It doesn't matter what age you start eating healthy. You can always make a lifestyle change for better health at any age. My good friend Denise Gardiner is living proof of that. She used to eat all of the junk food in the world even when she worked out. .
Oftentimes, making changes to our lifestyle is a good start but we often find it difficult to keep them up. In this interview, we will discuss some tips on how to make changes that actually stick and help you reach your goals. By following these tips, you can be more likely to succeed in making changes that will improve your life.
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About The Guest
My name is Denise Gardiner, and welcome to my blog! I am a mom, wife, grandmother, a retired Realtor, and now a full-time blogger.
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Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Motivated
Denise Gardiner: Hi, my, name is Denise Gardiner, and thank you, Jimmy, for having me here today. And what I'm m going to be talking about today is, how in my sixty s I changed my lifestyle to a healthy lifestyle. And then I will also get into how exercise the exercise part of it, but I'm going to start off with the healthy, eating, eating the right food.
Jimmy Clare: So, I had a question for you. How come you wanted to, change, your, lifestyle? What made you want to change?
Denise Gardiner: Well, I wanted to change while I was in my sixty s. And when I was younger, I, was very healthy, even though I didn't eat right then. But when I got in my 60s, all of a sudden I had hypertension, I gained over £25. I had plaque build up on my arteries that my dad died from when he was 64. And, like I said, I was having IBS problems and things were not fun. And like, all of a sudden I was falling apart. So what I decided then is like, okay, Denise, you need to change what you eat because I think that's what's causing the problem here. So once I did that, then things change and I'll go more into the story as we go on here.
Jimmy Clare: so, please share your story with us. I think my whole audience might like to hear.
Denise Gardiner: Okay. All right, well, what I wanted to do, I wanted to share this journey because I became a vegetarian when I was in my sixty s. And then, I am in the process of creating a free nutrition course because I wanted to share, my own story. first on why I changed to a healthy lifestyle. And when I was younger, I could eat anything I wanted and stayed skinny and healthy. And I ate fast food and junk food on a regular basis. And a lot of times I didn't eat it all. And the thing was, even though I didn't eat healthy. I was an exercise fanatic. I would go to going to jazzer sites then, and I went at least five days a week. And, I mean, I was just all into this. I almost became an instructor, but the finances weren't there at that time, and jazzer size was the thing. And like I said, I'll go more into this later, too, is what the trend was at the time. And then before I started eating healthy, as I mentioned, I had stomach cramps and, like, IBS symptoms. And once I changed my eating habits, that went away. And it's amazing how different you feel when you eat the right foods and you get rid of all the junk that you eat. during menopause, which was like a five or six year period, like, ah, I said I had stayed healthy, and then all of a sudden, I became moody. I gained over the £25 and I wasn't active. like I said, I found out I had the hypertension and plaque build up on my carotid arteries. And, I, said that's what caused my dad to pass away. And so I said and it scared me. And so I started walking at least a mile a day. And then I changed what I ate. And this is what I changed to. Instead of all the junk, I went to fresh vegetables, and I would eat a variety of fruit, and I would have chicken once in a while, because I'm really not a meat person, but I eat nuts and things like that to get the protein. And then I eat Greek yogurt, usually have oatmeal for breakfast, or whole grain cereal, whole wheat pasta once in a while. salads, avocado sandwiches. And then, like I said, no fast food or junk food. And then I drink water or tea. And then instead of eating chips, I would eat baby carrots and slice up peppers, the colored bell peppers. And then, I rarely drank alcohol because that has a really high sugar content. so within a couple of months of doing this, I was back to a normal weight, ah, because I was doing this daily, and I was able to fit in all my old clothes, and, boy, I was happy to do that. And then, I have been able to keep the weight off, and I think it's been going on, like, six years now. Six or seven years, and I've kept the weight off. And, I did end up having to get on blood pressure medicine. But I'm fine. Everything's under control. And then it was within about a year that the plaque on the arteries, it was gone. And, the doctor mentioned that, it took years to get that build up. And, like I said, after that, I had energy and I had my self confidence back. and luckily, I have a lot of willpower and discipline, as we know, in the holidays, there's lots of food around, and you are tempted. Well, it's good food, but not healthy. And, you are so tempted with all the food that people bring. Same thing when I was working, people would bring we'd have these potlucks, and people would bring in food and it's like, but I just can't eat any of this without paying for it. and when we would go to other people's homes, it was so hard to find healthy food, and you didn't want to make them feel like they had to make you something special. So at, potlucks, I would bring a veggie tray and I would bring food that I could eat when we go to people's homes, so at least I could eat and not starve. And if they had salads or something like that, I could eat that. And going out to eat was another challenge. And most restaurants have fresh vegetables as a side, and you can also order that and brown rice, and then add a fruit when possible, thanks to our.
Denise Gardiner: There was a time there where you couldn't find anything healthy, but now they do have a lot of things that you can eat because more people are going to the healthier lifestyle. and the thing is, if you eat a well balanced diet, along with exercise, you will have more energy and self confidence. And you can also reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease, which is, really, like I said, that's a good thing. And the part that surprised me still is that within a year, that plaque was no longer on my artery, since that killed my dad. It's just no matter what age you are, you could do things that can reverse the damage that was done when you were younger. And that, to me, is a really good thing. And a good thing to let people know, because a lot of times they will they'll start coming down with all these symptoms and diseases. A lot of people just kind of just give up and, really don't do anything about it. So if you know that there's a way to get you back to how.
Denise Gardiner: Sent you in your twenty s and thirty s. Well, you know, go for it. And you know, you know, and don't wait for your body to start breaking down before you start eating right. And believe me, healthy food can taste good and it's still filling. And at times, like I said, the damage can be reversed. And you're putting the right foods and your body is getting the right vitamins and minerals and minimal amounts of good fats, you're also getting in your body. Now, you were going to say something?
Jimmy Clare: Yeah, I was about to say I read this one article. I forget how long ago it was, because I, didn't save it, the article. I, did read it, but, I just forget what year it was or how long ago. But anyway, it was this mom, who had two, kids, maybe one kid. they were grown ups and everything, but, she developed dementia, and it was like really bad dementia where she forgot forgetting people's birthdays and names and everything. instead of just kind of giving up and just kind of throwing in the towel like, oh, well, it's due to old age. I think she was in her sixty s, I think maybe, again, I don't recall, I don't remember what article I read it in, but I couldn't make this up if I tried,
Jimmy Clare: Putting her nursing home and just putting on basically on her deathbed, so to speak. they tried switching up her diet. Well, a few weeks later, after switching up her diet, what she ate, she put her on like a bunch of nuts and fruits and vegetables. Took out processed meat and everything. And she started remembering people's names again.
Denise Gardiner: Yes. Like I said, if you get the right food and because if you think about it, the other things, they start killing us over time. Sugar, salt, all that. The thing is, when you go to the store and you buy all that processed food, it is just full of just things that create toxins in your system. And over time, like I said, it can make your body start wearing down, but it can be reversed if you do the right things. but don't ever think you're too old to change anything. That's why I always try to tell.
Jimmy Clare: People, well, I definitely can know, what you mean by you eat like a bad, unhealthy, food and it doesn't make you feel good because, there was, one time where, it was like a cheat meal day. for me, I don't always need one. Sometimes I have once a week, but sometimes I could go like, months without having one. Because, I'm not one of those people who are like, oh, I need a cheat meal once a week, I can go, whatever. And, it was, one of, afterwards it was just like such a heavy meal on my stomach. I was like, this is gross. M. And I also agree with you about, the processed lunch meat, because I kid you not, I went to, the supermarket to, pick out, lunch meat for myself, right? When I got home and put on a sandwich, I saw this, like I don't know what you call it. It looked like a little rainbow, in the lunch meat. I was like, why am m I eating poison or what? I might as well eat a box of rat poison. Same thing.
Denise Gardiner: And it does not make you feel good, when you eat that all the time, like I said, your body a lot of times people don't understand why when they're sluggish and they just don't feel like the energy. Like I said, those are the type of foods that will make your body like I said, your body. And it's harder to digest also, so your body has to work harder to get that through your system.
Jimmy Clare: And I also know how if I have too much salt, the salt is kind of like i, don't know how to explain it, but basically I get a headache from just all the salt. And it's like, yeah, it's bad.
Denise Gardiner: And the thing is that people are in such a rush now that they don't take time to make healthy food or they don't have time because they're so busy with their family and they're feeding their kids, okay, we're going to stop by McDonald's. But now you're starting your kids out with this. And then your kids end up being obese and they maybe get diabetes really early because you were giving them all this, stuff. So you have to really think this through. And like I said, you have a mindset where you're going to be healthy. And if you start your kids out like, okay, this is what we're going to eat. I know, my son, in law, or daughter in law, and her and my husband's son, they make sure they're girls. The thing is, you can eat other things in moderation if you don't want to sit there and just totally say you can't eat that. Especially with kids, because they're going to go find it somewhere anyway. But yeah, just minimize what you eat. but make sure when they're young, just start them out that, hey, this is what we need to eat. And make sure they exercise and all that. Then as they grow up into adults, that's going to become a habit to them. Easier.
Jimmy Clare: I had a lot of junk food when I was growing up. Not because my, parents fed me unhealthy stuff. It's just that that's what we could afford back then.
Denise Gardiner: Yeah, well, that's true. Yeah. The thing is, a lot of times you can't afford to buy. But the thing is, people keep thinking that healthy food is expensive. Not really. I shop at Sprouts for all our fresh stuff.
Denise Gardiner: And the thing is, they've done experiments. And I have in one of my posts and stuff is where you, have a bag full of junk and then you have a bag full of healthy stuff. And then you go and you pay for both of them. And the experiment that they did, the study was in the, healthy stuff was cheaper. Because think about what you pay for potato chips, what you pay for all the cookies, all that. And you add that up and the healthier stuff is going to cost less a lot of times.
Jimmy Clare: Exactly. Here's a tip for my listeners. Just because a recipe says put, I don't know, whatever, how much salt there is, doesn't mean you have to put that much salt in there.
Denise Gardiner: Exactly.
Jimmy Clare: this is not an ad for Beachbody whatsoever because boy, I would love for them to pay me. but one of the recipes had, me put like two tablespoons of salt. It doesn't need two tablespoons of salt for myself. So I only put like, I think a half a tablespoon. and, so I only put half m. It still had a great flavor.
Denise Gardiner: Exactly. Yeah. And sometimes you can substitute in some of the recipes, they'll use applesauce and some things. You can substitute that. So, I mean, look for other ways that you can substitute some of those ingredients to make it healthier.
Jimmy Clare: I have a question for you, though. If someone wanted to, change their lifestyle, at, whatever age, what would your, tips for them be? Like, where would they start?
Denise Gardiner: Where would you start? The first thing is go to your doctor. Because a lot of times people don't go to the doctor unless they're sick. And as you get older, you should go to those physicals, because like I said, things will start happening as you get older, it will catch up with you. So, go to the doctor, sit down with them. A lot of the places or hospitals or doctors, that you go to, they will have like, nutritionists classes and stuff that you can go are you.
Denise Gardiner: there's a list of things that you can do, but the main thing is getting checked out. See what you have, see what the doctor suggests. As far as if you have hypertension, of course you're going to get on medication. But no matter what you have, if you have to be on medication, in fact, my doctor recently, because you have to do the tele, whatever it was, you talked to them in person. And she sent me some exercises because I also have osteoporosis. That was another thing that I ended up with. And, she gave me exercises because if you do anything too strenuous, you could break your bones and then you're in serious trouble. So she gave me all these exercises and, they're in videos and so you can just exercise from that. And those things are helpful too. But like I said, that's the first step. Find out what they suggest. the thing is when start out, like in my nutrition class, I'm teaching all this too. First off, I say get rid of all the bad stuff in your cupboards, okay? Then you make a list of healthy and like I said, in our nutrition class, we teach the things you should eat to get all the vitamins and macronutrients and all that that you need. And so you make a list for that. You go to the store and you hope your whole family is on board with this because it makes it harder if they're at least not there to support you. Because you do need a support group to help you through it. Because if you don't have the willpower and a lot of people will just give up and they'll say, the heck with this, but just try that. So go to the store and, buy all new stuff. So now you're going to be stocked with it, okay? Now go find all the recipes that you can that are healthy. And like you said, watch out for even. And when I cook on my own, I either use very little salt because my son wants it in there, but you can make things taste so good just with all the different spices that don't have salt in them. And you mix different spices and you can come up. I mean, I make peppers, and we just put all these spices on it. And then you put it, like, on if you want, on rice or pasta. You could just eat it by itself and it tastes wonderful. You don't need salt. You really don't. And, like I said, that's a good way to start. The same thing with the sugar. If you drink Cokes or anything like that, anything that's high in sugar, try to go just to plain water because you really need water anyway. So go to the water and then like teas, teas without sugar in them because they've got all these flavored teas.
Jimmy Clare: Now that tastes I used to drink a lot of tea.
Denise Gardiner: and it's good for you.
Jimmy Clare: I drink the other kind of tea. Not even the green tea, just the ones with the tea bags. I used to drink a lot of soda, too. but, I used to drink too much soda and, my teeth got all yellow and gross or they get decayed. I even, read an article. My parents made me read an article years ago that I really didn't pay attention to until I took a nutrition course. Maybe supposed to be before the nutrition course, but, in the article said that Coca Cola I don't have the article anymore, but I think it's back in my other house. I think I could be wrong. I don't know. I saved too much crap. anyway, not to disgust not to gross anybody out or anything, but at least not trying to on purpose, but Coca Cola, I read in this article, can take off, rust on, your car and anything around it applied to Coca Cola, too. And I can also clean, your toilet. So next time you're drinking one, just remember that.
Denise Gardiner: Yes. Also, somebody put a nail in there. We'll rest a nail. Find something else that you want to drink and try to get away from those. like I said, you've got to get a different mindset. That's the main thing, too. You have to have this mindset that you're going to do this and get the support group, some type of support group behind you, a friend or someone in the family. But you have to have that support if you want. To be successful because a lot of people and don't consider it a diet. You're changing your lifestyle if you say a diet. Because people look how many people beginning of the year I'm going to diet and within a month they're off the diet. So this just has to be something that you are going to be dedicated to.
Jimmy Clare: Well, I'll tell you a true story real quick. How I got rid of my soda habit is that I started cutting back off of it gradually. And my dentist said my teeth and gums look much healthier than it used to be. It was yellow and everything. But I was like, oh, it looks much, healthier. And I was like, oh, that's great. So me and my parents came up with this, compromise, that if I got off lean completely off the soda, ah, they would help me get my teeth whitened and everything. So I was like, I would always like a pair of white teeth and not the yellow stuff anymore because every picture I'm in was just yellow from afar. You wouldn't really notice. But I'm very critical of my appearance. not like I wasn't a bad thing, but I was like, well, gee, every time I smile, it's like, hey, look at my white teeth. I mean my yellow teeth at the time. And so I made the compromise. I was able to get my teeth white. And since it wasn't cheap, it kind of helped me. So I was like, well, now you can't drink anything that, can stain your teeth. Cocoa powder does not sting my teeth because it's just a powder. But anything with chocolate syrup in it or, like chocolate chips, Coca Cola and those dense sugary drinks. I don't know, like all the dyed drinks like, gatorade and whatnot. This can just stain your teeth and everything. So now I just steer clear of those. And I know some people might say, oh, well, I like those. That's fine for you if you want to stay that way. But for me, I want to do something where I wouldn't be tempted because it's like, oh, well, if I just keep my teeth yellow, I can have a cheat soda. and right before that, not the surgery, but right before the, teeth whitening, I actually had more soda just for the heck of it. I took a sip of it, I was like, I don't like the taste anymore.
Denise Gardiner: Just disgusting.
Jimmy Clare: Now I just carry Hydroflask with me. And this is not promotion. Boy, they should be paying me. Good Lord.
Denise Gardiner: I know. Yeah, sometimes, yeah, we should get paid.
Jimmy Clare: For I only have 32 ounce Hydroflask sitting on my desk as we speak.
Denise Gardiner: Yeah, but like I said, it's the mindset too. If you say, hey, I'm going to change to this and you start liking that yeah. Then it's easier to walk away from other things that you were kind of addicted because you can get addicted to that caffeine in the coke. A lot of people do. They drink six or so a day. It's like you're a cocolic instead of an alcoholic. You just want to kind of see that. And then the other thing, too, is, so you have healthy you can do this ahead of time. Find the recipes, fix all of it up, and freeze. it you can put it in the freezer. What you're going to eat during the week.
Denise Gardiner: And that way, you already have these. You can't have an excuse, oh, I'm too tired to do this. Now. You can just take stuff out of the freezer and have a healthy meal and make a salad or whatever you don't want to with it. And, you're set. And that's another thing. You want to do everything you can to keep yourself motivated and excited about what you're doing. Because we all get tired, and all of us understand that. But if you can find ways to make it easier to get through the times that you are tired, then go for it.
Jimmy Clare: Or you could get some, healthy frozen foods. Like, I know Trader Joe's made some, frozen fish burgers. And I looked at the ingredients. They're like only four ingredients. There's nothing, oh, that's good. Some of those words out there that can combine multiple greens.
Denise Gardiner: Yeah. The thing is, they say if you can't read it, you probably don't want to eat it.
Jimmy Clare: Yeah. Well, I mean, there's also those words where they can put all these other ingredients behind that one word. And so list all the ingredients, but there's nothing like that on the box. It's literally only three or four ingredients.
Denise Gardiner: That's good.
Jimmy Clare: Well, sometimes I just like something easy that I can literally just put on the stove frozen, cook it, and I'm done. Trust me, I'm not having them every single night.
Denise Gardiner: Right.
Jimmy Clare: Just to fill in for karate class. I have different time. Karate classes. Oh, I got to eat something. Oh, my goodness. Well, I didn't go to the store to go get a chicken breast. Well, I'm going to throw them one on the stove. And just to speed up even more, my dad taught me a technique, and he run on the Cooking Ah channel. I forgot what show. i, think it was diner drivings and dives. and you put a little bit of water in the pan. like, you put the water in on the, little bit of water in the pan when the food is cooking. And then you put the lid on it. And so you're basically steaming your frozen food. And so it cooks faster and plus it stays moist. And I tried this a few times. Instead of just waiting for it to cook all the way through, just without any lid on, it takes like maybe like five, eight minutes. But with the steaming, it takes like three or four minutes per side. And I was like, Jeez m. I was like, the cooking channel is the best thing ever happened.
Denise Gardiner: Yeah, and you said it's so moist because there are certain way things the way you cook it, it can be really dry. And then to me, it doesn't taste good once it's dry.
Jimmy Clare: So before we finish, I have.
Denise Gardiner: The exercise part here too. So you want me to go ahead and do that and then you can finish?
Jimmy Clare: Yeah, sure.
Denise Gardiner: Okay. well, okay, so now for the exercise ah side of it. and I have lived in California since 1976 and it is a health conscious state, thank goodness. I remember when we traveled back east and people were smoking and doing and all of it for years, they had no smoking areas, in California. So that part I was happy about, because that helps motivate you too. and then, as I said, I joined Jazzer Size. And then the gyms became more popular. And the thing is, as they became popular, you would have to wait for certain machines. And many women were not comfortable in a coed class exercise class. And so Curves became, a fitness studio option. And that was over 25 years ago, but we were able to do that and they were smaller classes, so you were able to get in and exercise. I ah, remember recalling all the gyms and stuff, meat markets. And it's true. Or you'd have to wait forever. Or you could never get to a machine without waiting and having to, and your time is precious. And so you want to be able to get things done and then go and do something else. So that's what happened. And then why I exercise, like I said, eat good. And now you want it to exercise. And it's recommended, for good health. it helps us sleep better. It clears our minds and improves our mood and attitude. And it gives us more energy and controls what we eat and burns fat, builds muscles, lowers your cholesterol and blood pressure, diabetes, and it boosts your metabolism and it strengthens your heart and lungs. There's a lot of, benefit that you get from exercising. And it's recommended that we do about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic, exercise weekly. That's like walking. And about 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise. And that's like running and then to be in a healthy state. And you can also combine those, the moderate and the vigorous to also get.
Jimmy Clare: A good I think I did too many then.
Denise Gardiner: M pardon me?
Jimmy Clare: I think I did too many exercises.
Denise Gardiner: Too many. Well, like I said, that's it. Because I remember there'd be these people that were just exercising all the time and I remember them coming on the news or whatever and they say, well, you're no benefit is happening after a certain point. So you can exercise. Yes, you can exercise too much and it's not good for you either.
Jimmy Clare: I like the, yeah, I definitely, I like to work out a lot.
Denise Gardiner: Well, you just, you feel well, like I said, you just don't want to overdo it, but you feel so much better. It's talk about giving you energy and to me, and especially if you start off in the morning and I love to walk and walking in the morning, I mean, it just gets me so invigorated for the rest of the day. That's my time frame that I like to exercise. And then you have to make sure you, prevent dehydration and be sure and drink approximately eight ounce glasses of water a day. and I don't know if a lot of people know this, but up to 60% of the human body, adult body is water. And this can change slightly with our age and sex and hydration levels, but yeah, our body is more than half water. And then here's a quote that John F. Kennedy has about physical fitness. He says, Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. I thought that was good. Yeah. And then, as I said, I did everything that I was eating right and now exercising. And so, I mean, I was really feeling good. and then I also have a health becomes fitness podcast. And so if you want to let your, audience know that too. And so that, I have interviews like Jimmy is having with me and we can discuss nutrition, and exercise and all that on there too, so people know what's out there to stay healthy. and then in my closing, it can feel and look good. You need to live a healthy lifestyle and eat the right foods and exercise regularly and drink your water daily. And then, if you follow a regular regimen, it will help give you that energy that you need and you'll build your self esteem and it'll help lose your weight and it gives you that more positive outlook. So you'll be engaging in activities and events that maybe you weren't doing anymore, so now you'll be out there and socializing. And also, in closing, this is to me is really important. It's like, make a healthy lifestyle and exercising fun and something that you look forward to.
Jimmy Clare: So where can people find you?
Denise Gardiner: Pardon me?
Jimmy Clare: Where can people find you on social media?
Denise Gardiner: They can find me on Facebook and Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube. my podcast, which is health becomes fitness. Podcast. Should I read anything? Oh, Twitter.
Jimmy Clare: I'm on Twitter, so I'm on those gardener.
Denise Gardiner: It depends. Many Facets my blog is many Facets of Life, so sometimes it's under Many Facets of Life, on Twitter, it's Calhomes, for you. So, I mean, it just depends. It depends on, that. But if I give you the links, you could let them know that if you want to.
Jimmy Clare: Yeah, definitely. I'll put in the, notes in the description.
Denise Gardiner: Yeah, like I said, those are the things I do, for a healthy lifestyle. And like I said, just don't think it's too late. It's never too late. and you'd be really surprised how great you can feel.
Jimmy Clare: Yeah. thanks for your time.
Denise Gardiner: Well, thank you, too. Like I said, thank you.
I am a retired real estate agent who is now a personal development blogger and a NEW podcaster.