Ask Good Life: “I go to bed at 2 in the morning, have breakfast at 10:30 with cooked mate and 5 water crackers spread with light cream cheese. Lunch at 1:15 p.m., usually meat (not fried) with green salad and/or cherry tomatoes , or pasta with tuco and grated cheese. Except on Sundays when I eat roast, I don’t drink alcohol (only water) and I don’t smoke either. Double coffee with something sweet. I have dinner at 6:30 p.m. I have dinner at 8:30 p.m., very good. similar to lunch. Sometimes I have grilled fish for dinner, simple coffee, plus something sweet. Every day I cycle for 45 minutes and consume 400 calories. I am 77 years old, weigh 90 kg and measure 1. 68. What am I doing wrong?”

Result impossible replace a medical consultation in which a questionnaire is carried out, a clinical diagnosis is made and what a person could do to achieve their goals is analyzed.

However, and given the large number of similar messages received on our channel “Questions for Good Life”, some of the guidelines mentioned by the reader will be taken as a basis to analyze what the healthy lifestyle habits.

Clarified the point that this article does not seek to answer the question of “what am I doing wrong”, but rather to analyze issues rooted in common sense that can therefore be generalized and may be making it difficult to achieve certain objectives (which, as we will see, do not are necessarily linked to weight loss), Clarion He spoke with two specialists: one in Nutrition and the other in physical activity in the elderly.

The first question to analyze is what for many people translates as a need to lose weight. In fact, they may believe that they need it, when in reality, the decline often occurs due to change the focus, improve diet and do physical activity.

“It’s a complex topic, if a person is almost 80 years old and is concerned about body weight. In this type of case, it would be necessary to see if this objective is based on an aesthetic issue, on a functional issue, on mobility, or if the doctor made this recommendation due to a heart condition, for example,” says Mariano Sassano, master in gerontology. social and graduate in Physical Education and Sports.

“All this generates different levels of anxiety in the person, which is the reason why many people are behind every gram of decline, in a very anxious way,” he adds.

No results are immediate

Another issue that usually happens is that, when changing habits, we want to see the results immediately.

“In everything that has to do with physical activity and nutrition, in short, with changes in habits, it takes time. Time is key, since it is a behavior modification over time. It’s not that I modify my behavior and in a month I have to see results,” warns Sassano.

For breakfast, a bowl of yogurt with granola is filling and provides fiber.  Photo file.For breakfast, a bowl of yogurt with granola is filling and provides fiber. Photo file.

In the same direction, nutritionist Laura Romano, creator of Integral Nutrition, points out that the time factor becomes even more present as we age.

“At a certain point in life, and as age increases, the metabolism is reducing. So, what you did before and it worked, later you realize that it no longer works. And this is something real, it happens,” he acknowledges.

“What happens is that one loses caloric expenditure, the energy that the body needs to stay alive, to keep all the organs functioning, we could say that is being lost over time,” he explains.

At the same time, as the years go by, the muscle mass is reducing. “Muscle is a tissue that generates a lot of caloric expenditure. So, if it is lost, as the years go by your metabolism also reduces, your caloric expenditure at rest is reduced, so perhaps the physical activity that you did before and that made you generate muscle, now only serves to maintain muscle mass.

The importance of strength work

“The World Health Organization and other international entities recommend, in addition to aerobic physical activity to improve cardiovascular health, strength exercises, because that at least maintains or, in the best of cases, increase muscle mass and metabolism,” he adds.

“We call it training with free loads, with weights, whether dumbbells, elastic bands, with discs, with pulleys, machines… Strength work, exercise work against gravity, that’s why they are called counter resistance, what they do is promote caloric expenditure“, adds Sassano.

It is advisable to add strength exercise to aerobic exercise.  Photo file/ Axel Alexander. It is advisable to add strength exercise to aerobic exercise. Photo file/ Axel Alexander.

The specialist highlights the importance of this type of exercises to improve daily functionality: “What interests me most as a teacher is the benefits on the musculoskeletal system, that is, the functional dimension that strength training will give the person, I care little if that accelerates weight loss through fatty tissue “he admits.

“On the other hand, I care a lot about having muscle mass to being able to get out of bed from the bathroom chair, to bathe, to go down or up stairs, go shopping, be with your partner, with your grandchildren,” he counters. “That matters much more to me than weight loss,” he insists.


When analyzing the food issue, Romano suggests taking into account both the quality as well as quantity of foods ingested.

“Beyond eating healthy, foods that help you maintain a healthy body, when we talk about weight loss we also have to focus on quantity, not just quality,” he suggests.

When addressing the question of which nutrients should be prioritized, he says: “If a person wants to focus on their health, age with vitality and have a healthy brain, I would say that they should reduce the nutrients to the minimum possible. refined flours and consume carbohydrates with fiber. For breakfast you could eat a bowl of yogurt with granola and red berries, for example, which has many antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals,” he suggests.

Ideally, half the plate should be made up of vegetables.  Photo: ShutterstockIdeally, half the plate should be made up of vegetables. Photo: Shutterstock

“Those cookies have no fiber, they have pure white flour and the spreadable cheese does not have much protein. I would change it for a whole wheat sourdough bread or a legume bread with an egg, for example, it would be much better. And if we can add a portion of red fruits or kiwi, which also has many antioxidants and vitamin C, or now in the winter, add a tangerine and a green juice,” he proposes.

Regarding the main meals, lunch and dinner, Romano assures that it is ideal that half of the plate is made up of vegetables, and divide the other half between proteins and carbohydrates. “Regarding the salad, I would always try to vary it,” he recommends.

“If we think, again, about health, longevity, brain health, I would try to incorporate a lot of vegetables, not always green vegetables and cherry tomatoes, but vary, look for seasonal vegetables: cucumber, radishes, beets, beans, make grilled vegetables like eggplant and zucchini, look for fennel; that is, covering a broader range of antioxidants, which is what we find in vegetables,” he lists.

The 30 plants per week rule

Romano points out that there are studies that show how, to have good intestinal health and therefore good health in general, it is best to enrich the microbiota. “How do we achieve it? Incorporating more than 30 different plants per week. “Plant refers to including legumes, seeds, nuts, anything that comes from a plant: be it the stem, the leaf, the seed, or the root,” he points out.

Let us remember that according to the guidelines for a healthy life Not only is exercise, a healthy weight, and a nutritious diet important, but also rest, bedtime, exposure to sunlight, moderating tobacco and alcohol consumption, and managing stress.


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