pastel de nata (egg tarts) in Portugal; TimTams of every flavor in Australia and New Zealand, KitKats and other treats in Japan, scones with clotted cream and jam (or ginger nuts and shortbread) in the UK, and so on. Brett and I walked miles every day during our travels but really didn’t give a thought to what we were eating or how much, and we both ended up gaining A LOT of weight. Getting rid of that extra weight has been our main effort this past year and we still have more to go.

Portion control is king here these days. Everything we eat these days gets measured, from rice to pasta to sauces, dressings, pot roast, sausages, or a piece of cake for dessert. The food scale, Weight Watchers ladles, and measuring cups and spoons are used every day. The only things that aren’t measured are vegetables. I’ve been recording and tracking my meals and snacks for nearly a year usingMyFitnessPal, which has the most extensive food lists I can find, and it was initially shocking to see how much I had been overeating before. Brett doesn’t track his food, but has me monitor his portion sizes most of the time. He is also eating far, far less these days.

There is no food off the table for us, but if we want to have something it has to fit into our daily calorie allotment. Although the photos below might make it look like our portions are large, they’ve all been carefully measured and weighed and are probably smaller than imagined. We love having dessert each evening, but these days that means a tiny two-inch square piece of cake versus the bigger pieces we used to serve ourselves, or just 1/2 cup of ice cream instead of a big bowl. For a while we were enjoying a gin & tonic four nights a week until we decided we’d rather apply the calories to something more nutritious, so these days we’re back to drinks on Friday and Saturday evenings only. There are no more assumptions or guessing, and there’s no more mindless eating either – we know each day what we’ll be having on the next so that we’re not tempted to overdo it.

I’ve lost over thirty pounds over the last year and Brett’s lost over eighteen. We were both miserable carrying around the extra pounds, and have accepted that to remain healthy going forward, even as we travel, we need to stay vigilant, not just about what we eat but especially of how much. We don’t want to go back down the path we were on before, so while we’ll continue to allow ourselves to eat everything and anything, moderation will remain our guiding force.

Here’s what we ate for dinner this past week:

Sunday: Turkey club sandwiches with avocado

Monday: Spinach quiche with chèvre and gruyere; roasted zucchini

Tuesday: Guadalajara quesadillas made with spinach

Wednesday: Zaru soba with dipping sauce; hayayako (chilled tofu); cucumber spears

Thursday: Barbecue turkey & bacon mini pizzas

Friday: California roll salad

Saturday: Barbecue pulled pork sandwiches; coleslaw

Desserts this past week were tapioca pudding for three days followed by devil’s food cake with orange buttercream. The cake will be our dessert all next week as well which makes me happy because the combination of chocolate and orange is so good.

Here’s the plan for dinners next week (in no particular order):

  • Chicken and vegetable soup
  • Mississippi pot roast
  • French dip sandwiches
  • Spaghetti with meat sauce
  • Zucchini frittata
  • Mini pizzas
  • Egg roll in a bowl


Perched on top of a hill, Kukuiolono Park provides lots of beautiful views, but this one looking east to Hau’upa and down at Poipu and Koloa is always my favorite.

Somewhat surprisingly, it turned out to be a good week for walking even if the weather has sketchy at times. We both walked last Sunday, and then took Monday off (surgery day). I walked on my own on Tuesday and Wednesday (3.5 miles each day), and Brett felt good enough to walk again beginning Thursday, albeit at a slower pace, so we walked separately that day and on Friday, with him getting in a little over two miles, while I continued to do 3.5 miles. On Saturday we walked together for most of the time, but I ended up doing an extra lap while he rested in the car. We enjoyed absolutely gorgeous weather on Thursday and Friday, with lovely breezes to keep things cool. However, we were able to imagine those days how it’s going to feel again in the coming months when the breezes die down and the heat and humidity crank back up again. We’re already thinking we’ll start later in the afternoon than we are now when that happens, hopefully because temperatures will be coming down as the evening sets in, but also because we can walk out on the golf course more often. The last time to tee off is 4:30 p.m. and by 5:30 most are done or on their last holes, and where we like to walk is near the first four holes.

Brett rested in the park’s Japanese garden while I walked this past week.

We’re coming on a year of walking at Kukuiolono Golf Course and Park. I distinctly remember the first day we went there, and climbing the hill up to the clubhouse as I thought I was going to pass out, but these days I can climb that hill easily and even do it twice in a row without breathing hard. We are still discovering new walking routes there, and love that all it takes is changing up the order of the sections we walk to make our walks fresh again. We have become friends with other walkers there and often stop to chat and catch up with each other. We feel very blessed to have found the park for a walking venue – it has yet to get boring.


17 thoughts on “Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (4/4 – 4/10)

    1. Thanks! I am pleased with my results so far but would honestly like to lose a few more pounds. I’ve been stuck though for the past few weeks. Hopefully I will start losing again soon, but in the meantime I’m not changing anything. I want these new habits to be completely embedded by the time we hit the road again!


  1. Congratulations on the weight loss. Your meals always look yummy! Moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle. My now-retired doctor always used to say, “you can have the cookies, just don’t eat the whole bag”.


    1. I have always remembered the Julia Child said her secret to staying slim was that she ate everything and anything she wanted, but always in moderation. She had the cookies, but never ate the whole bag! Brett and were definitely eating the whole bag at times when we were traveling, and both of us want to make sure that doesn’t happen again.


  2. It’s surprising you gained weight when walking so much every day! But these older bodies are hard to figure out ha ha. I started a vegan diet on March 1st to really help myself figure out what, besides fruits and vegetables, affected me adversely. My biggest takeaway is that any simple carbs, even a whole grain product, will create a mini insulin crash where I’m fine one minute and starving the next. I didn’t just gradually get hungry. When I looked over my bloodwork, I could see that my fasting glucose was still on the higher side of normal. So I’ve cut out most “carby” snacks. I miss my waffle with peanut butter! Now I just have a tablespoon of peanut butter. It’s difficult getting used to this, but it’s been worth it, as I’m down almost 20 pounds since last summer. I’d like to lose another 20 this year. And I’m also learning to eat intuitively so I can keep this up for life. I now aim for vegan six days per week. My “cheat day” is pescatarian ha ha!!


    1. It surprised us too, Denise! We thought we would be immune from weight gain because of all the walking we did, but calories in were usually way more than calories out in spite of the exercise. Lessons learned!

      I try to limit carbs, but still enjoy them, just not every day and at every meal. It has made a difference. I also try to stick to a schedule now, not just for meals but for snacks as well, and that has helped too.

      Our son has been a vegan for two years and lost quite a bit of weight without trying, but he is healthier than he’s ever been (cholesterol and stuff like that). I’ve tried doing vegan but it was hard for me to maintain because I was still feeding the girls who definitely weren’t interested in eating vegan full-time. I’d do it now, but now it’s Brett that’s not interested. So, we eat everything but in moderation. Smaller portions have been the key for us this time.


    1. Thanks, Kathy! It’s a work in process though – we both still want to lose a few more pounds.. Brett and I felt miserable when we arrived here last year and knew we had change. We feel blessed to have the walking venue up at the park – besides changing how we eat, walking almost daily has made a huge difference.


  3. I’ve started walking a little bit in the evening. Crossing my fingers that it will help


    1. Yeah Vivian! Start slow and build up your distance and speed slowly. It’s true what they say too, that exercise releases natural chemicals into your brain and you will feel better when you’re done, to the point where you will start to crave exercise. Seriously!


  4. Your menus are aspirational for me, as I’ve been comforting myself with food during the pandemic. I have successfully used WW in the past and will use what I know from that plan to begin to take off what I’ve gained through the pandemic. The best food advice I’ve ever heard is “you crave what you eat.” It is so true! Beginning a diet is so difficult because you crave what you’ve been eating; then over time as you begin to build up veg intake, etc., you crave those things instead.


    1. Thanks, Nina. We decided that rather than eliminate foods we would work more with calorie limits and portion sizes, and it turned out that eliminated a whole lot of cravings all on its own. It did take a while to lose some of those cravings though, which is one of the reasons we allow ourselves a little bit of dessert/sweet each evening. That’s turned out to been enough that neither of us want anything sweet throughout the day. Another craving I’ve lost this past year is for cheese. We still eat it, but only occasionally now and we don’t have a refrigerator filled with different cheeses which we nibble on all the time like we did in the past.


  5. I’m so glad that Brett’s surgery went smoothly and was able to start exercising again. That turkey club sandwiches with avocado looks delicious! I need to create a meal plan for the week and really want to make this but should wait until I can get tomatoes from the farmers market. I will be adding the chicken adobo. We’ve made that before and loved it but it’s been a while. Looking forward to having it again!

    Speaking of your recipes, I have some canned pumpkin leftover from the fall and need to use them up. Do you think I could swap out the sweet potato for pumpkin in your addictive sweet potato burritos?


    1. We are back to walking our regular distances together. Brett saw the surgeon this past week and everything is healing well and going as it should. So glad this done and over.

      Yes – pumpkin works great in the addictive sweet potato burritos. I’ve used it several times.


      1. I’m so glad Brett had a good check-up!

        Wonderful! I’ll add the other ingredients to my shopping list. It is nice to have those pre-made and in the freezer for a yummy breakfast.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. So true – it’s more about what and how much you eat. Unless you’re an athlete, you just won’t burn enough calories. I know what I should do. “Just” need to do it.

    Well done on the weight loss. Amazing work.


    1. I have been stuck at my current weight for a couple of months now, or at least it seems that way. In spite of the all the walking we do I just seem incapable of losing. I am going to cut back on the amount I eat beginning this week and see if that makes a difference.

      Of course the real work of keeping the lost weight off begins once I do reach my goal. I am determined to make the supreme effort this time to make that happen!

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.