Forever Strong: Good Health Plan

Good Health

Happy Friday, everyone!  Today is our final glimpse into the book Forever Strong by Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, and we are getting to formulating an overall good health plan.

Basically a good health plan covers eating and physical training as the two main components (though I personally would add a few other factors around it)

The book  FOREVER STRONG: A NEW SCIENCE-BASED STRATEGY FOR AGING WELL.     was penned by Dr. Lyon to encourage all of us to live a Muscle Centric life….she believes that is the key to longevity and overall good health.

I decided to write three posts around what I learned from the book.

The first two posts are:

Forever Strong Book Review, Part 1

Forever Strong Promotes Mental Strength

A reminder that I began 2024 book reviews with Forever Strong, because the word “strength” is my personal focus as my word-of-the-year.

From reading the book, if you decide to use it as a guideline for a new good health plan, please discuss it with your primary care doctor.  It makes good sense to do so.

There are many here who have special medical needs, so I am in no way telling everyone to follow this good health plan.  You may already have your own.

Let’s look at a few highlights from the remainder of the book as she gives counsel on a good health plan that builds and supports muscles.

FOREVER STRONG GOOD HEALTH PLAN: FOOD

good health

Dr. Lyon taught me more about protein and its importance than I have read in other places.

On page 161, she begins discussing her Lyon Protocol Meal Plan, which she calls an educated lifestyle and not a diet.

There are some things within the eating chapters that some of you will find controversial.  I would encourage you to read the information and then discuss it with your doctor.

Focus on the information right now.

She teaches us about essential and non-essential AAs (amino acids); about muscle-protein synthesis (MPS); when she says AAS that means essential amino acids (look at page 121)

good health

In my past, I would look at a plate like this and think it to be a healthy breakfast plate that promotes weight loss.

Now, I look at it and think “where is the protein?”

“Living a protein forward lifestyle supports healthy weight loss by working synergistically with exercise to protect skeletal muscle while losing fat.”

The last chapters are packed with information supported by science and a good read.

On page 66, Dr. Lyon lays our Strategies for Meal Plan Success (very important for a good health plan). The strategies are:

  1.  Find a consistent eating schedule.  Food impacts your body circadian cycles, and this allows your body to create a schedule.  Do not get distracted by food.  Stick to your plan.
  2. Avoid chaotic, haphazard eating.  Plan your meals ahead of time. Pack and store what you need to make sure you are ready to start the week.
  3. If you really want to see change, limit dining out. The less food eaten away from home, the better. If you do go to a restaurant, plan your choices ahead of time by looking at menus beforehand.
  4. Manage your expectations.  The magic of any goal worth achieving comes through sustained effort and hard work.
  5. Expect your mind’s chatter to try to talk you out of your goals.  Dominate the mental monologue.
  6. Develop the discipline to push yourself.
  7. Know your weaknesses, and plan for them.  Following pre-designed game plans will lead you to victory.

FOREVER STRONG GOOD HEALTH PLAN:  WHAT I AM DOING NOW

good health

My own journey to good health has been an up and down one, like many of you.

At the moment I am practicing patience, as I wait to get my foot healed to a point where I can walk and life weights again.

Until then, Dr. Lyon has helped inspire me to make changes in my good health plan. 

Twelve days ago on January 8, I began to stop eating completely after 4 PM every day.

In order to do this successfully, I also began each day with a very high protein breakfast, and to eat a high protein meal in early afternoon.

My standard breakfast that I really enjoy right now: A toasted sprouted grain muffin with a veggie sausage patty and egg fried in olive oil on top.

It was eye opening to me that new disciplines have erased my need to snack and I do not think about eating out as much.  I get full faster.

The first few days, I was battling the desire to snack after 4…now, I do not think about it.

I also told Mr. B what I was doing and that I was happy to feed him or sit with him after 4, but I would not eat.

I am preparing protein packed meals like the soup above.  I will share one of those recipes next Sunday.

Dr. Lyon’s strategies are working to help me change the way I eat.

I have also been very focused on my metabolism. Her formula for Metabolism Math is: Keep It Simple. Keep It Clean. Keep it disciplined.  I now get that!

If I break this discipline, I will confess and let you know.  But practicing my new discipline gets easier and easier every day.

I hope these discussions about the book Forever Strong have helped, and once again, I do encourage you to speak with your doctor about any changes you want to make.

The link is here: FOREVER STRONG: A NEW SCIENCE-BASED STRATEGY FOR AGING WELL.     

A couple of you have sent me book recommendations you would like for me to write about on Fridays.  I have two of those books and will begin with one of them next Friday.  

Until then…practice good health…stay warm…and always….

STAY STRONG & KEEP SMILING!

By Pamela Lutrell

I was encouraged to explain more about my SHOPPING LINKS page and how to use it.  (In fact I just added a few new brands to the list)

I am an affiliate for many different brands and when you click on those brands and shop, then I receive a small commission.

This is such an important income for me and my family.

I have tried to include the brands most shopped by this audience, but sometimes I miss one of your favorites.

If you will tell me what you are shopping, then I can tell you if I am affiliate for them and give you that link…if it is not already on the page.

And remember to send your recipes, home decor or street style from where you are with pictures to over50feeling40@gmail.com. 

Send to email and do not try to put in comments! YOU are the best.

good health

29 Comments

  1. I read Forever Strong and watched/listened to Dr. Lyon on several podcasts. Her background in geriatrics, psychiatry and obesity are impressive and so are her intelligence and passion. However, I found mixed messages in her book. Sometimes she gave wise counsel like, “it’s never too late” and “choose exercises at your level.” At other times she used militaristic phrases such as, “this is nonnegotiable “, “embrace the suck”, “push your body hard into the zone of fatigue” and overcome defeats by giving yourself “the right penalty.” I, myself, am pretty gung ho, but I’ve found in recent years hard driving can bring injuries and slow recovery time. There are plenty of books, experts and approaches out there that advise smaller steps and a gentler approach. That said, like Pam, I have decided to put more protein into my breakfast and I am adopting the identity of a person who does not snack.

  2. Good morning, Linlee. You make a very good observation and point. I have written before to do what you can to move and to listen too your body. I know women in their 60s that weight train hard because they can and others that only work out with small weights because they have illnesses or injuries which dictate that. One of the reasons I love working with trainers is that they know when to push and when not to. Every single woman here should only do what they know will help. But do something for your muscles to be strong. Don’t be on a floor you can’t get up off of.

  3. I’m skeptical of experts who advocate things that one hasn’t read in any other book. Obviously, protein is important and is the foundation of muscle … but we also require healthy fats and carbohydrates. There is actually a lot of evidence that a lower protein diet in particular promotes longevity, so the choice is not as clear cut as many authors state. I take a very mainstream vegetarian approach, realizing that we don’t know everything about nutrition, but that a (healthy, not potato chip-driven) vegetarian diet promotes well being and gives me a variety of vitamins and minerals. I know, Pam, you said very clearly you are not pushing this plan over a doctor’s advice, and I appreciate that. Nor am I pushing my choice, as I think both approaches are likely far, far better than the average American diet. I think for me the big takeaways from what I’ve read overall are the following: quit snacking, eat protein in the morning, eat whole foods, stay out of restaurants, and move your body (working on this part). Ona related topic, I’m actually pretty shocked at the number of supplements many bloggers have been recently advocating, many of which have been long debunked.

  4. Hi Pam, I also read Forever Strong and had my eyes opened about the need for more protein in our diets as we age. You’ve done a great job of sharing the key points from the book and I look forward to hearing about other books you have planned to share. And you’ve inspired me to also use 4:00 as my stop eating time. One question I have, just out of curiosity, is why you are eating a veggie sausage for breakfast instead of actual meat. Not judging, just curious since one of my takeaways from the book was that meat substitutes are ultra processed. I’m sure you have a good reason for that choice and I’d be interested to hear it since I’m probably going to copy your breakfast too!

  5. I’m working my way through the book and finding useful information. My main reason for reading it is to help my husband who lost muscle mass and gained weight with a medical issue that caused him to be in bed for over a year. He still has very limited mobility. He is losing weight now and faithful to his PT but his progress is very slow. Luckily don’t have any medical issues and my weight is in the healthy range for my height (5’3″) and age (75). I am more active and stronger compared to most of my friends but I’ve noticed a shift in where I carry my weight and I’d like to fit better into my clothes and I’d love to lose 5 pounds. Most of all I want to boost my energy. I was a WW leader and trainer back in the 90s when the program was more structured. My pal at work was a nutritionist and I learned a lot from her beyond what I learned from WW. I used to have a protein shake for breakfast rather than toast with cheese. I have no idea why I stopped but I’m going back to that and making other changes like having cold roast chicken, pork loin or lean beef available for us at all times to make adding protein easier. I Like Linee I’m a bit put off by the “militaristic” messages. They may be appropriate for some but harmful for others (I have a masters in psychology). Still I’m am finding it a useful read and will continue on and adapt her advice in a way I find appropriate. Thanks for bringing this book to our attention and good luck with your plan.

  6. I stopped promoting supplements a very long time ago, because I only want to promote to you what I have experienced and I am not going to take all of those supplements. My doctor discussed with me after blood tests what to take and that is what I do…only a small amount to also supplement the Juice Plus whole food program I have been on for years. I am glad you discussed with your doctor about your vegetarian plan…that is what is important here…but I do advocate protein/muscle centric eating as we age….as a doctor, Dr. Lyon offers some wise advice worth discussing with your own doctor. Many bloggers are making good money off promoting supplements…I have been offered those amounts…but just choose not to go that direction. We can actually take too many, the wrong ones for us, and yes, there are some who exercise too much. Reading books like this and working with your doctor will help you establish the best eating and exercising plan.

  7. Probably it is not the best reason…for years, I have liked the taste of Morningside veggie burgers and sausages. That is the only brand I like…but that is the reason why I am eating it right now for breakfast. I just recently purchased some grass fed ground beef which I also like the taste of and I am make ing some small patties for those breakfast sandwiches. I just ate for breakfast some shredded chicken and apple slices cooked in olive oil and seasoned with a little salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cinnamon. It was so good.

  8. Thanks Kathy…and I do see what you and Linlee are referring to and agree with you. I started keeping shredded chicken available for when my body wants to snack…also tuna. Last week I made homemade chicken soup…I cook the whole chicken in a slow cooker and use part of it for soup and the rest of it for me. Mr. B gets to eat heavier than me, because of his running and Peloton workouts. I am so glad your husband is making progress…slow and steady wins the race, as I wrote at the beginning. Consistent, small progress is encouraging and often the best for many.

  9. HI, Pam, I haven’t read the book, so I can’t speak to it. I will say that I am a firm believer in protein. It works for me and makes me feel well. My husband eats very little protein, but it seems to work for him. The big thing that I see missing from this discussion is bone health. The evidence is that many of us do not get enough calcium, which leads to osteopenia and osteoporosis. Also, many of us in cold climates don’t get enough vitamin D either and have to take supplements. All the protein I eat doesn’t help for strong bones. You’re so right that we should talk to our doctors and get tested for this. I totally agree about lots of supplements – unnecessary and potentially dangerous. BTW, I lost almost 20 lbs during the beginning of the pandemic by walking, eating at the same time every day, eating a balanced diet, and making all my own meals — and I was not trying to lose weight.

  10. Thanks for sharing that, Maeve. You are so right…the goal is strong bones! Many thin people have brittle bones…so I hope we will realize we need to focus on the bones. I have shared my story many times and I shared it again in the first post about this book…bone strength is the goal.
    I also take Vitamin D under the instruction of my doctor. I also put collagen in my coffee every morning and do believe it has helped. But focusing on my whole food supplements of fruits and veggies, plus strength training made a difference for me. Now, I am working to get muscle centric eating completely under control, so when I have my foot back I will be ready with a whole healthy plan that serves me the best. Bone strength is the goal.

  11. Pam, this book sends an excellent message Abd yes to your recommendation that we must listen to our own doctors and in my case also a nutritionist who watched and limited (somewhat) protein intake because of the chronic formation of kidney stones. My body just forms them despite all the water I drink. I do include some protein in breakfast.
    All the best towards building strength!

  12. Thanks for mentioning how you work with your doctor, Paulette. It makes a difference to listen to their advice and apply it. I am glad you are doing better.

  13. This is another great discussion. I’m going to at least read the book and try to not eat after 4. The eating after 4 might be tough I’ll have to get my husband to do the same. He would benefit from changing his eating habits as well.
    I have vowed to get my health issues under control this year and am making gradual changes.
    About the supplements someone mentioned earlier. I’m so glad you don’t just push things on us that we don’t necessarily need. Supplements are something we often feel we have to take more of and don’t know why. This is why I like to read what you are saying in your blog. You just don’t push something on us for the commission.
    This had some really great information that I need to follow. It’s funny I thought the plate of fruit looked very healthy but probably not too satisfying for very long.

  14. In the past, I thought it looked healthy as well! But I was hungry often. Not so much now.
    I wish my husband would join me but I am still going it alone! Thanks Paula!

  15. When I have complained to my doctor about my lack of success with weight lose, he encouraged me to increase my protein % to at least 40% each day. Using the My Fitness Pal app, I can see a breakdown daily as to protein, carbs, and fats. Since I have been off my feet recuperating from my foot surgery, I have been drinking two glasses of an amino acid/ protein drink called Juven my doctor recommended I drink daily for wound healing. We ordered the powder form from Amazon and I’d recommend the tropical flavor. It is to support wound healing by enhancing collagen formation. You can read the benefits and amino acids, vitamins, minerals, etc. if you investigate it on Amazon. My Mr. B and I also try to eat our last meal of the day earlier than 6 p.m. and try to not eat anything later. To help me get through those hours afterwards I’ve found I can drink hot herbal tea to curb my want to snack. During this time when I’m required to be off my foot, I’m not cooking meals but still trying to eat lots of protein, yogurt, fruit.

  16. When I go out to eat I take my takeout containers with me, hidden in my tote bag.
    I put the portion that’s more than I need to eat into the container right when the meal arrives and stash the box back in my tote.
    Portioning the dish off before I’ve started on it is neater, and I don’t “accidentally” eat the entire thing.

    I’m all for cooking at home, but I deserve a break from the kitchen sometimes.

  17. I finished the book, and it is well dog-eared. I calculated my macros and found that easy to figure out. I purposely did not grocery shop this past week as I read and learned, but now am prepared to hit the grocery with the first week of menu suggestions and recipes in hand. I will also take the suggestion about your chicken breakfast, as that sounds delicious. I will also be keeping handy some easily accessible snacking chicken and roast beef. I am working towards the weight loss path, and will be in the weight room at the Y ahead of my water aerobics, which is my real love. With two octogenarian parents, neither of whom put much effort toward muscle or bone health, I have a built-in vision of what will happen if I shrug my shoulders and pat myself on the back for merely trying. I appreciate the explanations Dr. Lyons gives behind her nutrition advice, and am ready to commit. Thanks for recommending the book. 👍

  18. Thanks Celia…I am so glad you are doing this along with your doctor…it will help your healing process.

  19. So, right, Rose, we all need those breaks. Thanks for sharing how you do it. I don’t know that I would carry a container, but I do bring home portions in the restaurant containers. There is temptation at times to eat it all!

  20. I am so excited for you, Connie! My trainers always wanted me to do weight training before cardio, so I think that will be a good plan. Don’t try to do too much at first. Let us know soon how your eating plan is going…I for one would like to know.

  21. Thanks for the encouragement, Pam. I will for sure let you know. I also wanted to say that part of the logic in Dr. Lyins’ book made so much sense to me where she talks about how muscle helps us to better face times of illness. Again, not wanting to end up dependent the way my folks have, this is another big motivator.

  22. All of you are so encouraging about weight training and protein. Be sure to check with your doctor and have a good complete chemical panel of blood work done. I a not able to push protein because of my kidney function. My Mr. B is Vegan so we make our meals separately as well. He is 82, slim and fit, does weight training then either the treadmill or his indoor bike at least 3-4 times a week. I am going to get out the slow cooker and make up some chicken for adding to soups and eggs in the morning. I do go for 14 hours without eating and never get hungry. I could lose 10 pounds and look better but have a chronic pain condition which really limits me. But I could and will do more right along with all of you.

  23. This is something similar to what i do ….using intermittent fasting and a protein heavy with fruits veg too and some carbs i want or need ..a healthy meal plan . It really helped me lose over 30 lbs slowly consistently after i gained during covid and kept it off 😍…. Intermittent fasting plan just means you Pick an eating window and stick to it as well as eating healthy and being aware of total calories over all as you are .. i use16/8as in
    16/hours no food and 8 hour eating window so i only eat between 10 and 6 daily . But you can pick your own hours . no snacks of any kind before or after . Just coffeetea or water before10or when eating window begins .
    It made me stop thinking about food or snacking and i only wanted or needed two meals to keep me full ..
    i signed up for a 30 day plan which gave me similar recipes to yours from a nutritionist and tips , then i cancelled as i can do it on my own ! Protein keeps hunger at bay and we do need some carbs too !
    Thanks for sharing the book

  24. Thank you for the book recommendation Pam ! I’m going to order.

    Does she write about seed oils, processed foods and limited ingredients on food packages? I’ve been trying very hard to limit seed oils, “the hateful eight” as they’re referred to but it is somewhat difficult as they are used in practically everything. Strictly reading ingredients is time consuming but necessary to understanding what we’re putting in our body. I really try to limit purchasing anything with over 4-6 ingredients and always reading labels.

    You mentioned morningside vegable sausages. Have you read the ingredients? I’m sure it’s very processed. I think an egg or frying your own sausage would be a better alternative. Sorry Pam! I certainly don’t mean to be so foward! Just think it’s probably not the healthiest choice. I could be very wrong!! I haven’t bought Morningside for many years.

    Love your blog!!

  25. It is very processed…I confessed. But this audience has convinced me to set it aside. I have eaten off and on for a long time. I don’t remember her addressing seed oils. Thanks for informing us though.

  26. Why I love your blog Pam! You ALWAYS reply to comments. Even when you are not asked a question! You make your followers feel very appreciated. Thank you!

    Kelley

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