Trigger warning: this is partly about body fat and my relationship with it. I'm relatively lackadaisical about diet and weight, but for others I recognise this is a serious issue.
I've also updated the original post to take out reference to numbers as this isn't about weight gain/loss; it's about how lockdown has changed my eating habits and fitness routine, and up-ended recent efforts to improve my health.
Update (August 020): I weighed myself when the shops opened up again – I've gained a stone in weight to be the heaviest I've ever been. The Zoe Covid reporting app has documented lockdown weight gain as a trend here.
The last time I went to the gym was about 10 days before lockdown, nearly three months ago.
Fitness has been a priority in the past three years because I feel good when I feel fit. After a year of walking back to basic fitness, I then joined the pool and swam for the next year – around 1km each time. Then I upped my membership to inclusive and I've pretty much gone to the University of B'ham Sport + Leisure centre two to three times a week since 2018, for:
- tai chi
- walking netball
- over-50s circuits
- aqua fitness
- various yogas
- arms and abs
On top of this, I took up ballet last year, which is a real killer. And I walk. And I have an allotment. It was all going so well for someone in their early 50s trying to reverse years of sedentary computer work.
And then lockdown hit.
Theoretically there's unlimited opportunity to exercise at home or in the garden. But I don't. I've had weights and other kit at home for several years but not formed a habit with them. Home seems to be NOT for fitness. With the habit of going somewhere broken, all I had left was walking. And even one-hour walking a day is now not enough to keep me fit.
Which brings me to my weight.
I don't watch it too much but I did notice that I dropped quite a bit in the past three years after reducing my sedentary work, and also developed a lot more muscle and tone at the gym. That has all been reversed in just 10 weeks.
For a couple of weeks now every time I eat it's been uncomfortable after. Today I felt uncomfortable most of the day. My body shape has filled out in the midriff. Trousers have become uncomfortable. I recently ripped a nice summer skirt. I feel out of shape and a bit lethargic and also dense and uncomfortable. (Uncomfortable seems to be word.)
This has happened before. The tipping point where I feel it's time to act. Tomorrow I will have a think about how I eat and what. There have been a lot of boredom-related snacks and lots of dunked biscuits.
But really my diet is not so different from before. I don't drink much and I don't eat meat. The two things that have changed are eating too late in the evening thanks to the late walks, and the disappearance of an exercise routine. I feel less fit. I am less fit.
Exercise is a big part of feeling good for me. Both psychologically and physically. I'm going to have to find a new habit that I can do daily and fit around work. One that doesn't cause arthritis or cause RSI flare-ups and doesn't bore me to tears. One that, as my sister always says, I can find my happy thought about.
Wish me luck.
Thanks to my body for giving me a heads up to act. Yeah, I know. But this one comes from Alexander Technique years ago when I couldn't work for a year due to work station RSI. My Alexander Technique teacher, Anthony Kingsley used to make me say thank you to the pain. Literally, out loud.
Obviously I thought he was off his rocker. But it's the pain that reminds you to be kind to your body, to listen to what it is saying and to do the things you need to do to help it. And so it is with my lockdown pot belly.
Thank you pot.
PS. have just discovered Anthony has a YouTube channel and has put some AT videos online.
Commission/hire me: fiona [at] fionacullinan.com