The older we get, it seems the harder it is to lose weight. And the majority of us fight this battle.

Results from the 2017-2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that about 73% of American adults are considered overweight or obese.

Let’s face it: Most of us, as we age, don’t meet to go roller-skating or play softball in the neighborhood like we did when we were younger.

We meet to eat. Going out to eat has become our entertainment.

And then there is the busyness of living. For many, making time — or taking time — to exercise consistently is difficult.

Does having excess weight matter? Research has found that carrying those extra pounds increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.

Even in our daily lives, extra weight can affect being able to stay active, have enough energy to do daily tasks and cause difficulty in sleeping.

As we age, it’s easier to gain weight than to lose it. That’s due to combined effects of a poor diet and lack of exercise but the fact that lean muscle mass steadily declines.

The change becomes more noticeable after we hit 40. Muscles burn more calories than fat. Having less muscle mass means it’s easier to gain weight from the same number of calories.

In losing weight, like in a race, the slow but steady turtle wins the race over the faster but sidetracked rabbit. Aim to lose a half-pound to a pound per week. Even a 5% weight loss will reduce health risks, especially for heart disease.

To change your eating habits, choose smaller portions; smaller plates; more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to boost fiber; more fish, especially salmon; and low-fat dairy.

It’s important to choose complex carbohydrates (beans, nuts, seeds, whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains) over refined carbohydrates (white rice, white pasta, white bread).

Skip the sugary drinks in favor of water or unsweetened tea.


Q: What is monk fruit and is it a good substitute for sugar?

A: Monk fruit has been grown in southern China for hundreds of years. It’s a small, melonlike fruit, and gets its name form the Buddhists monks who originally grew it.

It’s from the same food family as gourds such as pumpkin and melon. It’s been used for medicinal purposes in eastern countries to treat intestinal problems and the common cold.

Its use as a sweetener is fairly new, though it is naturally very sweet — 100 to 250 times sweeter than sugar. Because of this, it’s naturally a low-calorie sweetener.

The fruit is crushed, releasing the juice, which is then mixed with hot water and filtered. The sweet infusion is dried to create a powder known as monk fruit sugar. You only need a small amount.

Creamy Lemon & Dill Skillet Chicken

Here’s a quick weeknight dinner for the back-to-school schedule. It’s low in calories but high in flavor. Serve with a vegetable of your choice. It’s from EatingWell.


  • Four 4-ounce chicken cutlets
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 small lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill, plus more for garnish


Sprinkle chicken with ¼ teaspoon pepper and ⅛ teaspoon salt. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until simmering.

Add chicken; cook, turning once, until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165 degrees, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate.

Add shallot and garlic to pan; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add broth; cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up brown bits on bottom of pan, until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in cream, lemon juice, lemon slices and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper and ⅛ teaspoon salt; simmer until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add chicken, with any accumulated juices, and dill; turn to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle with additional dill, if desired.


4 servings

Per serving: 289 calories, 27 grams protein, 5 grams carbohydrate, 18 grams fat (8 grams saturated), 117 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram fiber, 2 grams sugars, 215 milligrams sodium

Charlyn Fargo Ware is a registered dietitian with SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois, and the current president of the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Contact her at, and follow her on Twitter: @NutritionRd. The opinions expressed are her own.