Don't you dare diet: Don't even consider it, or you'll want to pig out.
Don't gain any more weight. You read the headlines — you know extra pounds cause heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and more.
Don't, don't, don't. What to do? Here's what I have learned: It really is simple, and you will like it. Don't think too long. Get up and move.
Today I went to my city recreation department movement class. Linda, a new class member, joined our group. An ice blue scarf covered her white hair. This day, Marilyn, our energetic teacher, skipped her usual speech, "Move at your own level; there are no right or wrong steps." Instead, she hit play on her boombox and started right out, brisk forward step, then back.
I turned to see Linda, panic in her eyes.
"Don't worry," I whispered to her, "the moves are gentle. We do what we can."
"I'm weak — too much time on the couch," Linda answered. She danced the first number, sat down on a folding chair and moved her arms to the second song but returned to the floor to dance again later.
When class ended, she told me she liked the drum number best. "That got me going!" she said, as we walked out of class together.
Linda's smile and her words, "See you next week," told it all. Her couch potato-ness had stolen her energy, but moving made her happy. She'll be stronger next week.
That's my whole message, almost. OK, so dancing's not for you. Well, what about walking? Walking is for everybody. So set that alarm. Before the daytime crowds take over, go for a walk. Find a location where you will be safe and comfortable. Work up to a half-hour one way and a half-hour back.
Now, go home and eat breakfast, have your coffee and enjoy a holier-than-thou attitude. You earned it. You completed your workout while everyone else snored.
And a word about food: Eat a lot of it. I do. I am food-centered. I will never change. Over the years I've learned to humor myself. Here's what I've learned:
1. Move — I already said it. Calories in versus calories out. The more I move, the more I can eat without being a lardo.
2. Eat a lot — I already said it, but here's what I eat: oatmeal for breakfast, a slice of whole-grain bread with lunch and dinner, a piece of fruit with every single meal, small portions of meat or no meat, lots of fish and even more vegetables, especially greens. Eat your potatoes baked or boiled, not fried.
3. Skip all sugar drinks and all diet drinks. Pounds will roll off and you will be able to eat more.
You won't follow my advice 100% — I know I don't. If you order one of those 3,000-calorie coffee drinks, enjoy every sip, but don't get another one for a month. It's not the one pigout that hurts you. It's the months of mostly good eating that help you.
Slayback writes on health and fitness. Read about her marathons at lazyracer.blogspot.com. She is a retired teacher who lives in Newport Beach with her husband and Chihuahuas.
My Turn is a forum for readers to recount an experience related to health or fitness. Submissions should be no more than 500 words. They are subject to editing and condensation and become the property of The Times. Please e-mail email@example.com. We read every essay but can't respond to every writer.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times