Weight management and exercise

by S&M

Several people here have lost significant amounts of weight in the last couple of years, and some are concerned about spouses or in-laws. I thought the gender differences focus of this article might be fun to talk about. One issue I notice with it is that it seems to be about number of pounds, not percent of body weight. The metabolism point, however, probably holds true for most people.

The other article is my current interest. I have replaced the weight bench in our living room with a drawer of smaller, lighter-weight equipment: a Swiss ball (it *did* fit in the drawer before I inflated it), mini bands, suspension gear (Jungle Gym) that can go over a tree branch or on a hook or behind a door, yoga mat, blocks, and strap, and an ab roller. This variety lets me be more flexible in what workouts I do, which I think leads to me working out more often, even when I can’t get in “the whole thing”. The exercises are nearly all body-weight based. I’m also trying to roll out muscles more often, but am not doing as well with that—it doesn’t feel like “work” so I tend to devalue it. I’m curious how others’ workouts have changed recently, and if anyone here is focusing on body-weight movements. Also, I’ve given up on the balance disk—I could never do anything other than flank from one side to another, without ever really slowing down to catch a moment of “balance”. I can do a great tree pose, but am wondering what there might be in-between these two extremes.

Do Men Really Lose Weight Faster Than Women?

10 Essential Bodyweight Exercises

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99 thoughts on “Weight management and exercise

  1. I gave up intense cardio several years ago, as it always made me feel like crap, and I finally decided I didn’t want to feel like crap any more. Then I started doing “body-pump”-type classes at the gym that used barbells and heavy hand weights. These classes also made me feel like crap, but I stuck with them because everyone said that women need to lift weights as they get older. Two years ago, when I was recovering from abdominal surgery for appendicitis, I switched (temporarily, I thought) to just walking and yoga… and I felt great. After I recovered, I kept the yoga and the walking, and added barre and pilates, and I still feel great.

    So, long story short, I now do only exercises in which I’m working against body weight — no external weights. I also never do exercises that require me to have both feet off the ground at the same time — too hard on my aging joints. It’s working for me.

  2. I recently gave up on HIIT. I just hate it to little tiny pieces. I can walk five miles and be perfectly happy, but spending 60 seconds trying to work out so hard that I’m in total pain? Screw it.

    I am also extremely skeptical about all diet and exercise news. I believe that there is probably some decent research going on at various universities, but I don’t believe that it’s being reported accurately.

    I’m down 30 pounds from last year and I’d like to lose another 25, but if I don’t, then I don’t. I still go to my sculpt classes, and I’m still the oldest and often the heaviest there. I wonder some days when I’m just going to flick it in and start going to Silver Sneakers classes at the rec center.

  3. I firmly believe that the “best” exercise is the one you will do. I am definitely motivated to keep exercising after watching my mom (who didn’t exercise and was in very poor shape) and seeing how the lack of fitness and mobility really affected her.

    I run 3 – 4 times a week and I also go to a bootcamp 1 – 2 times a week. We meet at 6 am before work. It started with some moms from DD’s daycare days. We’re now all in our early 50’s. I’ve told them I hope we keep the group going through our 70’s and 80’s. The bootcamp gets me to do things I would never do on my own like push-ups and upper body stuff and agility.

    This fall I put on 8 pounds due to stress eating. I would really like to lose the weight – but as I haven’t made any actual changes, a miracle has not occurred and I have not lost the weight. Sigh.

  4. I get bored with exercise unless I find a class I really like or have an exercise buddy. It has been a long time since I could find a buddy, but I love my tai chi class. So much so that I have become a certified instructor and am looking at some opportunities to start teaching.

    Last spring and summer dealing with DD#1’s issues was both high stress and time intensive. I am a stress eater and put on more weight than I care to admit. I started the first of this month putting more emphasis on healthy eating and adding back in exercise in addition to tai chi (cardio and weight bearing – body weight or very light weight – exercises). I am down about 5 pounds and noticing that clothes are fitting better.

    I agree with NOB that intense cardio or the body-pump type classes do not improve how I feel. I hate to admit that tracking everything I eat does help. It also makes me realize how many more calories food prepared outside the home has than what what I prepare, even when the meal seems comparable.

  5. I can’t run any more because it exacerbates residual symptoms from my bout with spinal fluid leak (I still have tinnutitis and sporadic stiff neck, bellwather symptoms). I am too terrified of bringing on another leak. But I miss running so much. Walking just doesn’t do it for me. I have also been avoiding swimming because I was told swimming can also bring on another leak because of all the twisting. Sad, sad, sad, sad.

  6. I have to do reasonably intense cardio almost every day or I start feeling like I am going to jump out of my skin.

  7. I keep hearing about barre classes but it’s unclear exactly what they entail. I’ve seen some that are variants on ballet exercise but then some look like more traditional exercises.

    RMS – How did you lose the weight?

    After seeing a personal trainer because of back pain I revamped my exercise routine. He corrected my form in a way that made my exercises more productive. One example are balance exercises. I used to do a few exercises using a balance disk, like keeping balance for a few minutes without touching the floor. However, I realized I was not doing it efficiently, bending over a bit and not relying on my core muscles as much as I should. My trainer started me doing step-up balance exercises, both from the front and turning from the side. These are more “real life” types of practical movements, plus with proper instruction they strengthen my core and leg muscles.
    https://www.sharecare.com/health/types-exercise/how-perform-balance-the-front

  8. I firmly believe that the “best” exercise is the one you will do.

    This. I think exercise is the best thing you can do for your health, and whatever you do is better than nothing. I don’t think it makes much of a difference with weight loss unless you make a concerted effort to not eat more. The machines grossly overstate the calories burned, which contributes to people eating more when they exercise more, so it offsets the calories. But it’s still great for physical and mental health.

    I mentioned i did weight watchers earlier this year. I dropped about 25-30 lbs and have kept it off so far. I still need to get more exercise, though. Right now my main concern is my back. I’m having more pain and I haven’t found a good regimen to work on it.

    Off-topic – For anyone who is interested, I booked the tickets to Sydney for June. I got a deal for $690 round trip on American. I’m not thrilled with flying American, but I couldn’t pass this up. It’s good days and times with good layovers. I still need to get the tickets from Sydney to Auckland.

  9. Next week marks 1 year since I had my left hip replaced. All is good in that realm. I’ve been able to increase and maintain my exercise regimen (cardio) through this year such that I will achieve my goal of averaging >10,000 steps/day for all of 2018. When I go to the gym 4-5x/wk I mostly walk at a fairly steep incline on the treadmill, sometimes mixing in the exercycle and/or elliptical.

    My left shoulder started bothering me in June, then my right one in September. I have done PT for both and now I am quite pain free. Not 0% pain, but so greatly diminished that I’m stopping PT after next week and will just do the exercises on my own. I’ve started adding in some weight training at ridiculously low amounts (i.e. 10lbs) to get that back on my regimen — I feel totally stupid doing things that focus on uppers at 10lbs but I really don’t want to go back to where I was in the summer.

    Unfortunately, despite all the good exercise I’ve gotten I have also gained 15-20 lbs since my surgery. Calorie consumption change? Metabolism (possibly prescription related) change? Seeing my doc right after Christmas to discuss.

  10. I walk 10-20,000 steps per day. I watch YouTube or listen to podcasts to make the time go by. I should start doing planks again, as I found them helpful. I find exercise helps me sleep, but the only thing that helps me lose weight is fasting (i.e. skipping meals).

  11. Timely for me, as I’ve recently revamped my exercise routine after another running injury. I’m now running much less – no more than 2 or 3 days/week, and doing the stationary bike at the gym 2 or 3 days week, plus weight machines 3 days/week. To my great surprise, I’ve been able to get that ‘runner’s high’ on the bike. Our gym has really good programmed bikes and the work outs you can choose are interesting and hard.

    The weight machines I don’t love, but I know that I’m losing muscle tone as I age, so I got a trainer to help me map out a set of exercises that takes less than 30 minutes but hits all the right muscle groups. I’m using the app Strong to track my workouts, and it’s great.

    I miss the running – it’s so easy just to put on your shoes and go – but I actually feel like I’m in better shape than I have been in a while.

  12. Mooshi — Would a stationary bike work for your cardio workout? I just heard more raves from Peloton enthusiasts who had had to stop running.

  13. I have been doing bike machines for months. Boring, boring boring. It wasn’t so bad in summer when I could take my bike out. I do love real biking. I was going up to the SUNY Purchase campus and riding around and around the perimeter. There are always lots of cyclists doing it.

  14. “When I go to the gym 4-5x/wk I mostly walk at a fairly steep incline on the treadmill,”

    Yes, I do the same thing! It is a great way to get intensity. Running or walking uphill is much easier on your joints.

  15. The folks who use Peloton love particular classes/instructors that keep things interesting for them. But I can see how that wouldn’t work for everyone. My H finds it hard to get his heart rate up on his bike, but he used a regular bike on a stand.

  16. I got a deal for $690 round trip on American.

    That’s pretty good for flying you halfway across the world and back.

  17. July — I ate less junk food and I quit eating after 6pm. I probably can’t get a best-selling diet book out of that.

  18. Is Peloton the same thing as spinning classes? They ride with too much resistance, IMHO, which can lead to serious knee problems.

    I also profoundly dislike exercise classes of any kind. I like to go into a reverie when I exercise – maybe listen to music I really like or an interesting podcast. Group classes seem to always feature music I dislike and a screaming instructor disturbing my peace…. I know lots of people seem to need the camaraderie of group classes, but not me.

  19. @ DD I’m interested in all trip details so keep them coming.

    I have been very tempted by the Peleton bikes, but now that I am used the ones at the gym I’m happy with them.

  20. I’ve been on a low carb regime for the last four months and lost 20 pounds. I’ve been fighting plantar fasciitis since spring and after a conversation with my doc about walking have really dialed back my walking. My goal is less than 7500 steps per day, which makes me feel like a slug. I ride a stationary bike every morning but I really miss wandering around outside.

    We have found that if you mix a high fat, medium protein diet with carbs that teenage boys get bigger, which makes them happy, but middle aged men also get bigger, which doesn’t. Also, apparently DH and I have a set “couple weight”. I’ve lost twenty pounds and he has gained them.

  21. “I walk 10-20,000 steps per day. I watch YouTube or listen to podcasts to make the time go by. I should start doing planks again, as I found them helpful. I find exercise helps me sleep, but the only thing that helps me lose weight is fasting (i.e. skipping meals).”

    This exactly. I listen to podcasts while walking & average well above 15,000/day. We did a family plank challenge that was great for feeling strong. I do yoga sporadically and do other classes at the gym sporadically. That all makes me feel good, but it does nothing for my weight. I had to pretty much give up running, but that never really helped my weight either.

    Eating vegetarian helps me inch the needle down or stop the gain on weight, but I find it hard to eat that way consistently.

  22. …meds that can cause you to gain weight

    Yeah, that’s my question. For 1 of the 4 things he’s got me on a listed side effect is weight gain / increased appetite. Maybe if I can drop that one.

  23. On topic: I have hormonal issues that make loosing weight at much harder.
    Putting on weight is just so easy too. I just keep plugging on. So far, keto diet has shown some promise for me individually. However it is so restrictive that I fall off the wagon. I know what prep I will need to do to keep me on track, so hoping to start again where some prep that will help me go far enough into the lifestyle that it stops becoming a burden.

    Off topic: For Mooshi and Rhett

    https://www.npr.org/2018/11/29/671796941/beijing-is-pushing-hard-to-influence-u-s-views-of-china-report-says?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=2058&fbclid=IwAR2g2FrT6oW9oEktkXKef4eiMxUS0TUMXuKEf2tLA8oDoA6OuvYUGfaWNys

  24. The only way for me to really watch my weight is to count calories, otherwise I don’t even realize what I’ve been shoving in my mouth. When I’m not mindlessly eating, I’ll struggle with just saying that it’s OK to just eat that extra slice of pizza or whatever and worry about it later. Even with counting calories I’ll catch myself weighing out a portion of a snack on my kitchen scale and then sneaking a few more out of the package as if it doesn’t count. It’s sad! Exercise helps though. I do agree that the food consumption is really what matters the most. If I burn those extra calories a week, it helps cover when I err on the counting, or eat more than I should.

  25. Denver Dad – What a fantastic rate. This summer I paid $640 for a last minute flight to Detroit. And you get to go to Australia for that!

  26. Cassandra – Look up ART, active release technique. I had plantar fasciitis last year and was in a lot of pain for about 6 months until I went back to my really good ART people. They are chiropractors but do this really intense muscle release that really helps. Also try (1) rolling lacrosse ball on your calves and (2) stretching A LOT with your toe on the stair and heel off. And I went to zero-drop sneakers (Altra) which also help a lot.

    I don’t exercise enough, or at all really. I am pretty skinny fat now. :( I need to do more but never seem to find the time.

  27. For weight management I try not to eat much. Like I’ll have some cheese for lunch, and then ‘regular’ dinner, or only eat salad at dinner if I ate a ‘regular’ lunch.

  28. I’d be fine never eating dinner. I’m only hungry in the morning. Unfortunately, society doesn’t conform to my preferences, and if I want to have a social life, I wind up eating out for dinner with friends. And it’s boring to just have a salad while everyone else eats decent food. Last night I did just have soup while everyone else was having actual food.

  29. My weight management is fine. I weigh as much as I did last year, but I would like to be about 10-15 lbs lighter. My doctor says I don’t need to and I should focus more on weight training and toning. In fact, she told me that unless something changes I can skip next year’s annual visit to her if I want. Why do I want to lose weight? Mainly because it gives me a cushion of poundage when my metabolism changes next. In the last year I started running and find that enjoy it. When I don’t run or go to the gym I find I’m antsy and feel extra “cushy”. I’ll run outside, but had to skip this morning because of fresh snow.

    I’d like to try out barre, but in looking around they seem to really want you to commit to at least 3, if not 4 or 5 times a week. As in, you won’t see the results and enjoy the benefits if you can only go 1 or 2 classes a week. At this point, I can’t commit to that. I’m looking forward to when my kids can stay home alone, then I think my schedule will open up a bit.

  30. The only way for me to really watch my weight is to count calories, otherwise I don’t even realize what I’ve been shoving in my mouth. When I’m not mindlessly eating, I’ll struggle with just saying that it’s OK to just eat that extra slice of pizza or whatever and worry about it later. Even with counting calories I’ll catch myself weighing out a portion of a snack on my kitchen scale and then sneaking a few more out of the package as if it doesn’t count.

    Keeping a food log really does wonders, even if you don’t track the calories. Just having to write down that you had the potato chips or whatever makes you aware of all the mindless eating. I think that’s one of the reasons WW worked for me was it made me think about what I was actually eating.

  31. This summer I paid $640 for a last minute flight to Detroit.

    Last minute fares are insane. When my mom was dying I had to make several emergent trips to South Carolina and some of the fares were nuts.

  32. “I’d be fine never eating dinner. I’m only hungry in the morning. Unfortunately, society doesn’t conform to my preferences, and if I want to have a social life, I wind up eating out for dinner with friends. ”

    I am just the opposite. I don’t like to eat full meals in the day because at best, I spend the rest of the day feeling out of it, and at worst, I end up with a stomachache. I am not very hungry either. So eat a smallish breakfast, maybe some cheese or a fruit at lunch (or if I am out, a desserty thing), and then eat a real dinner. I don’t like having to go out for lunch for the same reason you don’t like going out for dinner.

  33. Great price for the Sydney/Auckland deal. It is true that American won’t be as comfortable as Qantas, but that fare is too good to pass up.

    We have the Peloton bike and we’ve had it for a one year. You can track everything on the app/bike so I know that I have done over 150 rides. I think my DH has done a similar number of rides. In the year that we’ve owned it, Peloton rolled out a treadmill so they added a lot more classes to their subscription. It is a much better value because there are three times as many classes available s compared to a year ago when it was just stuff for the bike. Even though I don’t own the treadmill, I can listen to a class when I am running outside or using a treadmill in a gym. Also, they added floor and stretching. I didn’t want the bike because of the expense, but DH wanted it because he works very long hours and was finding it almost impossible to workout during the week. I’ve used it when it is too cold, hot or rainy to run. In the last 365 days in NY, there has been A LOT of rain. I also like to run outside until Thanksgiving, but it got cold before Halloween here and it has stayed cold. I love having the option of the Peloton for when I just even feel like a 20 minute ride.

    There are lot of levels from beginner to vey advanced, and a ton of different types of rides/music. It isn’t like a spin class in a gym because you don’t have anyone in the room pushing you to work harder than you want to work. They suggest levels, but you don’t have to spin at that level if it hurts your body. You can find a 15 minute ride or a 60 minute ride.

    The combination of running, Peloton and Pilates is awesome for me. I only run 2 – 3 miles at a time when I run because it was starting to bother my knees. The key for me is to workout 5 or 6 days a week, but I exercise for shorter periods of time. I am probably the strongest that I have ever been in my life due to this combination, but especially due to Pilates. I still have to watch everything I eat to maintain this weight since I am not burning a lot of calories. Even a 30 minute vigorous ride on the Peloton doesn’t burn as many calories as you would think so I can’t eat the same was as I used to when I was younger.

  34. Some of you walk a lot more than I do Do you mostly take walks outside or on a treadmill?

    Lauren, I saw your rant on the other thread about problems with getting purchased items shipped on time. I have had excellent shipping times, and rarely have any problems with Amazon. (The other day with the horrible weather they sent me an email apologizing for a one-day delay in delivery.) HOWEVER, today when I received the Gap package that I ordered on Cyber Monday I saw that they left on the security tag on one of the items. I think that’s the first time this has happened to me.

  35. I can’t win because in order to avoid Amazon, I turned to Best Buy to buy a Sandisk memory card for DD’s go pro. I did this because Amazon still hasn’t delivered two packages that were supposed to be here on the 27th. Best Buy hasn’t delivered a ring doorbell that is a gift. So, I thought that I would order the memory card and pick it up in the store that is 2 miles from my house. I go to Best Buy earlier today and they can’t find the card. I start to look like I am about to flip out, and they get on their radio and start calling code blue. I am not making this up. A manager appears and I start yelling about the other missing package, my time and gas etc. She just keeps saying that she is sorry. Sorry, sorry, sorry is all that I am getting. I am going to force Amazon to refund my prime or extend it because this is crap. For all of the other retailers, it is free shipping so there isn’t much they can give me. Saks offered me 15% off my next order (big whoop), but I am not getting the Ugg slippers until mid December.

    I canceled both orders at Best Buy and I bought the memory card at a local store. It was slightly more money, but I didn’t care because I am not putting up with this bad service from these stores. Even if USPS, Fedex and UPS are the problem – stop lying to your customers about two or three day delivery. Tell the truth and admit that you don’t have the items in your warehouse.

    July – I used to take barre classes about 2 minutes from your house before I started Pilates. It is in the L & T shopping center. It is one person that broke away from a larger chain and she is good. If you want a more structured type of class, there is a studio now in your neighboring town to your south. I bet both of these places would let you try a class for free.

  36. “I’d like to try out barre, but in looking around they seem to really want you to commit to at least 3, if not 4 or 5 times a week.As in, you won’t see the results and enjoy the benefits if you can only go 1 or 2 classes a week.”

    Lemon — IMHO, that’s nonsense. I only do barre once a week, but I definitely benefit from it. There are a lot of snooty barre studios out there. I just take my classes at the local Y, where I get all of the exercise, and none of the attitude.

  37. We order last minute all the time from Amazon, and rarely have an issue. On Monday, discovered that kid2 was short dress pants for model congress, so we frantically ordered some khakis from Amazon. The promised delivery date was yesterday, which is the latest it could arrive and be in time. Last night, it was not on the porch. Poor kid2 was panicking, but my husband had gotten a notification that it had been delivered. So he went out in the dark and searched, and discovered it had blown off the porch into the bushes.

  38. ThinkGeek, which is very popular in my house, had a 50% off sale on Monday. I ordered tons of stocking stuffer type things. I never got an email notification of my order, and when I go on the site, the order just seems stuck in “Processing”. MY guess is that they were not ready for the number of orders they were going to get with such an amazing sale, and are overwhelmed. I hope I get my stuff!!!

  39. they left on the security tag on one of the items

    I had that happen with something from Athleta a couple of months ago. I asked about taking it to a sister store like Gap to have the tag removed, but apparently they can only remove them in Athleta stores (nearest is in California), so I had to return it for a replacement!

  40. July, I’m not sure if people are walking in one shot or counting steps. Soon after I got my Fitbit, I spent a day cleaning/organizing the toy room in preparation for construction. I thought I was tired from the mental work of organizing/purging (DH and I have disagreements about what I purge) but my Fitbit said I had walked 14 miles that day. Housework requires more steps than I previously realized.

  41. Honolulu, your story makes me realize how spoiled I am about stores within a ten mile radius plus NYC stores. My Athleta and Banana Republic packages did arrive today as promised so there is some hope for the rest of my gifts.

  42. HOWEVER, today when I received the Gap package that I ordered on Cyber Monday I saw that they left on the security tag on one of the items. I think that’s the first time this has happened to me.

    The same thing happened to us! I was looking online to see how to get it off and I’m debating if I want to try it.

  43. Lauren, I’m sorry you’re having so much trouble with your orders. My one annoyance was with Target. I ordered a cake stand for in-store pickup a few weeks ago. I got an email about an hour later that it was ready. Then when I went to pick it up, it turned out they hadn’t pulled it from the shelf yet, I had to wait while the clerk wandered around the store to get it.

    I have a question on the Peloton: I thought they were live classes and the trainer/leader can see what you are doing so they can push you. Is that not how it works?

  44. There are live Peloton classes, but they can’t see you on the bike in your home. If you ride live, they can see your screen name and your stats, but that is it. They never call out stuff about individual riders except to congratulate you if you hit a mile stone such as 100 rides or 500 rides etc. They might try to push the whole class, but it isn’t specific. You can see how you are doing against other riders that take the rides “live”, but it is just a screen name and a rank. I pick and choose from 1000s of archived classes. These are on demand and you can use these old rides any time.

  45. those big white or black tags that beep if they’re not removed. almost impossible to remove without damaging the item unless you have the specific equipment for that type of tag.

  46. Macy’s has Pick Up in store and it is quite popular. Unfortunately the online pickup counter is the same as returns, so I was stuck behind people returning. Also online pickup takes time as they have to go to the storeroom and locate your package – worse if your package is in the wrong spot in the storeroom among hundreds of packages.

  47. Amazon not only notifies by for in house deliveries takes a pic of the package on the porch. So I can find it if misdelivered they use USPS a lot tho.

  48. I got an email about an hour later that it was ready. Then when I went to pick it up, it turned out they hadn’t pulled it from the shelf yet

    I wonder if there’s some metric they’re getting graded on for how long it takes them to pull the orders for pickup? That, together with the likelihood that many people won’t be in till hours or even days after getting the notification, would make it a rational response for them to just mark orders as ready when the sales staff is all tied up with customers in the store, figuring they can pull it once the person actually comes in. Which in turn would explain both your experience and Lauren’s of finding the store didn’t even have the item in stock (inventory and reality don’t always match).

  49. Or pull it during a slow period, of course, on the assumption that some large percentage of customers won’t be in till later anyway – but in the system they show as having pulled it within whatever is the mandated time.

  50. “Is Peloton the same thing as spinning classes? They ride with too much resistance, IMHO, which can lead to serious knee problems.”

    Not sure about spinning class, but it’s hard to really spin, at least on the road, with the resistance too high.

    What kind of cadence do you consider to be spinning? I think of it as at least 90. Back when I had a computer on my bike, I’d typically spin at about 100-110 on relatively flat roads without a strong headwind or crosswind. I can’t turn that kind of cadence with high resistance.

  51. “I find exercise helps me sleep”

    I find that not only does it help me sleep, but I enjoy my sleep much more after a good workout.

  52. “My H finds it hard to get his heart rate up on his bike, but he used a regular bike on a stand.”

    I also find it hard to really get my heart rate up on an exercise bike, a regular bike mounted on a trainer, or any other sort of cardio machine. I find it hard to beat really biking or really running for getting my heart rate up, especially going uphill.

  53. “I think exercise is the best thing you can do for your health, and whatever you do is better than nothing. “

    I don’t disagree about exercise being great for one’s health, but I question whether it’s the best thing. I wonder if sleeping isn’t better, or perhaps just as good and just as important.

  54. The same thing happened to us! I was looking online to see how to get it off and I’m debating if I want to try it.

    I got it off with the rubber band method. https://www.ehow.com/how_4618108_remove-ink-tags-clothes.html

    Or pull it during a slow period

    When I got there it was a very slow period. There was nobody in line at the service counter and two clerks standing around seemingly doing nothing. I’m sure they marked it as ready to meet the two-hour time, and figured since it was just one item they could get it pretty quickly. I hope that they wouldn’t do that if it was a larger order, but who knows.

  55. The HS Principal invited parents to attend a presentation next week to share the results of a survey that the students took last year about stress. Many of the students reported high levels of stress, anxiety and related disorders. 91% of the students reported that they only get 4-6 hours of sleep per night. I have already seen the results of the survey and heard from several experts about how to help students in our HS. Every single one of them mentioned more sleep and less caffeine/sugar drinks as the quickest, cheapest and most effective fix for many of the problems that the kids reported. They shared many important facts about how the lack of sleep impacts different parts of a teenage brain and body. It was clear that there wasn’t any solution that was as valuable as more sleep to improve the physical and mental health of some of these kids.

    Another presenter talked about the impact of lack of sleep on teenage drivers. The simulation of their brain and response times based on their sleep patterns was terrifying. It was equal to or exceeded the brain patterns in drunk drivers.

  56. Tangent: Growing up around a mix of Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, Pentecostals and nondenominational Christians, I guessed the numbers for alcohol consumption by denomination correctly.

    Percentages of Christians who Consume Alcohol by Denomination:
    Lutherans (76%) and Methodists (62%) are more likely to say they imbibe than Baptists (33%), non-denominational churchgoers (43%), and Assemblies of God/Pentecostals (23%).

    Catholics drink like Lutherans, not listed. :)

    https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/november/christians-drink-alcohol-survey-protestant-churchgoers.html

  57. Lauren – I get the feeling that it goes from very controlled bedtimes till middle school and then it’s high school and the kids sleep patterns are totally out of sync with their families. In the home country (except for late nights while studying for exams) kids sleep patterns were in line with their families with most people getting around 7 to 8 hours of sleep.

  58. Denver Dad — That’s a great deal on your flight to Australia. Seeing these types of deals helps me realize that such things actually exist.

    I agree sleep ranks up there with exercise. It’s amazing to me how many people have trouble getting a good night’s sleep. I was just talking with someone who told me he’s just resigned to waking up tired most mornings. I still have not figured out the usefulness and/or accuracy of my new Fitbit sleep tracker, but as long as I don’t have sleep complaints it’s not a big deal. (Occasionally the tracker shows two overlapping sleep episodes for one night.)

  59. “I wonder if sleeping isn’t better, or perhaps just as good and just as important.”

    One of the central reasons I am so gung ho about exercise is that it really helps me sleep better. The two things are intertwined for me. My daughter, as well – she has a long history of insomnia and sleep problems. When she exercises – soccer, fencing, etc – she sleeps much better. Her ADHD seems to be more controlled too. She just started middle school winter track, and has had afternoon practices all week. I can really see the difference. She is conking out at night and staying asleep.

  60. Finn, I agree that it is harder to set resistance too high on a road bike. That is a big reason why I really prefer to ride outside. Something about the interaction with the road and actual movement seems to help form in general. I really prefer running, walking, or biking outside – I love the feeling of motion and I think my whole body is more engaged with the exercise because of the motion and the interaction with surface and environment.

  61. My DD#1 needs (has always needed) more sleep and a fairly consistent sleep routine. I don’t know what her college sleep pattern is, but middle and high school was roughly an average of 8. Usually, in bed by 10-10:30 and up 6-6:30. However, if she didn’t have much homework, I would often find her asleep at 9-9:30.

    DD#2 has a more erratic schedule as some band practices are early morning where others are after school, with later evening events. For example, last night was a city wide band tryout that she has to participate in for a grade. The school the tryout was held at was about as far away from us as it could be. She got home at 11 pm and then had some homework to finish up. It’s 7:30 and she is still asleep – school starts at 9 am, so you has about another 20 min to sleep.

    DD#2 has turned into more of a night owl and SO has that tendency as well. It is messing me up as I tend to get more done first thing in the morning, but going to bed when the rest of the crew is up and active is hard.

  62. Lauren, what time does your HS start? I’m guessing that it’s on the early side. As we’ve talked about many times, starting even 30 minutes later makes a big difference at that age.

  63. Harking back to earlier in the week I posted: “My key goals for the week: don’t buy any food, go to the gym every day and lose 5lbs…”

    No food buying. Check. (Though, since DW is coming home tonight, I do have some fruit/veg/milk to get on the way home so we’re set for whatever we decide to have for breakfast & dinner tomorrow).

    Go to the gym every day. Check. And longer than usual (normally my workout is 40-45min, this week has been 60min+) each time since I’m only coming home to myself. So my steps are way up.

    Lose 5 lbs. Halfway there when I weighed myself this morning. Better than nothing, but no real progress. I need to eat less.

  64. we were fortunate that our kids’ HS started at 8am which was 30-45min later than the public schools in our area. I think it really helped our guys to get enough sleep Sun-Thurs nights.

  65. Most of our schools start before 8 am. Most kids are at bus stops a little after 7 am. It’s early IMO. The heaviest traffic is 7.30 to 8.30 as buses get to school and parents do drop off and then head to work.

  66. Kids like adults are morning or night people too. DD#1 has always been more of a morning person, while DD#2 is more of a night owl. While work schedules have become more flexible for many workers, school schedules are very rigid!

  67. Lose 5 lbs. Halfway there when I weighed myself this morning. Better than nothing, but no real progress. I need to eat less.

    Fred, losing 5 lbs in a week is an unreasonable expectation. If you’re down 2.5, that’s at the high end of reasonable.

  68. WCE- I belonged to a Lutheran church and a Catholic parish. IME, Catholics have more wine/beer at social events. Lutherans generally had weak coffee. Not sure what they do in their own home though. I spent some time in a dry-ish southern town and we had a Catholic parish in our neighborhood. I remember some of the kids we thought it was scandalous that the priest was seen drinking a beer, lol. Most of the churches there only served grape juice at communion.

  69. The Whiskeypalians and drinking Catholics fit my family to a T. Our parties sure are a good time… :)

    I’ve been thinking about this post all day (and night). I have about 5-6 lbs to lose to make me happy (no one else would say I need to lose weight, but I see it all the time… grr…). I realize I’m eating more – I’ll finish the kids’ dinners after I’ve eaten mine (so a theoretical second or third helping). And I’m not as active. And my abs are weak after two babies. I’m making small goals – not overeating throughout the day, choosing healthy snacks, and not eating the kids’ food. And I’ve built in one yoga class per week. I’m going to try to get one more gym night after the kids go to bed. Except this is the worst time of year to try any of this. So we’ll see what happens after the new year… LOL.

  70. DD – I agree with you on an ongoing basis. My history is that usually the first week of my newfound focus on weight loss I can knock 5 lbs off (but I acknowledge that I have probably changed and my meds regimen may be impacting my ability to do more). Beyond week 1 my real goal is 1lb/wk; sometimes I get lucky and I drop 2.

  71. Classes start at 7:55. There is a gift on Fridays because classes start at 9:10. School ends later on Friday too, but the periods are each shortened by 4 minutes.

    I’ve changed my habits/schedule to accommodate the carpool. I love this late start for the kids on Friday.

  72. Lauren, if they are going to talk that much about the kids not getting enough sleep and not look at a later start time then they are a bunch of hypocrites.

    Fred, age has something to do with as well. :)

  73. “Do you mostly take walks outside or on a treadmill?”

    Outside as much as possible. In most types of weather – except heavy rain.

    @HM – I had something delivered from Banana Republic with a security tag on it, and that is when I found out that all the sister stores use different tag systems. WTF??!! I was able to get it taken off at the BR Factory store though (which is very close to my office) rather than hauling over to the real BR store though. But Old Navy couldn’t help me.

  74. Our school starts at 7:50. The students at our school are all heavily involved in afterschool activities, including sports. And the kids have a lot of homework.If they moved the start time later, most likely the sports practices and some of the other clubs would shift to the early morning (orchestra at the later starting elementary school already does that) and kids would get home and start their homework much later – likely right around the dinner hour for most families.

  75. Lauren said “There is a gift on Fridays because classes start at 9:10. School ends later on Friday too, but the periods are each shortened by 4 minutes.”
    wait, isn’t your school public? How are they getting the required hours in? NY seems to have upped its hours because our school district has gotten rid of the traditional winter finals week and now merge the exams with regular instruction. They also had to get rid of most half days and the elementary schools have to start a few minutes earlier.

  76. Re: Security Tags. My mom sent DD some pajama’s from the Disney Store near her. They didn’t take off the tag and my mom swears that the alarm didn’t go off. So I get it in the mail from her and go the Disney Store near me. They don’t do security tags and didn’t have a way to get it off. So, even within the same brand, the stores aren’t consistent with their loss prevention. Luckily it was a slow time and a magical cast member spent about 20 minutes looking in the back room for an old remover. Otherwise their solution was to try asking the Gap, Banana, or Victoria’s Secret for help or send it back to the original store.

  77. Personally, I think the reasons kids are not getting enough sleep are a combination of too many activities and a lot of homework in the high acheiving schools, but even more, electronics in their bedrooms. My boys have told me that their friends are sending out messages at all hours of the night, and all 3 kids report that their friends watch YouTube into the wee hours. Our rule is that the phones go on the downstairs chargers at bedtime, and my daughters phone has Internet shut off at 9pm. I am surprised that many people don’t do this.

    My oldest has a good friend who is a mega morning person. He always got up at 4am and did most of his homework then.

  78. “My boys have told me that their friends are sending out messages at all hours of the night, and all 3 kids report that their friends watch YouTube into the wee hours.”

    I’m hearing that even in late grade school. 5th & 6th graders sending text messages until midnight. One of DS’s classmates told them that he sneaks his Switch into his room to play Fortnight while his parents are sleeping.

    (I don’t turn off our router for DS, but I have checked the WiFi usage overnight & it’s never blipped.)

    My HS was 8:30-3:30 (approx). I liked that. Some sports practices were before school, but that’s better than having Calculus at 7am! We did have some clubs that met in the evening – like 7-9pm.

  79. Ivy, we do turn off the router at night because my daughter was doing that. It goes off at 1am and comes back up at 5am. This has the additional merit that when Singapore calls my husband at 3am to look at some issue that the IT guy on overnight call should have handled, my husband can tell them that the router is off and it will be a delay before he can deal with the issue. Usually, Singapore decides it will be faster to go through the IT guy.

  80. My kids leave the house at 7:40 (they walk) but usually are not home until 4 because of afterschool clubs and practice. If school went later, it would be dark in the winter when they walk home, which many of us would not like because of some nasty intersections they have to cross.

  81. Mooshi, 8 periods from 7:55 to 2:12. There is a ninth period M-Thur, and the kids can go see teachers in their classrooms for questions, make up exams etc. teachers are supposed to stay in their classrooms until 2:50. Clubs and sports start after ninth.

    Friday is 9:10 to 3 with no homeroom or ninth period. The teachers start at 8 on Fridays, but that one hour is their weekly curriculum or staff meeting. Our other two schools are dismissed 45 minutes early on Wed afternoons for the curriculum time.

    The only reason they can’t move the HS start time is busing. The buses are shared and they make the rounds for the three schools. Our elementary school starts at 8:50 and ends at 3:05. They should probably flip the two schools since younger kids would be fine with a 7:55 start. No one wants young kids at bus stops in the dark and our buses start pick ups at 6:50, but the elementary school kids get picked up after 8:10. Also, teachers don’t want to change their start times if they have their own childcare worked out in their home town. My brother lives nearby and his town has no busing for middle or high school. They pushed their start times back to 8:25. Many parents complained because they couldn’t get to work on time, but the superintendent said it’s good for the health of the kids. It’s been three years and it’s working.

  82. My kids leave the house at 7:40 (they walk) but usually are not home until 4 because of afterschool clubs and practice

    I’ve never heard of a HS where sports practices are done before 4:30 or 5, let alone before 4. Our HS has some practices in the evenings because there’s not enough gym space for all the teams to practice right after school. Your school has plenty of room to shift to a later start time. Getting home at 4:30 instead of 4 isn’t going to hurt anyone.

    Our elementary school starts at 8:50 and ends at 3:05. They should probably flip the two schools since younger kids would be fine with a 7:55 start.

    This exactly. One of the largest districts in Colorado just did this last year. We know a few families that have kids in one of the high schools and it hasn’t caused any problems with after school activities or such.

    Beginning next year, elementary school start times would be pushed back from 9 a.m. to 8 a.m.; middle school would be moved later, from 7:50 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. and high school students would start later, with times moved from 7:10 a.m. to 8:20 a.m.

    https://www.denverpost.com/2017/03/13/cherry-creek-school-district-approves-new-start-times/

  83. but even more, electronics in their bedrooms.

    Possible the electronics are to blame, but its more likely that it’s the teenagers natural body rhythms have a big effect as well. Are they staying up to be online, or are they online because they aren’t ready to go to sleep? Probably a combination.

  84. “My brother lives nearby and his town has no busing for middle or high school. They pushed their start times back to 8:25. Many parents complained because they couldn’t get to work on time”

    While I can see pushing the start times back not helping kids whose dropoff times are dictated by parents’ work schedules, I can’t see parents being late for work because of later school start times. Just drop the kids off at a time that allows you to get to work on time.

  85. Seattle Public Schools switched the start times for elementary vs. middle/high school 2 years ago. Previously elementary school started at 8:50 and middle/high school started at 7:50. Now it’s the reverse – elementary starts at 7:50 and middle/high school start at 8:50. DD was a high school senior who played sports and other after school activities – they all survived the transition. It just meant she got home after practice more like 6:30 pm rather than 5:30 pm. I think it makes so much sense for middle/high schools to start later than the elementary schools.

  86. “Just drop the kids off at a time that allows you to get to work on time.”

    Most schools don’t allow that unless there is a before-care (paid) option. The window for drop off at a lot of schools is very short. (10-15 minutes or so)

    I don’t see how you ever have kids either going to school or coming home from school in the dark in the northern part of the country in December, especially with activities. It is only light out from 7am until 4pm!

  87. “I’ve never heard of a HS where sports practices are done before 4:30 or 5, let alone before 4”

    At my kids’ HS, I think sports practices don’t start until 3:45 at the earliest (last classes end at 3:30). Intermediate team practices typically start practice earlier, because their classes end earlier.

    “Our HS has some practices in the evenings because there’s not enough gym space for all the teams to practice right after school. “

    Our nephew used to have HS basketball practice around 6 to 8. The younger teams used the gym before that. In the break between his last class and practice, he’d go to the library and study and do homework. After practice, he’d go home and have dinner, then do a bit more studying (IIRC, he said an hour or so was typical), then go to bed.

  88. “I’ve never heard of a HS where sports practices are done before 4:30 or 5, let alone before 4.”
    DD, you are totally right. When my boys are in cross country they get home about 6. Darkness, though, is the limiting factor for their practices because they run in the woods, but in the fall it doesn’t get dark until 6 or after.
    My daughter is in MS winter track, and their practices only go until 4. The HS and MS clubs tend to end by that point too.

  89. SO I am naturally a night owl, but somehow I was able to get to bed in HS by 10:30 or so and get up in time to make a 6:45 bus. We all did. But we didn’t have TVs in our rooms in those days (yes, I am that old), and no laptops, gaming devices, or other sources of glowing lights. At worst you might read under the covers with a flashlight. I really think all the sleep issues are more due to the electronics, which have been pervasive since the 90’s (TVs in rooms were normal by then)

  90. In France, I had to walk 30 minutes to school. It was dark at 7am when I left, and dark at 4pm when I returned, at least during the winter.

  91. This year the elementary schools moved from 9:30 start to 7:55 and it is heavenly for all working parents. Bus comes at 7:20 and then I’m off to work. They swapped with the middle schools. There was a lot of drama about the switch, and busing was the number one reason for the district not wanting to initially do it. In the end science won out. The middle schooler’s brain does not function well at 7:30. The HS has always been 8:30 – 3:15.

  92. I focus on bodyweight exercises when I can’t get to the gym. You can do everything without equipment except for back and biceps, which need something to pull.
    I get what you say when you talk about devaluing something that doesn’t feel like work: I struggle to get myself to do (and enjoy) my stretching stuff because it doesn’t really feel like I am doing much.

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