Maximizing My Health, One Baby Step at a Time

By Lori Ross | February 5th, 2015

Publisher Lori Ross on her new approach to health.

The Pimsleur companies hit my email inbox regularly trying to tempt me to become a better person by learning a new language. If I haven’t learned Portuguese by now, it’s probably not going to happen.

Instead, I’m like one of many boomers discussed in this issue’s Better Aging Guide, trying to pay attention and improve our health in order to maximize living. Over the last year, I simply focused on learning new tricks to improve energy intake (food) and energy output (exercise).

In the past, I was the pitiful woman who couldn’t cook well enough to even rely on her pets to clean fallen dinner scraps from the floor. I’m also the same pitiful woman who has never experienced the so-called feeling of euphoria others describe after a great workout or run.


Over the last year, however, I developed a “first-aid kit” for my healthy living. Here are three of my must-have kit items:

1. THE FIRST ITEM IS GOOGLE … which is quite empowering. Google taught me any basic unknown cooking skill I needed, when I needed it. Again, I’m the pitiful woman who had to Google “how to hard boil eggs,” “how to cook tender pork chops” or “how long to boil corn on the cob.”

You see, over the years I’ve attempted complicated recipes and watched some gourmet cooking shows, but they assumed I already knew the basics. When the dish didn’t turn out well, I assumed cooking wasn’t my thing. In 2014, it dawned on me that learning to cook is like learning math: You don’t start with calculus before learning basic addition and subtraction. And I’ve found that I like a lot the simple tastes and healthiness of many basic food items prepared well, even without added creams, butters and cheeses.

2. MY SECOND ITEM IS A “NUWAVE” SMALL BLENDER that does incredibly well. It’s my “magic bullet.” I’ve learned to get my five to seven fruits and vegetables in so easily by making smoothies and soups. The fun of a smoothie made with frozen banana, frozen blueberries and skim milk, plus a touch of French vanilla creamer, is a great dessert substitution. And it keeps me from feeling denied – which is always how I begin to blow the good intentions of a diet.

3. MY FINAL ITEM IS MY FITBIT EXERCISE TRACKER. In 2014, I decide to add 10 miles of walking per week as a goal – and estimated I probably reached that about two-thirds of the time. In walking with my friend Nuria, I learned about the fun she was having competing with friends with her exercise tracker. It’s not my thing to compete with others, but I love self-competition (via solitaire or Sudoku, for instance). That translates nicely to my FitBit. I now challenge myself to 11,000 steps every day – and it’s fun to keep track, as if it’s a game. With this tool I no longer “estimate” my activity. FitBit gives me “medals” and “awards” for my success. I now ALWAYS walk a total of 35-plus miles per week … starting one baby step at a time.

Here’s hoping you will enjoy learning something new this issue to apply from the “Better Aging Guide.”

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