Thursday, March 19, 2009

Captain Andy, Grocery Check-out, and Metabolism

Journal Entry: Weight = 176.0; Money Found = $1.18, 23 pennies, 2 dimes, 3 quarters; glass bottles retrieved = 6.

Feature Entry: In the middle of the MoneyWalker’s residual walk to the grocery yesterday, I was struck by the contrast of purchase items of the young person in the check-out conveyor and in my items. In front of her plastic divider were a bag of Junior Mints and a box of chocolate covered Raisinettes. My section included a box of wheat germ and a sack of whole grain ground flax flour.

I was reminded of the Broadway musical Showboat and the impresario Captain Andy (Charles Winninger, who was in the Broadway original) and one of the musical scores: “Captain Andy, Captain Andy, you sure make your showboat sound dandy!” We fitness devotees might sometime incorrectly, if not smugly, communicate that maintaining proper nutrition and weight control is easy. Not so, every instinct in my body cried out to trade the wheat germ for the Junior Mints. Make no mistake, staying trim and fit is not easy and requires sacrifice.

Moreover, as we age, weight gain is a common occurrence because of a slowing metabolism. The good news is that exercise can help lessen the weight gain. The Wightwatchers organization has a very readable blog that provides excellent information:

After age 45, we humans lose about 10% of our muscle mass for each decade of our life thereafter. “This equates to losing about one-third to one-half a pound of muscle each year and also gaining that much in body fat. Because muscle mass burns a lot of calories compared to fat, the total number of calories needed goes down.” While the change in body composition accounts for most of the decline in metabolism, the body organs also utilize fewer calories as a result of the aging process. Then, most of us also slow down as we age, we stop being “ballplayers.”

Van Pelt and his associates in the J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Oct;82(10):3208-12, found that the average adult after age 50 requires 300 to 600 less calories than when they were younger. They advised that there is something we can do to slow the aging process and speed up the metabolism? Their evidence supported the use of resistance training (weight training) and aerobic exercise as beneficial in offsetting the decline in metabolism and associated weight gain.

Weight lifting and walking may be one answer, but saying no to those Junior Mints is also important. The modern T.V. infomercials with their Captain Andy hulks and babes are paid to make the hard work of exercise look easy and fun, but it isn’t. I still enjoy a Junior Mint, but in smaller servings (not the whole box in one setting); and walk, staying motivated by searching for those elusive coins. Your metabolism will thank you.


1 comment:

  1. I can say no to Junior Mints. But Rollos, no way. They are irrestistable for this fifty-something woman.

    My nightly drink is grapefruit juice with 1/3 cup of freshly ground flax seed. Hopefully all of those omegas will counteract the chocolate and caramel.