Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fitness at Home

Painting by Leopold Francois Kowalsky
Russian Federation (1856-1931)

I have been collecting some ideas and techniques for the non-Olympic women who want to be fit but still look feminine. I discovered through viewing 19th century photographs and paintings that women were quite active in golf, tennis, swimming, bike riding, hand ball, hiking and walking. 
Woman on the Top of a Mountain
by Charles Courtney Curran, American 1861-1942

 Most of the pictures I have seen of these people shows them to be a lot thinner than our population today, so I cannot say that the way the exercised was of no account. Many of the publications of the era indicate that women valued fresh air and walking in nature, and jogging was not mentioned. I suspect they were fit enough if they were doing normal housework at home or keeping their gardens.  Many of them were seriously interested in outdoor exercise, as you see in this old film from 1899 of women riding bicycles in formation.

Good health and a stable mind involves more than physical exercise. I believe that walking is a good type of outdoor activity if it is done with nature in mind. Observing the scenes in the distance, as well as the flora near the pathway; thinking about your life and what you'd like to do or not like to do, and connecting with the Creator, makes a person complete. Spending time alone thinking, or simply sitting to rest, is as important as making your arms strong. Walking, in the past, was considered an important ritual to "clear your mind."

Painting by George Dunlop Leslie, (English 1835-1921)

I personally do not think that exercise has to be a great strain on a woman or a big, time-consuming activity and I do not see any benefit to going to a gym.  At home, a woman can "look well to the ways of her household" while she exercises. Cleaning and other types of housekeeping require some stretching and moving that can still benefit the body. Exercising at home is a way of accomplishing a lot on your list (housework and other tasks) at the same time.

Indian Summer
by Carl Larsson (Swedish 1853-1919)

If you have small children and feel you need more exercise, carry your baby  to strengthen your arms.Stretch and bend to help small children clean up their toys. Looking in lower cabinets of your kitchen can really give you a work out, as well as carrying a load of laundry in a basket out to the line to hang to dry.

Bringing bags of groceries in the house to unload, or packing up a box of things you do not need anymore and taking them to the car are good weight exercises. Keeping busy can aid in personal fitness.
Exercise of the Intellect
by Jaques Wagrez
American 1846-1908

Making a bed, moving furniture in order to sweep under it, scrubbing a bathtub, mopping the floor, or cleaning the fridge, are all forms of exercise if not done too leisurely.  Tending to the various needs of children will keep you fit, too.

While the world is always focused on how thin and muscular you can get, it is important to remember how God views exercise. He uses it in various passages of His Word to describe the Christian life as a race to the finish, but cautions that "bodily exercise profiteth little, but godliness is profitable unto all things." (1 Timothy 4:8) While keeping physically fit and healthy is important, there will be times in life when we cannot exercise. Wisdom and knowledge of God's Word,  acquired from study and life-experience will always be of greater value. "
by Ernest Renoux (France, 1863-1932)

When the widows mourned the death of Dorcas, (Acts 9:36-41) they showed the apostle Peter the garments she had sewn for them and for the poor. There are many things we can do that last longer than sports and exercise. The clothes you sew, the things you create, the pictures you paint, the quilts you make or the crocheted pieces you leave--even the diaries you write, will be appreciated for a long time. Do not think that "just being a homemaker" has no merit in the lives of future generations, for that is just the kind of woman they will be looking for in a world where women have forgotten their natural destiny in life.

In the book "Greater Health, God's Way," by Stormie Ormation, she lists things that are important to proper weight, and suggests that they all be used simultaneously. Instead of concentrating on diet, she combines it with proper rest, peace of mind, fresh air, good water, bathing, exercise, prayer, Bible study, laughter, and other things.  Our present era seems to focus only on food and exercise in controlling weight, but all these things are necessary in order to maintain good health.
The Fruit Seller
by Vincenzo Campi  (Italian 1536-1591)

As far as diet is concerned, I believe that too many starches and simple carbohydrates can causes weight-gain if you do not have a good amount of exercise to balance it. Proteins are more sustaining and do not make your body feel nervous or your stomach churn with hunger pains like sugary foods.

 My own diet consists of eating whatever I like for breakfast and lunch.  I find that breads and flour products such as tortillas, crackers or even flatbread, are delicious but the effect these kinds of foods have is to make me feel anxious and make my stomach churn with more hunger, so I eat very little of them now. If someone invites me to tea and offers little tea sandwiches cut in fourths, I will enjoy one of them. In general, I eat everything but take one small bite of things I know will cause weight-gain, rather than a huge plate full.  
The Poppy Field
by Leon Girann-max

 I try not to eat after the noon hour or 2 o' clock,  but if I grow very hungry by supper time, I either have some yogurt or a shredded lettuce salad with cucumbers, avocado and rice vinegar. Sometimes I make a dressing for that salad with rice vinegar, Italian seasoning (found for 50c in a bottle at Walmart, called "5th season" , full of basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary and other herbs) and olive oil.   I drink plenty of my favorite teas. My favorite food is stir-fried brocoli and I use coconut oil to make scones and breads. I like food as close to its natural source as possible: fresh foods, then frozen, then dried, and lastly if all resources are exhausted, canned or packaged foods.

This way of eating may not be suitable for everyone, but if you are older and having a struggle getting extra weight off, you might try my method of skipping the evening meal and just eating some yogurt before you go to bed, or if hungry a salad with a half an avocado and some fresh baby cucumbers.  If you feel you must eat in the evening, avoid breads and sweets. Eat your crumpets, breads, and things of that nature in the mornings, before noon, and you will find they do not slow you down or add to your weight.

Fruit Stall, 1618-21
by Franz Sniders

Barbara Cartland, a prominent writer of novels and health books from the 1960's through the 1980's wrote in her health book that the nature of the English man changed when the national breakfast switched from the traditional breakfast of eggs, crumpets, butter, cheese, cream, fish, beef, home grown fruits and preserves, potatoes and other home-grown things, to cold cereal, toast and juice. She claimed that the  change from natural foods to highly processed foods made the English businessman angry and impatient by noon time, and after that, there was no rescue for his mood or his day.  She spoke of family problems and economical problems as being some of the results of this assault on the English diet.   Starting a day out with cold cereal, juice and toast is not very stabilizing to the body and will make a person jittery by midday. 

Those old-fashioned farm breakfasts, if low in sweets (pancakes and syrup not recommended) can take you through the entire day without hunger. All you have to do is maintain yourself with a light lunch and lighter supper. If you eat heavily at the front-end of the day, you will not eat huge amounts at the latter end of the day, and will not gain weight.  It is difficult to do this if you are not hungry when you wake up. You can't be hungry when you wake up, if you went to bed with a spaghetti dinner on your stomach. The solution is to have a bowl of soup, with no crackers or bread, or have the salad I mentioned or yogurt, at night. Ideally, do not eat after 4 or 5 o'clock. The earlier you quit eating in the afternoon or evening, the more likely you will shed a pound. Doing a quick round-up of clutter and putting the house in order before bedtime will give you the exercise you need to keep from gaining too much weight.

En Vacance

                                            by Marie-François Firmin-Girard  ( French, 1838 - 1921)

Aside from diet and non-exhaustive exercise, I think the element of peaceful living has a large impact on the human body. When there are quarrels, complaining, criticism, discouraging words, hatred, envy, and pessimism or other detrimental thinking habits at home, it can disrupt the digestive and nervous system and then affect your health. 

"Refuse profane and old wive's fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness." (1 Timothy 4:7)


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your perspective on eating light and exercise through housework, gardening and caring for children.

As I considered this I remembered reading what a struggle it was to produce food back then.
People in that era didn't have a McDonalds, a Jack In the Box, or donut shops on every corner or lots of money to shop for and buy the goodies we find everywhere today.

Women also wore corsets that kept their waists tight so that eating any more then a few bites of food made their stomachs very uncomfortable and they became nauseous.

A stockpot of nourishing soups were always kept hot on the back of the stove and could be sipped throughout the day accompanied with a slice of homemade bread.

Breakfasts were often old fashion oatmeal and if you lived on a farm you had the luxury of eggs, milk, fruit and possibly pork.
That was the type of food people "tanked-up" on to get them through the day.
No Egg McMuffin, PopTarts and Lattes with all the cream and sugar.

Any treat was costly because of the sugar and had to be made which took time. Most people then were just trying to keep substance food on the table.
Something that was nutritious, supplied energy and kept them from feeling hungry till the next meal. Being lean was just a way of life when it was a struggle to get food.

With all the In-Your-Face food advertisements we are bombarded with at every turn, and convenience stores everywhere it takes willpower to keep lean anymore.

I find that eating a breakfast pilaf consisting of some steamed greens, a whole non-gluten grain and some protein in a 30/40/30 ratio helps me to stay focused, hunger free, energy up and keeps my blood sugar level for hours. I often don't eat lunch until 2-3pm because I'm simply not hungry.

However that is not the case if I get any sugar before the meal. Toast and jam or sweet cereals are disaster in the morning, causing my blood sugar to yo-yo all day.

Thank you for sharing on this important topic.

Mrs. J.

Miriam said...

Couldn't agree more!

I think exercise and diet have gone too far in our society, and other aspects of human life and human being are being neglected.

I have been pondering this issue alot lately. Without jogging around, the ladies of the past were able to stay healthy and 'fit'. How? They did almost everything with their muscles, no appliances, not much vehicles.

Walking is a brilliant way to 'exercise'. If you stay at home most of your time, walk for fun, on purpose, with a dog, a baby in a stroller etc. A nice walk with your spouse can be really romantic in the evening.

Katrinka said...

A lady I admire once said that to stay in good physical condition I should "do your housework with zeal". I do a lot of outside work, such as gardening and yard work, sometimes most of the day. Our doctor has told us that we still need to find time to walk for 15-20 minutes 3 x a week. I keep pointing out that we are outside nearly all day working and hardly have the energy or time to yet take a walk, and he told me, "That's work. I'm talking sustained aerobic activity." We did try it a few times, and I had to admit that there was a difference. The only yardwork I could compare would be using a pushmower, which we do occasionally, but not with the regularity he recommended.

I was raised as a farm girl and am sturdy and strong, but overweight. I do feel I would be healthier at a lighter weight but am accustomed to more hearty eating. I don't really crave sweets, but enjoy all kinds of foods. Protein is very important in my diet, too, and as I've gotten older really sense a craving for protein at certain times. Many country people eat their biggest meal at lunch, with a lighter one at dinner time. It's hard for me to eat lightly... but I also look at the really older people around me and find that most of the time they are slim.

The video of the ladies on the bicycles interested me because they had long, flowing white dresses (and it was beautiful) so they must have had better chain guards than I accustomed to! My skirts would always tangle and get greasy, even with culottes.

I really enjoyed this post, Lydia.

Housewife59 said...

Lovely article again Lydia. I like to use Leslie Sansone's 'Walk at home' DVDs and I recommend them for general fitness and weight loss. They are encouraging and dignified, and I am able to wear my feminine loose fitting clothes while I exercise in privacy. I have to say that your blog is something extra special and I'm always blessed, renewed, inspired or gently challenged when I stop by. Thank you

Gayle said...

Enjoyed reading this,and especially the pictures you put up.It's always fun to look back for inspiration.You always have the best posts.

Tricia said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic! As I approach my 40's, health has become extra important to me and I appreciate your wisdom so much! Have a blessed day!


Lydia said...

I hope to get time to add a few more ideas to the main post, one of them being that we can live on a lot less food than we consume. Try putting your food on a small plate or saucer instead of a large plate. Leave the meal table a little hungry. Go to bed a little hungry, but if that causes you not to sleep (some people can't sleep if they are hungry) then eat the yogurt or salad. Wait 20 minutes after a meal before eating a dessert or 2nds. We do not need huge quantities of food and can survive on less. One technique I have is to go get some necessary shopping done while others are eating out. That way I save the money I would have spent on the commercial meal. Not that I object to eating out, but if you are overweight and older and having a hard time shedding even one pound, it could be that you are in the habit of filling your plate several times during a meal. Since we eat family style in America (where the food is already on the table so people can help themselves) its easy to not pay attention to what we are eating. Serve yourself once and eat very slowly. Most of the time when we think we are hungry, we are really thirsty. That is why I use hot tea. It feels like a hot meal, and if it is something with a flavor like raspberry herbal, mint, etc. it can really be satisfying. In the afternoon and evening are when you gain the most weight, as your body slows down, and usually your work does, too. I'm not speaking of everyone, and not everyone will be able to do this, but I would suggest breakfast like a king (but one plate ful and no 2nds), lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. Mrs. W says soup is nice and I agree: a homemade soup is very very satisfying and so good for you. It flushes out all the viruses and toxins and makes you feel full. Soup in the evening is a very good choice, and I would really recommend a homemade soup.

Anonymous said...

I knew a man who had grown up on a dairy farm. He told me that his habit was to "eat like a horse". He said, "When a horse is doing a lot of pulling and plowing, you feed him a lot. But in the winter when work is slow you feed him just a little". He said that they would do the same thing, and in the heavy work of summer they could hardly eat enough to sustain them, but off the farm he would take in just the amount appropriate for a more sedentary life. I think that was a good way to do, if you can be self-controlled enough to follow through.

Anonymous said...

I have a question, though. Does your husband have the same eating pattern or do you make him a supper at night? I am wondering as both my husband and I are in your age group and both need to lose weight. I know he would have to have some supper, although this tends to be when he does eat a lot, and sometimes not all day. Kind of the opposite of what you do.

Lydia said...

To add to the last comment, I would say that if a person is very active in the evening and works hard before bedtime, of course a hot meal is in order. But for most women, even in the country, especially if they have gained a lot of weight and are older and find it difficult to get back to normal weight, I think that skipping the evening meal will help a lot. That is, if they have not snacked all afternoon since lunch time and if they eat a hearty breakfast.

Lydia said...

The new ladies bicycles from WalMart have good chain guards on them. Go to and see the 50's style ladies bikes. I've written the aqual colored one (have one here at my house) and it does not catch the skirt at all.

Lydia said...

My husband is in close association with a naturepath doctor who has helped him lose weight on the Atkins diet and maintenance, which requires a huge variety of food but limited on simple carbs (breads, bagels, spaghetti, tortillas, etc). In the evening he too has a salad with a can of skinless boneless salmon on top of a huge bed of lettuce and raw vegetables, and a whole avocado sliced. He adds his own red-wine vinegar. He has no biscuits or breads on the side and if still hungry before bed he eats some blackberries which he picks from bushes nearby. That way he gets his walk and his fresh air and can exercise his dog. His doctor helped him so much (of course my husband actually followed the advice) that he was able to eliminate medications that other doctors had put him on, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. He also has a protein powder (whey product) drink with berries each day. If I am not in the mood to eat, I sit with a cup of tea while he eats, or he takes his plate to a favorite chair.

Lydia said...

Also, with the fruit coming on, and the apples ripenning on the tree here, I will be making an apple-blackberry pie, with a coconut oil crust. We will eat that with no guilt and no fear of weight gain, because I will serve it after an active day outdoors and indoors, as well as serving it early in the afternoon rather than late at night. Even so, eating it late at night will not do a lot of harm, as it is not loaded with the salts and preservatives and additives that a commercial pie would have.

Merlesworld said...

I do like they paintings.

Anonymous said...

One thing I like about the paintings of women active outdoors is that their appearance so compliments the beauty and the grace of their surroundings, from the mountains to the oceans. The average athlete today seems oblivious to it all, running with something in their ears to listen to, paying more attention to their timing than to the place in which they live. They are out there for one purpose only, and dress and act as if they might as well be in an exercise stadium than outside with nature.

Anonymous said...

...and, no one today thinks these women could actually do all that exercise without being dressed in spandex!

Linda said...

I enjoyed this post so much. It was not only beautiful but very informative. Thank-you!

Anonymous said...

I agree with your comment about the eating habit of eating breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and dinner like a Pauper. I was taught that as a teenager.

Its quite true if you eat your biggest meal to start your day, and taper off as the day and your energy wanes,that your health will improve.

My grandfather lived next door. He always had a veggie garden.
His idea of fast food was to walk into his garden and pull up a turnip. He'd peel the skin off from the bottom using the greens as a handle. He always kept a sample size container of salt in his pocket and would give the turnips a sprinkle before handing it to myself, a brother and 3 boy cousins for a snack.

The only time we ever got candy, cake, pies and ice cream or soda pop was a holiday or someone's birthday. Apples, oranges and fresh garden vegetables were our snacks.

Mrs. J.

Katrinka said...

A quote from Lucille Ball: "The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age."

Lydia said...

That's a cute quote, Katrinka. If you can live naturally and avoid using chemicals or eating processed food, you can look 10 years younger. Then, people will think you are lying about your age!

Lollyg said...

As a 50+ year old who has maintained the same light weight for most of my adult life, I also advocate for eating more during the day and less at night, and using your house and yard work as your "gym". A few calisthenics and nice walks are all anyone would ever need to stay fit.

Wonderful post, Lady Lydia!

Anonymous said...


It does not appear in the 1899 video of the women cyclists, that they are anything less than relaxed and poised; not gulping desperately from bottles, nor leaning forward in a frenzy, and certainly not grunting out loud. Yet they all seem slim and fit. Yes, it is amazing they learned how to ride without getting dresses tangled in the bike.

Denise said...

Good post. It's also important to remember that life during those times was work-out enough. Kneading dough for bread, washing everything by hand, etc. kept homemakers constantly busy and on their feet!

Anonymous said...

I see no graceful smiles or movements in today's athletic women, at fitness centers or in competition. When I look at the paintings of the women outside "taking the air" I see women who are not just stretching, but women who are enjoying the creation around them. The one of the girl on the mountain top by Charles Curran is certainly more appealing than the woman on the race track in spandex.

Anonymous said...

For years, I've been hoping you would write a post like this. I struggle with my weight, and always wonder what kind of exercise would appropriate while raising children. I love walking, and increasingly, I'm appreciating the physical exertion involved in housekeeping and child rearing! I know my main problem is bread and sugar, and I needed to hear this... Thank you!

Lydia said...

If you are overweight and want to lose, then eat bread in the morning, and then limit yourself to one serving, and if possible, use homemade bread, as you'll be burning a lot of fat just making it! And freeze the rest of the bread so it won't be laying around smelling good making you want more and more and more. Quit eating anything starchy after noon. For a dessert, slice strawberries and put unsweetened whipped real cream on them, or use plain Greek yogurt. Allow 5 hours to lapse between times of eating. Make all your household movements into stretches and bends and extra exercise. If you are so overweight that you know you cannot manage it yourself, join weightwatchers. A lot of people say they can't afford it but then they spend huge amounts at the grocery stores, much of which is carbs and sugars, breads, and things that cause the weight gain. You can lose weight on proteins and vegetables if they vegetables are not starchy. A bite of some favorite cookie once in awhile won't hurt, but sometimes those bites stimulate your appetite. There is no food that I "can't have" but I learned which ones are more likely to make me gain weight, become bloated, etc. and usually the culprit is the carbohydrates.

Anonymous said...

I can't tell you how inspiring I've found this post to be! The idea that we can get along on a lot less food somehow struck a chord with me--for the last few days I've cut out everything that my conscience was already telling me was "extra", and I feel very different and have already started to lose weight.

Lydia said...

Every time you lose a little weight, you feel lighter and a little more energetic, which in turn allows you to burn off more excess weight. We can eat what it takes to survive, if we put our minds to it, and be neither too fat nor too thin. I think the point is to not get so full that you are bloated and not be too hungry either, but it is actually healthy to be a little on the hungry side. It makes your taste buds a lot keener and makes you satisfied with some of the simpler foods like an apple, or just one slice of homemade bread.

Barbara Neubeck said...

Hi LadyLydia,
Wonderful post and good advice on keeping fit and healthy. Thanks for this.
Have a good week
Barb from Australia

Anonymous said...

Thank you for another helpful, encouraging, and comforting post!

I remember an old post where you said something to the effect of: if you had to skimp in any other area, you would do that, rather than compromise on buying high-quality ingredients to eat, which cost more. That has helped me to take my own stand on that, and feel confident about it, and not feel guilty or double-minded about it. Much of my time goes to "bringing my food from afar", and that is a worthy use of my time.

Your posts give us a lot of confidence in all areas of homemaking, and affirmation and support. What a direct effect this has had on my family and me!

Only one thing I would mention, not wanting to contradict, but just add some food for thought: I don't know anyone who has gone on Atkins that has not experienced bowel problems - anything from simple constipation, all the way through IBS, and I even know those who have undergone bowel resection, resulting in a bowel bag, and still didn't understand that it was the lack of fiber.

I believe people who get relief on Atkins really do get real relief - but it is because they have inadvertently eliminated gluten from their diet - which causes inflammation in a huge portion of the population. It's important to still eat plenty of gluten-free complex carbs. They are satisfying, regulate blood sugar, and provide plenty of bulk and fiber to keep bowels healthy. But I don't mean to contradict, and wouldn't mention it if I didn't think that the end consequences of it might be so severe.

I have the same desire to follow your rhythm of eating. I have gotten to where I just crave a big "real" meal in the morning - things people would usually eat for lunch or dinner. I have often wondered how "they" conditioned us to accept junky snack-type foods as a good breakfast. It was surely a cultural change at some point, not a natural desire to eat this way.

Lydia said...

The low carb diet was for initial weight loss, not a lifetime, so eating afterwards is with an eye on the simple carbs. Lots of carbs are eaten on the Atkins diet, but not the simple carbs and sugars (white breads and pastries), and with maintenance, its just a matter or recognizing what makes the individual gain weight. Most people eat too many carbs in the form of sandwiches and french fries and cakes, etc. Once you've lost weight, a bite of that kind of food won't hurt, but it is the task of getting rid of old habits of dependency of starches for the main part of your diet.

Anonymous said...

Lydia, here is an explanation of Atkins. I've been on it myself and know there are plenty of complex carbs. I think a lot of bad press was spread about this diet, because it worked, and because it meant giving up simple carbs.

The Atkins Diet was designed by Robert C. Atkins in 1972. It is a low-carbohydrate diet, not a no-carbohydrate diet. Therefore, you can include complex carbohydrates on this diet, however, the amount varies depending on what phase you are in. The diet aims to stabilize your blood sugar and insulin levels to prevent fat storage. When carbohydrates enter your body, they are perceived as sugar, and sugar is stored as fat if it is not immediately needed for energy.

Read more:

Anonymous said...


an excellent, informative post and you are so right about simple carbs ( commercial white bread, white sugar (be mindful of corn syrup also; it is uber-cheap so manufacturers will utilize it as often as they can; it is even harder on the pancrius than cane sugar), sweets etc. Even home-baked white bread is far more substantial than a piece of commercial bread; take a piece of standard white slice and screw it up into a ball in your hands...what are you left with??? Yup; something not too discimilar to the dough from which it was made...

Here is a fantastic website; everything is referenced correctly and linked so you can follow the university studies and journal papers yourself.

If you can't abide brown rice but wish to steer away from white, Basmati is a good low end of medium GI alternative. Portion control is also important and remember, due to the mechanisation that has taken place over the past fifty years, it's estimated that we've lost the equivalent of 2-2.5km walking per day simply due to the fact we're not doing things by hand so much (not to dis labour-saving devices, but in light of this, Lydia's suggestions make even more sense).

i've a lot of weight to lose...a lot, and encourage everyone here...let's keep one another gently and lovingly accountable as we strive to be good property managers of our health and bodies - the temple of the Holy Spirit. .

Katrinka said...

I've enjoyed this post so much, and also all the comments, and it's given me a lot to think about. In my situation, the biggest thing I can do for my weight is portion control. I basically eat very good food, and know from experience that even if I eat carbs and an occasional sweet, due to my body type and my activity level, if I will only reduce the size of my portions I can accomplish a lot in the area of weight loss.

But I am capable of eating huge amounts of food! And sometimes I just don't want to think about anything except getting food into my stomach so I can keep on doing what I want to keep on doing... so I just shovel it in and sometimes a little extra so I don't have to stop again any time soon. :)

And I do love the taste of food, just about any kind of food.

I know from experience, too, that attitude is 95% of my problem. I have gone for 2 or 3 months without a single episode of inappropriate eating and get a lot accomplished in the weight loss department simply by limiting amount of intake. Once I get accustomed to the reduced intake, I am very satisfied feeling, even with smaller portions, because I continue to eat a small amount of fat or sweet or fiber or whatever. But keeping the right thoughts going is what is my stumbling block, and since I'm nearing 60 years old, I sometimes despair of changing my thought patterns...

However, I am sure that God can enable me and only this morning told Him I don't really want to mess with limiting my intake, but would He please just do it for me anyway, even though I don't feel like I want to give up eating the way I want to eat. Only yesterday while shopping I was looking at large bags of dog food and I remembered how hard it was to carry one of those bags from the car to the shed... not only on my joints but my heart and breathing suffered. Although I want to be able to wear more flattering clothing and be more physically attractive, I have to admit the thought of improved health is looking more and more motivational as I get older.

I remember losing about 35 pounds when my daughter was a toddler, and I was so amazed at my increased energy level.

This is such a great topic and I so much appreciate all the comments!!

Katrinka said...

I also wanted to add a little bit more: I have a very old, very good friend. She's 88 years old and a farmer. She has some eating habits that I try to emulate and might be worth passing on. She has always been slim, but she eats anything and everything, but just small amounts and she does get lots of physical exercise. As much as she thinks about food, lovingly raises it, preserves it, cooks it, shares it, you would think she would be huge, but she's a trim little lady.

She will have a candy bar, but she lays it out, still in the wrapper, on a small piece of doubled up wax paper with a small sharp knife next to it. She will slice off a small, bite-sized piece to eat and leave the rest of it there, sometimes for days, until it's all gone. And she usually picks a bar with nuts in it for protein.

Like other of you have mentioned, she has her largest meal at noon and something light for supper. This is something I still struggle with. I guess she rests after lunch or maybe just doesn't eat that much. But when I have a large meal at noon time I have trouble getting back outside to work.

She raises strawberries and other fruits and vegs for herself, friends, and some customers. During strawberry season, each evening, she will have 'a little dish of ice cream' before going to bed. It has stawberries on it, and, yes, it is a little dish!

She will make a meal out of the most amazingly small bits of food that are saved from previous meals, actually just not much more than a mouthful sometimes. This is frugal, makes for an interesting meal, and prevents from eating all those last little spoonfuls that are left when clearing up after a meal.

She keeps a corner of her dinner plate for a tiny bite of all of her food, mashes it up together, and feeds it to her doggie.

Every meal is an occasion, with a properly set place and appropriate silverware, even though she's alone now. And if you eat with her, she talks more than she eats.

Her husband, when he was alive, didn't have a hunger reflex and would work and work without stopping until he felt ill. So she was always orchestrating little breaks for him and enticing him with 'just a cookie and a cup of milk' between breakfast and lunch or mid-afternoon. I think this made her very conscious of food as fuel.

She eats very, very slowly.

I think if we all stop and think about our lifestyles and our likes and family situation, we can maybe come up with our own little tricks to help us eat more carefully. We aren't all the same, but thinking of different things to trick ourselves into being satisfied with the right kind and the right amount of food can lead to good habits that make it easier to continue on in that manner.

Another thing I see is the way over the top lust producing food advertisements and preparations of food in restaurants. More cheese, more gravy, extra whipped cream, and all in such huge proportions. Another thing my older friend does when she eats out is order a to-go box right off the bat. At least 1/2 of her meal goes into the box to be eaten for the next day or two.

My daughter's boss told her when she gets a craving for a certain kind of food (chips, ice cream, etc.) to remember that a craving can be satisfied with 3 bites of the craved-for food. Eating beyond the 3 bites may be because we're hungry or just don't want to quit eating or whatever. But if we can pause and assess our 'craving' response after 3 bites, we can usually assess that it's gone. I thought this was ridiculous and couldn't possibly be true (especially for me) but it is very, very often true! It doesn't mean I always stop eating...

Far Above Rubies said...

I enjoyed your perspective on fitness, Lady Lydia.

It's been some time since I pass by. Summer has kept me busy, but well.

God bless,


Trish said...

Lydia, thank you for this post which is full of such good advice!
A lot of the things you mentioned are how I eat throughout the day too.
Very little bread, desserts or cakes and more protein, vegies and yoghurt.
I lose all interest in food after dark and if my husband was not eating an evening meal I'd gladly close the kitchen by 5pm.
As for exercise, my almost 96yr old mother is my inspiration.
She has always walked a lot and worked hard in the house and is very fit for her age.
This enabled her to live independantly and do everything for herself until 4 years ago when she fell and broke her hip.
She lives with my sister now and still loves to do housework!
I'm looking forward to hearing what else you have to share with us on this issue.

Anonymous said...


What a beautiful discussion!

I would like to add that I just discovered food grade diatomaceous earth. It is a supplement (very inexpensive) that some people find helps them lose weight. But its primary action is simply to cleanse the digestive tract. As a result of this, many other wonderful things often happen, including the abatement of seeminly unrelated illnesses.


sunnyskiesandsweettea said...

I really loved this article! This is a topic I have been working on.

Amy Jo

Anonymous said...

For those who are interested in Weight Watchers, but don't wish to go to meetings, they have an on-line only option and it is WAY less expensive than going to the meetings.

What a great post! And I've enjoyed reading all the comments too. :o)

Anonymous said...

Until the 1920's or 1930's woment ALWAYS wore dresses or skirts when excising - even skiing was done until then in dresses or skirts - for proof google images of "ski bunad" (bunad is the Norwegian national dress) and you will find a number of old photos and paintings and even modern photos in their modest national dress - by the very nature of image searching it is wise to be cautious that there could be less decent photos the Internet is a strange place. But I always find it amusing that many women claim they cannot do cycling/skiing/playing with children/cleaning etc in modest feminine attire yet many of them seem to manage in very tight restrictive immodest jeans etc.
I also only have 2 meals most days with my last one starting at 2pm though my weight is healthy and it doesn't seem to change with eating only twice I do have more energy and more time.