Pandemic diary 65: Lockdown weight gain

New pot (not new exactly but definitely 'enhanced' by lockdown life).

Trigger warning: this is partly about body size and shape. This isn’t about weight gain/loss so much as how lockdown has changed my eating habits and fitness routine, and up-ended efforts to improve my health. 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 – getting up to around 1km each time. Then I upped my membership to inclusive and I've pretty much gone to the University of B'ham Sport & Fitness centre two to three times a week since 2018, trying various things:

  • swimming
  • tai chi
  • walking netball
  • barre
  • over-50s circuits
  • aqua fitness
  • pilates
  • various yogas
  • arms and abs
  • gym/weights

On top of this, I took up older adult ballet last year. 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 to the gym 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 desk-based 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 at the seam. 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 in many ways 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

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.

PS. have just discovered Anthony has a YouTube channel and has put some AT videos online.


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4 thoughts on “Pandemic diary 65: Lockdown weight gain”

  1. Thank you for highlighting this issue around food, weight and fitness: set up a call for so many people, according to comments my friends!
    And tempting as it is to offer suggestions, I will resist.
    After all, the issue is perhaps not that we are short of alternative exercise options (especially online fitness videos). It doesn’t feel that simple anyhow. But I’m looking for complications!
    It feels like a good time to become perhaps more reflective and why we normally exercise, how we normally eat, and how this has changed during lockdown. And why.
    Is it simply the case that we are exercising less due to movement restrictions? Yes, maybe it’s that simple.

    I have observed though, many comments about how people are astonishingly tired, despite lack of exercise and physical demands. So there is definitely an energy factor, a mental fatigue factor and a stress factor. Am pretty sure That this is still vastly simplistic.

    I do really like that you refer to your exercise and eating routines in terms of health and fitness, rather than attractiveness and all that blah! In other words, treating your body with respect and kindness.

  2. And now for the proofread version…

    Thank you for highlighting this issue around lockdown food, weight and fitness: definitely an increasingly sensitive issue, according to friends’ comments!

    And tempting as it is to offer suggestions, I will resist. It doesn’t sound like that’s what your posts about.

    After all, the issue is perhaps not that we are short of alternative exercise options (especially online fitness videos). It doesn’t feel that simple anyhow.

    In my personal world anyway, it feels like a good time to become perhaps more reflective on why I normally exercise, how I normally eat, and how this has changed during lockdown. And why. What do we want. What do our bodies want. And why aren’t they the same thing.

    Is it simply the case that we are exercising less due to movement restrictions? Maybe it really is that simple. I have noticed many comments by friends about how they are disproportionately tired though, even when there are no great physical demands in their routine.
    So there is definitely an energy factor, a mental fatigue factor and obviously a stress factor, all affecting appetite, metabolic rate and mood. Am pretty sure that this is still vastly simplistic.

    For me, the bottom line is that if my body tells me to rest, I know I need to listen. If too tired to exercise, I don’t exercise. If I need to stretch, then I (know I should) stretch.

    Strangely enough, my body tends to be wiser than my mind. (Except in the case of chocolate. Won’t go there!)

    My yoga teachers repeatedly remind me to spend more time in my body and less in my head. Best advice ever. Especially at the moment.

    And I do really like that you refer to your exercise and eating routines in terms of health and fitness, rather than attractiveness and all that blah! In other words, treating your body with respect, kindness and compassion.

  3. Hi @Chris – it is a difficult subject and I've edited it this morning as it was late and I was tired whenI blogged last night. But yes weight gain for me is predominantly about health and fitness. Of course, it's also about how it makes me feel – but that is less about attractiveness as you can probably tell from posting a photo. I think being ginger and regularly bullied as a child for being ugly has given me some kind of stubborn block about what feeling attractive actually means, and also a 'fuck you' element if anyone makes me feel unattractive. I'm comfortable in my own skin – most of the time anyway. Listening to my body wasn't something I ever did until I got health issues. Now I do tune in a lot more and try to help the meat sack holder of my soul.

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