Diet and Exercise

Frequent questions about diet and exercise have been showing up in my inbox, so I decided to share another post on those subjects.

Before my recent bout with a virus and pneumonia, I would go for a brisk three-mile walk every morning and a shorter one later in the evening. I don’t have the energy for that right now, and the coughing hasn’t ceased, but I am slowly getting stronger. A couple of days ago, I began taking slow and careful short walks. I snapped this photo when I returned from an early morning walk through my deserted neighborhood yesterday morning. I never see anyone out and about before sunrise, so it’s a bit like having the world to myself.

Most of my exercise comes from moving all day naturally. I rarely sit still for more than an hour. I climb the stairs many times each day, clean my house, garden a little, and go for a walk at least once a day. When I think about it, I do some stretches to stay flexible and work on my balance.

Another question I get often is, “What do you wear to exercise or to lounge around?” The answer is street clothes. I don’t recall ever owning a pair of sweat pants and only have one pair of rarely worn black leggings to pair with long sweaters or tunics.

Comfort is a priority for me when I go for my morning walks. A hat keeps my hair out of my face, and the New Balance walking shoes are supportive. I always wear Active-X no show socks here when I walk, since they never slip.

I’ve learned to wear tops with a scoop or V-neckline when I walk. Slightly more fitted clothing is so much more comfortable on long walks. Nothing is more irritating than crewneck tops that ride up and choke you as you walk or loose-fitting pants that can make you stumble. I liked this top so much; I bought several different colors. It is here. My jeans are here. Similar walking shoes are here. My hat is here. The no-show athletic socks are here. I’m not wearing any makeup, but I do cleanse my face when I get up each morning and before I go to bed. My skincare routine is here.

The answer to “What do you eat?” is, “Mostly vegetables.” I have about a half cup of Eden Organic, no salt added beans at almost every meal. Since they have been pressure-cooked, I can digest them easily.

Whole grain barley is a rich source of fiber, and it contains copper, vitamin B1, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium, and niacin. Hulled barley undergoes minimal processing to remove only the inedible outer shell, leaving the bran and germ intact. Soak 1 cup of barley in 2 cups of water overnight in a covered container in the refrigerator. Drain and rinse it before cooking until tender. This amount will provide multiple servings, which can be stored in the fridge and quickly reheated over the next three days. Barley is one of the only grains or cereals I can eat without digestive issues. Grains are problematic for lots of people.

Other items that are always in my pantry or fridge include butternut squash or acorn squash, broccoli, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, and pistachios. I often have baked sweet potatoes for breakfast. Carrots, celery, cucumbers, radishes, or other crunchy vegetables are always excellent accompaniments to vegetable dishes.

Here is an earlier post about my recent food choices. I tried to share additional information today.

I never eat pork, beef, or types of meat other than wild-caught fish or pasture-raised chicken (the later on rare occasions). Never use artificial sweeteners, or sugar, drink sodas, diet or otherwise. I rarely eat bread, pasta, or use any condiments. I do share a special dessert with Mr. Mickey occasionally, and I have a glass of red wine with meals on the weekend.

On most days, I eat breakfast a couple of hours after I wake up, usually at about 6:30. I eat lunch at about 2:00, and then I don’t eat again until the next morning. I drink a lot of water early in the day but not so much after about four. I find that I sleep much better on an empty stomach, and not drinking water later in the day means I don’t have to get up during the night.

Allowing the digestive tract to rest a few hours between meals allows for energy to go toward healing other parts of the body. Not eating in the evening has always been the healthiest option for me. Read more about intermittent fasting here.

Shopping links may provide a small commission for me at no additional cost to you. I use my Sony Alpha a5100 camera’s timer and a tripod to take my photos.

67 Comments
  1. I love my New Balance walking shoes! They make such a difference in how my back, hips, and feet feel. I normally walk three miles a day, but to recent health issues I had to rest and recover a bit. Now I am back up to 2 miles a day and feeling stronger. I love walking in the morning. My recent illness sure gave me a good perspective on health and feeling well. Every day I wake up and thank God for another day and the strength and ability to enjoy it. Blessings to you, Susan!

  2. It is so good to see you looking like your lovely, healthy self once again! You are the “poster child” for healthy living and healthful eating.

    1. I usually go to bed at nine, but lately, it has been seven because I am so tired from being sick. I’ve been eating this way for most of my adult life. I started going out to dinner with Mr. Mickey when we first started dating. It wasn’t long before I was very sick and had gained more than forty-five pounds. When I went back to my way of eating, I lost the excess weight and reversed health issues like pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

  3. Susan, Great post. I really appreciate your sharing your experiences and advice about plant based healthy diet and effective exercise. I’ve often followed the two-meal-a-day plan, with a late breakfast and early dinner, but I can’t seem to deal with having my last meal as early as you do –I get hungry in the late afternoon/evening. Do you have any tips for overcoming this? (Maybe my daily cycle is just later than yours–what time do you usually go to bed?) Thanks.

    1. I usually go to bed about nine, but since being ill, it can be five, six, or seven depending on how tired I am. Each person has to do what works best for them. One of my closest friends lost weight when I did, but she skips breakfast, has a light lunch, and eats dinner with her husband.

  4. Such interesting reading today, Susan, especially the link from Harvard University. Please continue to include these types of health info backed up by reliable sources.
    It’s bathing suit season and I am hoping that you can do a blog on suits that look good on average to larger sized women. An example: I’m long in the torso, shorter legs, straight figure, so what style would look better on me?
    You sound like you’re gaining back strength and your health in small increments, and that’s so positive. Keep resting, though, and take it one day at a time.

  5. Thank you for your openness and willingness to share. I appreciate your tips and lessons learned. I’m glad you are feeling better.

  6. Thank you for an informative eating and exercise regime. Some I will follow, however, I will add to my diet that obviously is not okay for yours.
    You look great in spite of being sick, which is both a curse and a blessing as people will expect more from you when you don’t look “ill” and may not have the energy to do more than you can.
    Take care, thank you for using your energy to keep in touch with your fans in spite of not being quite up to par but doing an excellent job in spite of the circumstances.

    Clara from Iowa

  7. I still enjoy the porridge you introduced me to so many years ago. I eat about a half a cup for my breakfast. All those grains etc. are perfect for me. I know you are not able to eat it any longer, but I thank you for such a nutritious and satisfying breakfast.

  8. Glad you are getting out into the fresh air Susan. I’d like to suggest the book “Delay. Don’t Deny.” It isn’t “sciency” but Gin Stephens (the author) does include all of the studies behind what she talks about. It’s an easy read but very, very fascinating.
    Since you mentioned intermittent fasting I believe this book will be of interest to you. Insulin circulating in our bodies all day long doesn’t allow our bodies to rest and regenerate, intermittent fasting allows this rest.

  9. I liked your advice a few months ago that we (females this age) shouldn’t try to “keep up with the men” in the eating department. I still prepare an evening meal for my husband and myself, but I just eat a little bit and usually have leftovers for lunch the next day, when I REALLY am hungry, after skipping breakfast, which I’ve never liked. I think what you eat sounds perfect for us! If we all ate greens, beans and whole grains, we’d all be a lot happier. AND, they taste great.

  10. Hi Susan, so glad to see you feeling better. What size is the top you are wearing? I’d like to order a couple for summer wear. Thanks for all you do!

  11. Take your time, your stamina will come back eventually but this is a time to be gentle, eh? Proud of you for going back to a slightly modified routine, you are a superstar in my book.

  12. Hi Susan! I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better. How long of a walk are you able to take these days? I hope your cough goes away soon. With your healthy eating (no pop, diet pop, etc.) do you drink alcohol? I like a cocktail every now and then, but trying to stay away from the extra calories and sugar. Be well. Thank you for all your help!

  13. You look so fresh without makeup. You don’t really need it with your great skin. I get up and feed my cat at 5 in the morning and have a cup of tea with honey. Then around 2 I have a small brunch. I eat my supper at 4 but rarely eat meat or bread. I will often have soup but I also love veggies snd fresh fruit. I put seeds like hemp and chia etc on everything and nuts over salads or with oatmeal . I love your idea of molasses and nuts over a sweet potato. I started eating supper early because of you after I had my gall bladder removed. It is so much better for me. Take care and keep being kind to yourself.

  14. I’m so happy your good health is returning. Your power porridge is my favorite meal. I eat a late morning breakfast, and it sticks to my ribs for many hours!
    I recently read “Eat to Live” – the nutritional information really resonated with me. The statement, “Make this a commitment to your lifestyle, don’t just try it” gave me the edge to eat healthy and food preparation is easy. Your photography is fun and interesting as you share your travels and adventures!

  15. I have done IF for 15 months. I do not do pasta, potatoes, rice, bread, cereals and grains. I do non starchy vegetables and berries. I do lots of salad, wild caught sea food, and I do eat pork and beef but I buy from a company that does grassfed and free range chickens. I do pasture raised eggs also. I lost 35 lbs and feel so much better. I am a night owl, I have coffee around 9:30 or 10 in the morning, then a big salad of greens, avocado and hard boiled eggs or left over chicken and I like sunflower seeds for some crunch on my salad. Then .i try to eat dinner by 6. It is hard to vary my meals since my husband likes dinner! I try to do a 16 hour fast and 8 hours eating window. Some days longer and some a little shorter. Since maintaining for 7 months I have added a 1/2 sweet potato once a month. I am no longer pre diabetic, eliminated 1 blood pressure med and reduced the other one, off cholesterol meds and off anxiety meds. I feel better in my clothes and love dressing up and following your style!
    Good to see you doing better and doing more posts! Missed not hearing from you as often this past month!

  16. Dear Susan, from what you said about your diet it seems you are eating under 1000 calories a day. Just doesn’t seem enough with all the exercise you do. But if it works for you , good for you. You look amazing. You’re an inspiration .

  17. As always I enjoy the information you put on your blog daily. Would you please share what the name of the light green plants are in front of your shrubbery? Thank you and keep getting stronger and well.

  18. Thank you so much for your informative and inspirational posts and all the best on your continued recovery.

  19. Thank you for sharing with us all even when you are not feeling the best. I just ordered the socks with your discount. Thank you. Your advice on the Shapeez bra was so wonderful! Love them. So I’m sure the socks will wonderful as well. Praying for your steady recovery and thank you as well for the dietary advice! So helpful.

  20. Thank you so much for your informative and delightful posts. Glad to hear that you’re feeling better. Your post today was an answer to a lot of my questions. Are you a mind reader? Ha Ha! The question that I have today is do you love to read and if so, what books do you recommend? Thank you for sharing! Be well!

  21. You look so awesome and healthy, Susan. We’re so glad to hear that you are feeling better and regaining your strength. Thanks for the info on intermittent fasting. My nephew lost a lot of weight that way, and I’m seriously considering it. I was glad to hear you like New Balance shoes. I’ve worn NB for many years and with having rheumatoid arthritis, those shoes provide much needed support (I find the leather style works the best for me). I also appreciated the Harvard link.
    Thanks again for inspiring each of us!

  22. I really enjoyed this post today and am especially glad that your health continues to improve! I gained 15 pounds in the last two years starting with my dad’s passing, 2 falls resulting in broken bones and surgery and now sheltering in place. I lost 7 pounds over the past 3 weeks using intermittent fasting initially and then moved to not eating dinner, as you have done. I hike once a week (5-6 miles) and walk on the treadmill (2 miles) about 3 times a week. Then I lapsed…

    After reading your post, I feel inspired to continue my weight loss and renew my commitment to 2 meals per day. Although I eat a vegan diet, there are many non-animal foods that add weight!

    My biggest challenge is not having enough projects at home that hold my interest and so I bake and/or snack out of boredom. Maybe you have some ideas for those of us who need a hobby?

    1. I have been researching all the things that interest me. I’ve looked at several YouTube videos and then visite the websites to learn even more. (Gardening – Classic Style – Interior Design – Blue and White Porcelain – Photography – English Country Houses – New England Living – Cottage Style) There are so many subjects, I easily get lost in my research, and then I enjoy adapting what I’ve learned to the way I live or dress.

  23. Susan,
    Question concerning the Shapero bra please ?
    I wear. 34DD brassiere and did the measure under the armpits as suggested on the Shapeez website.
    There is no information as to how to accommodate the long line of the Ultimate bra. Do I get 34DD small, 34DD medium, 34 DD large ? There are so many sizes listed, how does one navigate this ?

  24. Hi Susan! You used to eat for breakfast what I would call a breakfast bowl – do you not eat that anymore? And why?
    Thanks!!

    1. I miss that breakfast porridge, but it became difficult for me to digest seeds and grains. I have almost stopped eating grains, and I take the seeds out of vegetables and remove the skins before serving.

  25. Love to hear about another intermittent faster— it’s improved health so much over the past year and a half. So simple, and gives the body a rest from constant digestion to work in other problem areas .

  26. Susan,
    I am so glad to hear you are regaining some strength. You are taking an intelligent approach to your recovery. Thank you for the informative research article on IF. My son introduced me to IF several years ago. I tried it off and on and wish I had stuck with it back then. Just a few weeks ago, I gave it another try and have been successful. My eating window is from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. I eat a very small breakfast, and my husband and I have our largest meal at around 1 p.m., then I have a few nuts and a piece of fruit or a small salad of greens for “dinner.” Like you, I have found I feel and sleep better now.

  27. Sue,
    Glad you are feeling somewhat better. How much Proteins do you eat in a day and what sources do they come from?
    Your diet seems a little carb heavy?

    1. Vegetables high in protein include lima beans, bean sprouts, green peas, spinach, sweet corn, asparagus, artichokes, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, and broccoli. I avoid the carbs in white potatoes, pasta, and bread.

  28. So glad to hear you are slowly getting your energy back, still take it easy, little steps for a good and full recovery. I saw today a recipe you might like and I also thought about about mdl. Roast a carrot whole, grated first and put a little oil on it , roast till done, leave whole and put a little dijon mustard on it like a hot dog and slice to eat. you might like it since you can eat carrots. Stay Safe and take care

  29. Hi, Susan – Wow, you eat a Spartan diet! I just eat 1400 calories a day, watching that I keep within my fat, sugar and carb limits. I enjoy a glass of wine or beer and a treat (usually a couple of Sanders dark chocolate covered caramels) each day. I love whole grain or gluten-free bread or pasta but usually for dinner I have a protein with vegetables or salad. I love whole grains and beans and have no problem digesting them. (Knock on wood. Lol!) If I don’t eat three meals a day at regular intervals, I get very hungry…although I am well-disciplined and can drink water instead if I have had enough food for the day. Also, if I stay up late (which is often; I’m more of a night owl) I get too hungry to sleep. In that case, I’ll have an approved snack off of my Bedtime Snacks list. I’ve got to thank you for mentioning the no-show socks that don’t slip with a discount. I don’t have a problem with my low-cut athletic socks, but I’ve been experimenting to find some that don’t slip or show in ballet flats and such. I only liked the Peda Bellas with the clear strap in back but that’s more for slingbacks. I’m looking forward to trying the Sheec ultra low-cut no-show liner socks. I hope you get well soon! – Angie,

    1. I would never be able to eat as much food as you do. I believe it is essential to pay attention to our body’s signals and learn the difference between habit and need.

  30. Hi Susan,
    Do you ever wear shorts to work in the yard? Or have you ever worn capris? I live in Florida and wearing some kind of shorts outside to work is a must. I would jut like to look a little more put together when I am working outside.

    1. Another Floridian here (Tallahassee). I suggest skorts for outdoor work. Think golf attire with moisture wicking fabric.

  31. Susan, so good to read another update from you! I appreciate your sharing what works for you and the theme that we need to find what works for us and follow that. My spouse and I are working toward that. We did a 20 day low carb challenge and after a lake getaway and a more lenient schedule, starting on a 40 day plan.

  32. I purchased the hat you wear while walking and I love it — sometimes I even turn the brim down for more protection from the sun. Even though I don’t wear makeup while walking, I feel I should clean the head band periodically. I’m wondering if you clean yours and how. You are such an inspiration — wish you would publish a book.

  33. You may want to read dr. William Davis books. Wheat belly and undoctored. Or, if you are on a budget, subscribe to his youtube channel., and. Check out his website. Barley is no better for us than wheat or corn.

  34. Susan, please make sure you eat barley, nuts or seeds whenever you have beans: you will get more usable protein that way. This is especially important when you need to do tissue repair after an illness.
    I’m so glad to hear you’re on the mend!!

  35. I ordered some Sheec socks and they are brilliant! Thanks for sharing that and for the link/ discount – you get an affiliate credit, the company makes a sale, and I get discounted great socks— Everyone wins!

    Hope your recovery continues along on schedule.

  36. I love following your posts. I learned about intermittent fasting from you. It works!! I am also improving my diet. I really enjoy your outfits and style tips, too. The one thing I haven’t found is a post on your beauty routines. There are so many, expensive products but I would love to know your ideas for morning and night beauty routines and/or products. Thank you so much for showing us that 6o’s are still beautiful and stylish!♥️

  37. Hello
    I have just turned 60 and was fit, but over the years, I have let it slide and your blog has inspired me to do something about it.

    First question, do you go for your walk before or after breakfast?

    Second question, do you take any extra vitamins and if so, what do you suggest?

    thank you
    Kim Bloem
    Australia

    1. I take my walk after breakfast and often go for another short walk after my late in the day lunch when the weather is agreeable. If you take supplements, they should be the ones you need based on your blood test results. I have a consistent Vitamin D deficiency and bone density loss, so I take a calcium and D supplement.

  38. I am a 72 year old woman living in Ontario, Canada. I love your look which I would call “ casual chic”. I notice you wear and look great in jeans but I wonder if I am to old to wear them?

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I blogged for five years as Fifty, not Frumpy. Now that I am in my sixties, I am sharing ideas and inspiration for using and loving what you already have.

Thank you!
Susan

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