Tom Roosth, R.Ph.
Stay young at heart
At 80, Tom Roosth credits moderation, healthy diet, and work he enjoys for his good health.
Tom, who maintains a full-time work schedule, is active and enjoys walking, playing golf, and traveling. He started eating healthier after a heart attack at age 44, but a diagnosis of prediabetes led him last year to consult a nutritionist to help fine-tune his numbers. He’s restricted carbs, cut out refined grains and sugars, and added whole grains. Don’t schedule his retirement party anytime soon!
A lot of people opt for retirement in their 60s. What keeps you going?
I like the action in the pharmacy and the interaction with people. I do what I do because it has been good to me and for me.
Why do you choose to keep working instead of retiring?
Too many of my friends retire, then three months later fall off the easy chair and die. I like to play golf and travel, but I don’t want to make a life out of it.
How are the genes on your family tree?
On my father’s side of the family, there is a lot of high blood pressure and artery disease. Two uncles died in their early 40s.
Have you ever had any serious health problems?
I had a heart attack at 44 and a double bypass at 48. But I recovered because I had really good medical care. After that, I started paying more attention to my diet and staying healthy.
Would you tell us a little about your diet?
I don’t eat cheese. I’ve never eaten fatty foods, and I don’t care for hot dogs or sausage. I eat lean meat, but not a lot.
Are you eating differently now than you used to?
Recently, I was diagnosed as prediabetic. I visited a nutritionist who helped me understand how to eat and what to watch out for. I’ve modified my diet by restricting carbs and cutting out refined grains and sugars. I learned the white stuff turns to sugar.
You want to make your meals balanced, and don’t cut out meals or just stop eating. If you do, your body starts looking for what it’s missing. Eat protein first in your meal.
What do you do for breakfast?
I used to hit and run as far as breakfast goes. For years, I would just grab a cup of coffee. Now, I make a point to have breakfast, usually yogurt with dark bread or shredded wheat or rice cereal and yogurt. I need to eat a lot of protein at breakfast, so I usually have Canadian bacon, steak, or Ensure, which has 12 grams of protein.
What about lunch and dinner?
I like to go to lunch at Lubys. Dinner is often fish.
Do you exercise?
I don’t have a formal exercise regimen, but I like to walk. I don’t hesitate to walk a few blocks to the store instead of driving. I like to play golf, although I don’t get to play as often as I might like. I practice two or three times a week.
What are your fitness goals?
My blood sugar numbers have gotten better since I started seeing the nutritionist, but I have a way to go before I reach my goal. I’ve lost about 12 pounds, but I’d like to lose a few more.
Do you have any words of wisdom for people trying to find the willpower to make changes?
You have to find something outside yourself to focus on, something you want more than the food. I want to be here for my wife, children, and grandchildren.