Sunday, April 9, 2023

Health kick

The Lewis family has been on a health kick lately.

We all needed to lose weight anyway. That's the trouble with being hobbits – by our nature, we're inclined to stoutness. In late January during a checkup, Don's doctor suggested he start taking medicine to control his cholesterol. Instead, Don offered to lose weight: thirty pounds in three months.

And that's what started it. We had all been eating healthier anyway, thanks to Older Daughter's culinary expertise, but we took up intermittent fasting (eating one meal a day, usually around 1 pm) and ramped up our fitness routine.

Don and I keep weights in our bedroom, snugged against the wall. He does a workout five or six days a week, alternately between upper body and lower body. I do a workout every day, alternately between ballet stretches (I used to be a dancer) and weights (lighter than Don's, of course) on a three-day rotation of various exercises.

Here are some of the hand weights:

We also have a fold-up weight bench (with some more weights tucked beneath it).

And we've all been walking, weather permitting. Every morning we take Mr. Darcy on a half-mile walk (level ground) in the morning. In the afternoon, we've taken to "climbing the mountain," as we call it, a two-mile round trip up a steep road (Mr. Darcy loves this!). About forty percent of this walk is purely uphill with an average grade of nine percent, so we're puffing pretty hard by the time we get to the top. (The breakdown: 10% flat, 40% steep uphill, 40% steep downhill, 10% flat.)

Here's the uphill slope. A photo, of course, never seems to do justice to the steepness.

And the downhill:

And it's working. My goodness, it feels good to get more fit. I'll scratch a random itch and feel muscle. Don's lost 23.5 pounds (his three-month checkup is in a couple weeks, so while he may not make a full 30 lbs., he'll be close). Older Daughter has lost 25 pounds, and I've lost 20 pounds.

I have a longer weight-loss journey than the rest of the family, but that's okay. So far it's been a fairly painless process, and I'm satisfied to settle into this for the long run. Slow and steady – as they say – wins the race.


  1. What a great effort. I'm sure you'll notice positive changes and enjoy the benefits. Jenny

  2. Congratulations and that is fantastic news! Here is hoping that Don does not need to go on medications.

    As a general rule, I suspect we will need to be more responsible for our own health than ever.

  3. Please tell Don to stay away from Statins. I had a very bad time with a number of them and a friend did too. I have been taking niacin which is supposed to increase the HDL's which scavenge the bad LDL's.

  4. Awesome! Weights around your bookcases! Looks like my house! A few years ago I got a 15 pound kettle ball to add to my collection that looks like yours , and love it. But am needing a heavier one or two. The kettle ball really helps me with easy range of motion exercises especially, plus using heavier weights that way really is making a difference in getting chores done faster, easier, and with fewer strains and other injuries.
    I too am a hobbit. This morning I was able to easily unload and put up several 5 gallon gasoline "cans" using only 1 hand to carry them. That wasn't the case the last time I got that emergency fuel for the generator during power outages. Not bad for a little, old, lady! And I was thinking at the time what a difference those gentle range of motion exercises with weights was making!
    I used to take ballet some growing up and it's incredible for teaching your body proper mechanics that it always seems to remember when called upon. Sounds like ya'll are really getting with it ! Congratulations!
    With less health care, less help if we need to hire things done, and more nowadays that needs doing, fitness is more and more essential. Several others on you tube and elsewhere are posting the same sort of stories as your family.
    Thank you for your good example.

  5. Way to go! Curious about your intermittent fasting. Are you doing IM every day or just a certain number of days per week?

    1. Every day. You get so used to it after a while that it never even occurs to us to have dinner.

      - Patrice

  6. Learning proper form while working out makes it a habit when you have farm jobs to do. You prepare for a proper lift without thinking about it. I worked and trained at a health club after college graduation and could bench press 97% of my own body weight. (Unusual for a woman.) I was not 'muscle bound' as so many women fear and I believe that has saved my back during a lifetime of physical labor, from a full-time stint using a chain saw, to unloading and stacking tons of feed in 50-lb bags, to loading and stacking 9000 lbs of small squares with 2 kids under the age of 9, 4 to 5 bales high on a 36ft goose-neck trailer. At just under 5'4" and about 115" at that time, I was not a hobbit, but I am not a big person. In my 60s I am a few pounds lighter now, and in a lot less (joint) pain than most of my friends and relatives who are much heavier. It pays off! Kudos to the Lewis family!!! Very well done!

    1. Amen sister! At 115 in my forties I got up to 1 or 2 reps of my body weight. My hands (wrapped) were having the worst time of it. Just too small and way overused. The gym I was using then had 3 or 4 of us gals who could do that. I credit working out with heavy weights for many years with a lot of good things physically, including a strong femininity.
      But xrays twenty years ago showed wear in my hands as though I was in my 70's, which now I am. I had to back off back then, because heavy weights were part of the problem. And splitting firewood with an ax.

      A lot of people like to work out with resistance stretchy cords. They are bad news.
      I learned in an exercise physiology class that they put a lot of stress on your joints and using weights is better for your muscles.
      Actually, the best weight to use is your body weight. Ballet does that. Martial arts do too, and Pilates, and Chuck Norris's piece of equipment does too ! (I have a very old one I got when backing off heavy weights)
      For those of us trying to gracefully age, swimming and water exercise is the very best. The water holds up 90 percent of your body weight yet gives you and excellent workout.
      And a pool is a good place for water storage! Just saying!

  7. Two words along with your IF: LOW CARB. I lost 40 bus and I'm 68 yrs old. Another 15 to go and it should happen by summer. Best wishes!

    Mama J

  8. Good for you guys. I lost 30 lbs some 5 years ago and I have more energy and all my clothes fit. I like eating less and it is easier than I thought it would be. We still go out to eat now and then but we plan to take half our meal home and that doubles the pleasure of a good restuarant meal,

  9. Good job! I went to gym and started feeling muscles move across midriff. I asked the guy at the gym what that feeling was...muscles, he said. IF just won't work for diabetes. One meal a day never would work for me at my healthiest. I am glad you are very coordinated. I look at your weights and I see trip hazards for me. I guess I should have taken ballet. It is good to try weight loss before drugs. Here's hoping he will lose the thirty. I cannot take statins, either.

  10. At 86, I am living proof that its harder for the elderly to lose weight. I, too, have eliminated one meal with a slight weight lose. Read in two different places (can we trust anything we read?) about how the body releases fat. It says it is through our breath. Heavy breathing melts fat. So, I am working on turning my gentle strolls into more active walks. Let's hear it for heavy breathing. Julia

    1. Way to go Julia!
      I think the point of what you read is aerobic exercise.
      Most people, when they think of aerobic exercise think of people in gym clothes jumping around huffing and puffing. It's not the breathing but the increase in circulation, heart rate, that will put you into fat burning mode.
      At 86 you have to be pretty careful, even with walking, because it's easy to overdo. I used to teach senior exercise classes as well as other age groups.
      First have a conversation with your doctor and get cleared for what you want to do. I hope you've already done this.
      Second, as a senior especially, going slow wins the race because it helps prevent setbacks from overdoing it.
      Third, do what you love , and walking is great. If you enjoy something it's easier to stick with.
      Back to heart rate. There are age charts and BPM's, that's beats per minute, that help you monitor what you're doing. This is one thing it would be good to get your doctors help with.
      The best news is that you don't have to do a lot of huffing and puffing.
      After about 20 minutes of walking you start burning fat, and the walk doesn't have to be fast. And if you need to start and stop some it's fine.
      After 20 minutes, even if you're through, your heart rate stays up a while, burning fat.
      The longer you go, the longer the period of time afterward that your heart rate stays up burning fat.
      Cleaning house is actually aerobic if you just keep moving. You are breathing in more oxygen during this process, strengthening your, heart, lungs, and muscles, and every fiber of your being.
      Your doctor can also give you exercises to help increase balance and co-ordination to help keep you from falling. I know someone 10 years older than you doing exercises like this and they are helping her keep getting up and going every day!
      And another senior I used to teach water aerobics to was very depressed one month because she didn't lose any weight. She took herself out for some shopping therapy. In our next class she was beaming, and excited to report she had lost 2 dress sizes! Muscle weighs more than fat so as you gain strength and endurance, you may lose fat instead of weight sometimes.

      So glad we're all working out and getting healthier together.

  11. Don, please do not take statins! They are bad news. Fancy muscle pain and weakness, neuropathy, heart failure and more? Doctors do not know everything, and many times they ignore the things they know...see the article below

  12. I've lost 50 lbs. in the last year. Some stretches, a little exercise (medical problems limit kinds of exercise). Mostly just not hungry and most food tastes off now. I guess that's the bright side of Covid.