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Weight Gain and the Pandemic

Weight gain and the Pandemic

America’s ongoing struggle with obesity increases during the pandemic

I knew the numbers would be bad. It seemed an eternity before I would look down at the bathroom scale this morning. Making sure that I weighed myself first thing, with an empty bladder, I stripped down and stood there. Paralyzed. It had been over a year since I’d been on a scale. During that time, my challenge with fitness increased from doing well throughout 2020, to almost complete inactivity in 2021. The clothes have been getting tighter, although harder to tell given I’ve basically worn the same things for the last 14 months. Leisure wear. When I finally looked down, my feet becoming increasingly more of an obstructed view, the stupid thing had shut off I’d taken so long to look. I had to do it again. Agony.

A survey by the American Psychological Association in April of 2021, found that 42 percent of U.S. adults said they gained too much weight during the pandemic. The ‘Quarantine 15’, derived from the old term ‘freshman 15’ that many college kids experience after going away for the first time, is factually double for adults in the U.S. An average of 29 pounds. My scale indicated that I’m at least 25 pounds overweight. As a result, I’ve destroyed that scale and ordered a new one.

The Long road back

I hate making excuses. I also try, unsuccessfully, not to beat myself up about my shortcomings. It’s been a difficult 14 months, for the world, not just me. I try to be grateful for the small things. My mother always said “count your blessings” and I have many, but, over this period, I’ve let stress and depression outweigh my mothers words. Excuses like running a food and travel blog and stress eating have moved to the front of the cue. A bit of agoraphobia has also crept in. Actually, more than a bit. I like staying in. More than going out. I can’t even imagine myself going back to a gym. Another excuse.

“Motion is your lotion”

Actor Liam Neeson said that on the Graham Norton Show when talking about getting older and still being in action movies. I’ve never forgotten that. Saying that diet and exercise are the keys to a healthy life is like a broken record in my head. As with all broken records, I just press skip and head for the pantry with the chips. The intermittent fasting has been going well, still only eating between 11a and 7p, but changing the eating habits are difficult. Life without meat is not life to me and moderation has also been a challenge. Oh, curse these gifted chef-like hands! Everything I make taste so good. To me anyway and isn’t that all that matters? I know, more excuses.

“You’re only one workout away from a good mood.”

Yesterday, I went out to work a gig for the first time in 14 months. Being used to a year of zoom, I over prepared and arrived way too early. The facility I worked at required a rapid Covid-19 test and temperature check before entering the building. PPE was also required throughout except when eating. All of those precautions and yet I still had a mini panic attack in the parking garage. I kept admonishing myself, trying to remember the countless times I’ve spoken in front of and been around large numbers of people. I kept praying and praying until I could stop sweating, gather and go inside. It eventually went very well, but on the drive home I realized something’s got to change. Immediately.

The June Challenge

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
15-minute walk x 2 15-minute walk x 2 30 minute cycling, swimming, water aerobics, Zumba, etc. Rest 30 minute walk (or 15-minute walk x 2) 30 minute cycling, swimming, water aerobics, Zumba, etc. Rest
Strength Strength Strength
Balance Balance Balance Balance Balance Balance Balance
Flexibility Flexibility Flexibility Flexibility Flexibility Flexibility Flexibility

Following exercise regimens has never been my thing. However, I am a list person. I like crossing things off my lists. I also like Krispy Kreme donuts but you see how my brain works. Last year June, following the death of George Floyd and the subsequent unrest, I started the doing the June Challenge. The motto was “Get up early and do something for yourself that’s positive.” At 6:30a, I would go for a walk around the neighborhood, sometimes filming my walk with my phone and putting them on my Instagram story. Above is a workout that was tailored for the senior crowd, or my people from healthline.com Exercise plan for Seniors

Conclusion

Firstly, this blog is strictly confessional and declarative, I’m not advising anyone. I’m simply stating my situation, the realizations that I’ve come to and my plan to amend them. Secondly, while my expectations are high for myself, I’ve also learned that patience is a virtue. “Just start” is what I tell myself and to have patience if I don’t succeed the first time. In the Bible, the book of Habakkuk says “Write down the revelation (vision) and make it plain.” (Habakkuk 2:2) I’m a firm believer in writing things down and posting them where I can see them everyday. Lastly, as motivation, I will update with my progress during my weekly blogs starting next week. Accountability is my soap box so I must practice what I preach. I only ask you to be kind. I need a 12-step program for chips.

I was on CHiPS when I was 14!
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Amazing, was I ever that skinny?

 

What are your goals post-pandemic?

Brian Ann Zoccola Letofsky

Thursday 27th of May 2021

Great Blog, you speak for a LOT of people.....Every time I buy a sack of chips I tell myself not to open them but what comes into the house gets eaten.....I wonder if there is a chipsaholic group. There is strength in numbers and I join your group struggling with agoraphobia, weight, et al. But things will get better, I believe it. Thank you for the post. Brian Ann

CB

Thursday 27th of May 2021

Thanks for commenting and your support means everything to me BA!

Michele Lamar Richards

Thursday 27th of May 2021

They don't call it covid19 for no reason:) Thank you again, Chris, for a lovely wake up call. And what is it with chips! I have a theory that when stressed we love the alchemical reaction of crunching something until it's a puree. Our brain needs crunch to make sense of all that is difficult or hard out there. If I don't meditate first, I'll eat chips for breakfast with my coffee. Again thank you because now that I don't feel so alone with my tummy maybe I'll risk getting on a scale. (Can I get a couple dozen of those ginger caramels from you:)

Kidding... and a 1-2-3-4....

CB

Thursday 27th of May 2021

Hilarious Miche! Thanks so much for your comments! Your chip theory is spot on!