Thursday, August 6, 2020

There's Room in the Boat

I'm writing this because I've gotten several messages from people disappointed in how they're handling the pandemic health wise and to share that some of us are in the same boat.  No weight loss advice needed, this is just to provide others a safe place to commiserate, if needed.

When the pandemic began, none of us had any idea just what quarantine/lockdown looked like.  (Some people still don't but I digress.)  One of the first things we learned is that many of us, in times of uncertainty, will turn to comfort food or baking as a form of control and/or stress relief.  Suddenly people's social media were flooded with pictures of sourdough starters and the resulting loaves of bread a few days later.

Even celebs from Gwen Stefani to Jake Gyllenhaal showed they were just like the rest of the country by showing off their bread making prowess in trying times.  For those of us who had no desire to get into looking after and feeding one more thing, we turned to the tried and true banana bread.

This was my go to for early lockdown because there's nothing like chocolate chip banana bread to wrap you in some comfort when the world is a dumpster fire.  I made some for my mom and gave it to her for our socially distanced Mother's Day gathering, the last time I saw her in person.   Then, of course, came the memes about "forget the freshmen 15, now you've got the Covid 19" or my favorite:

(via    Remember when people thought it would be like a month and we'd be "done.")

I hardly think we're alone in having bought "quarantine snacks" at the beginning only to have blown through them in 2-3 weeks time.  Our vices were ice cream sundaes in waffle bowls.  Any other time, I never keep ice cream in the house and don't really care about it except a few times a year.  Pandemic hits and we're all about The Tonight Dough to the point we probably own stock.  Of course, with those memes, people were getting their knickers in a knot about "not fat shaming during a pandemic because that's the last thing you need to worry about dieting/being healthy when you're just fighting for your sanity and potentially your survival."  I get it, but some people's defense mechanism is humor, so don't read the memes if you can't handle them.  If I can do it for news stories, you can scroll past it too.  Sadly, the joke hit a little too close to home by the time we were a few months in.  Due to several factors, we really did gain 19 lbs each.

At the beginning of lockdown, we were also starting our pre-planned kitchen reno and the Mr started his new job on the same day.  You know, like the three highest stressors ever.  Our workout space became a storage space for the entire first floor due to all of it being worked on.  For almost 3 weeks from March 13 to the first weekend in April, we had no formal workouts because there was painting being done, furniture being rearranged, and we couldn't walk because we had biblical rainfall during those three weeks.  The shelter in place went into effect the day they "finished" but we had some issues and it was months before it was addressed somewhat.  If you want to be accurate, we're still not done to my satisfaction but I was so done, I threw in the towel on one issue just to not have to deal with extended exposure in our home.  That was just with them...not to mention the several times we had to have Best Buy in to swap out appliances that sucked.   It was ungodly stressful.

We spent most of April walking almost every day while it was still cool out but our food wasn't great.  Banana bread, eating healthy about 65/35 and somehow I only gained 4 lbs which I was totally fine with and he finally gained a few pounds after actually losing a few the previous weeks.  Then May came which is where it went to hell.  We were supposed to leave for vacation on the 2nd and I thought I was okay with it but when I woke up at the time we would've left for the trip (4am) I just sat there and bawled for 3 hours.  May ended up being our dive into the abyss with zero exercise, maybe a random walk here or there but mentally every day my mind went to the things we should've been doing that day or places we should've been visiting.  The Mr was studying for a new test he was forced into taking if he wanted to keep his new job despite being told he had everything needed when he accepted it.  We declared we were just taking May off and did it with gusto.

June came and I did not like how I felt body wise but I knew if for no other reason than to have stronger lungs if one or both of us got sick, we needed to get back into an exercise routine.  One two mile walk around the neighborhood showed us just how much we needed to exercise again much less our usual three miles.  An incline that we could usually walk and talk up and just be slightly irritated by was now done in silence and heavier breathing for the next block.  At that point, the sweltering poop hole that has been this summer weather kicked in and it was too hot and humid to walk even at 7am.  I swear it has felt like I was on the space station for a year and my body is fighting me every step of the way to acclimate back to my previous routine.  Strength training is beyond frustrating because for the first six weeks, I felt zero improvement in what I could lift.  While I am able to lift 5 lbs heavier now, it comes at a price to the scar tissue in my elbow that pulls on tendons both above and below it.  Toward the end of workouts, I will have to tap out.  Same with the endurance of our previous schedule.  My body feels especially broken and I weigh the same as I did 2 months ago when I started back up on the exercise.  Losing a pound here, stay the same, gain, lose a pound, gain two and I just want to say screw it but I know I can't.  I really don't understand why my body revolts against workouts, even something as benign as a 3 mile relatively flat walk can leave me jacked for days.  We did said walk Tuesday and felt just as breathy as we did 8 effing weeks ago!  It's like the two months of workouts have done zero for our stamina and endurance!  You add in 3-5 hours of sleep per night that I cannot seem to get past, it has no time to repair itself.  I did EVERYTHING right last week and gained two pounds which sent me spiraling the next day which I know is counter productive but there it is.

Emotionally, I have fallen deeper into a depressive state that I'm still in the middle of and I'm pretty sure I'm just a big cortisol factory.  It makes it hard to do anything and I mean ANYTHING, like the smallest of things.  You throw in scrolling the news and being at the end of your binge watches and sometimes we look at each other and give each other a pained smile like "now what?"  It's something we've never faced as a society and I'd say many of us are not okay.  I can read as many positive mantras as I want but that internal monster is like "have you seen it out there?"  I don't expect people who don't deal with mental health issues to understand but I bet more will come next year.

I can do better on my water, my sleep (which I have no control over and I've tried every natural remedy out there) and I need to get up and move more (at all) during the day but those are problems I always had.  It is like this pandemic weight refuses to move and I've heard that from a lot of people.  Many feel it's like your body is so panicked about there being no end that it's fattening you up for survival.  Some would see that as an excuse, I don't know maybe it is.  I know others who have lost weight during this time and good on them.  It doesn't help those of us whose mental struggle translates into health struggles to tell us what we "should" do or what works for them because it makes us feel like bigger losers and not in the good way.  This shizz is harder than normal.  I'm used to coming back from vacation with tight jeans and 3 weeks later the sodium has flushed out, I'm back to my old routine and everything fits better.  Now I have 3 pairs of jeans that are like "girl, you better check yourself."  My baggy lounge pants ar now just pants.  Some shirts needed to be sprayed down with water and given a tug here or there to fit better over the gut.  My favorite is when the shirt rides up between my spare tire (aka "middle gut") to expose my pant covered tractor tire (aka- lower gut) and it's all

Thanks for the reminder, champ.

I'm doing what I can right now.  I know I need to drink more water, I'm trying.  Sometimes I fail.  I need to exercise, I'm doing that too but I need to know when to take a night off from breaking my body which has been extremely ticked at me for my workouts for the past month or more.  I know Saturday's are out of control but that's really nothing too new but my body's like "nope, I'll keep that."  I know the depression is contributing to all of the wrong hormones and I know I'm not alone in this.  People are going to come out the other side of this with so many mental issues they never had to face before and some of us will be like "welcome to the boat, y'all."

So yeah.  I'm barely bobbing with my head above water like everyone else.  I commend those able to lose weight during this whole thing or you've learned some new language or are now selling your baked goods online as a side hustle.  For a lot of us, that isn't our reality and it has nothing to do with being fundamentally lazy.  Some days the best thing I can write in my gratitude journal is "woke up" and that's okay.  It's okay for you too.  You're not alone.  We'll find our way out the other side of this one way or another.

Hang in there because I'm trying the skin of my friggin' teeth.


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  1. I still do not understand how I was initially losing weight or even staying the same given all the crap I was eating at the beginning of this, plus the added stress of a reno and new job. Maybe I am a rare one who needs stress to shed pounds, who knows. I would rather be fat and happy in that case, though. I really think sleep is the biggest problem and I have not had a good couple of weeks either. I get to bed early enough but lately have been just wide awake even after reading a chapter of a book, counting sheep, etc. We are not alone, though so hang in there, all of you!

    1. I don't either and I wanted to flick you more than once for losing weight whilst eating crap and no exercise. :-P Well, I'd prefer you not being a walking heart attack from stress if it means a few extra pounds. I have no idea why we're not sleeping well but I'd like it rectified. I literally almost faceplanted twice from exhaustion yesterday.

  2. Good morning! Wow! You put in writing so many things I have thought or heard in the last 5 months! With the rug pulled out from under us all, its been a Rollercoaster for me and many I speak with. I find my work calls to focus less on work and more on checking in or checking up. I've gone from sad to hopeful to apathetic to grateful to productive to lazy to angry to exhausted and rinse and repeat. Since March 13th I have gained 16 pounds. Im trying to get as much done at home as possible so I don't have guilt and regret about wasted time when or if this is ever over. Ive found my connections growing stronger with my coworkers as we all battle this insanity. Im a very social person so this seclusion gets my brain on fire. I happily jump into your boat! Thank you for being here and being real and being you!

    1. It has definitely been an emotional rollercoaster these past months. You don't realize how you take things for granted of just being able to go where you want, when you want. We've always been the people who hear someone cough in a grocery store and go three aisles the other way because colds are so miserable anyway but you weren't going to potentially die or infect and kill others if you caught it! It's a lot for the brain to deal with. I can empathize with how much social people are suffering during this time. It's how you recharge by being with others so that has to feel very off. There were all of these memes in the beginning like "introverts have been training for this their whole lives, we're good!" No we're not! LOL! I hear ya on getting stuff done and wasted time. I have a gallon of paint for the bathroom and it would be a weekend project, if that, but it's been in the basement since March because I just can't even think about taping everything off in there. Oy. We'll get through this somehow! Glad to have you in the boat! :D

  3. I was doing so well on the health front - I had lost 20lbs between December 1 and the start of world wide time out. I've now gained back 14 of those pounds. I did practically nothing (an occasional walk or at home work out maybe once a week) from mid March through May. Then my gym reopened and I did great for the month of June, and beginning of July but I didn't lose anything and my food is still out of control. I struggle with eating my emotions anyway, and being home and having time to bake has not helped (I hate cooking, but enjoy baking). Then the statewide mask order went into effect and I realized there is no way I can work out in a mask, so I stopped going to the gym but I still can't make myself work out at home. We are all definitely in the same boat, and some days it feels like it's sinking. I return to work, in person, on Monday and the students return the following Monday. I live in a rural area that has had low numbers, but the last two weeks we've seen a serious spike so I don't know what that means for school. The uncertainty, unability to plan lessons, etc. has just made me more lethargic. Even though it feels like we're alone, we're not.

    1. That has to be very frustrating to gain what you worked so hard to lose. We're there right now and it can really screw with you mentally. I know you're not a workout at home lady and even with that kind of being the only option for safety's sake, it doesn't mean it'll motivate you to do it. We find ourselves very apathetic before our workouts and I yearn for the days I was excited to do it. Add to that the stress of teaching and all that entails and I can't imagine the feelings you must be going through. It's such an impossible position to be in for everyone from teachers to parents to students and at least from the outside, it feels like a no win situation. Please keep us updated on how it's going the first few weeks. I think of you often and pray for you and your son's safety!

  4. Considering I'm not a very social person, I've had some deep revelations in these past months that have me believing to the core of my being that isolation is the worst thing for addicts. I'm a food addict/compulsive overeater and not having my meetings where I can share with fellow brethren has been far harder than I thought it would be. There's one group that does phone meetings but not at a time that I can participate, and the other group has kind of disappeared aside from a few of us for the time being. I never realized how much I needed my in-person meetings and to have those gut-honest conversations with others get where I'm coming from. A friend of mine wanted to get together for our mutual birthdays but we both agreed that with Covid, it's just not wise to do. And that's a shame because she's in town for a few months and I won't be able to see her, so it'll be another year before that's even a possibility. Another friend wanted to meet for lunch at an outdoor restaurant, and I said I just couldn't do it. I don't feel safe, plain and simple. For me, it's hard not to jump ahead and try to picture what life will be like, and I can't see if ever be without a mask. I can't picture going to the movies, a sporting event (something the hubs and I truly enjoy doing together) or out to each in a restaurant. Even my favorite apple orchard in the autumn is only going to allow a drive-thru for their cider and walking around the orchard, no shopping, nothing. Closed due to safety. And that breaks my heart for them because they rely on that income of those 4 months to get them through the year. All of that has led me back into the food and not exercising as much as I should be. The hubs will walk the dogs around the neighborhood, but I'm too scared to go to the park to walk them -- or myself -- because of the mask thing. Then I'm reading about dogs and cats getting covid and how you need to socially distance your animals and not allow people to come up and pet them. So even being outdoors with them pulls me into a panic. I've gained weight, lost motivation, and lately have struggled with flashbacks to things that are completely unrelated in theory, but the physiological reactions (shortness of breath, panic, fear, paranoia, etc)are the same and the PTSD rears its ulgy head again. What's weird though, is that I don't feel like I'm "trapped" per se (say, like I would if I didn't have my car for a week and couldn't leave the house), but I feel isolated, which doesn't make sense to anyone who doesn't know how my brain works. lol Isolation is the heartbeat of addiction, and man, am I in the thick of it. For now, I pray for the willingness to be willing, and to deal with the important things before the urgent things.

    1. I didn't even think about your lack of OA meetings during all of this and given your work schedule that stinks you can't virtually attend one when they have them. Are there any from your group willing to do a Zoom check in on your day off or even just one other person? If you need someone to talk to about that stuff, shoot me an email. I know it's not the same but totally here to listen if you need it. It is hard to be able to justify getting together given the situation though some just don't even think about it. I've seen those "distanced" tables on patios. Give me a break! Center to center of the tables are 6' apart, and 5' with the chairs pushed in. Then you put two people sitting back to back and that distance goes from 5' to 3 1/2'...nice try! Then you have people walking by the patio to get to the restaurant and some are within inches of you. Nope! That is so sad about the orchard! I know you love that place. Ours has chosen to remain open and only do apple picking during the week and not weekends. They are not the most compliant place citing heat and 'freedom of choice' despite a mandate, so I can't support them this year. We haven't been to the park in a while but we stay off of trails when distancing is impossible and walk the roadways.

      I think this isolation and lack of control are bound to trigger things even if they seem unrelated. It's kind of like going back to the core of the feeling. Like when a stranger yells at you for something stupid and you can shake your head and be like "yeah, that's not about me." Just keep hanging in the best you can. Take the pooches for drives in the country. I know it's not the park but for now, we've gotta take what we can get. ((hugs))

  5. I admit I am one of those people who have lost weight during the pandemic. Before the pandemic had happened the stress of the last year caused me to pack on about 30 lbs and with the help of Noom I've been able to shed them. Nothing else was working and I needed to make a change. I've been on a plateau for the last month, but I'm still working the program. When your world feels a little more manageable you may want to look into it. You can try it for two weeks for $1, but after that there are subscription fees. But like a good therapist or physiotherapist their goal is to teach you tools to lose and keep of the weight so that you don't need them anymore.

    For me I needed something different. Losing the weight on my own wasn't working and I've done SparkPeople and Weight Watchers with limited success. And with Noom, I think they have also helped me manage the stress and emotions generated because of the pandemic. They don't just focus on diet and exercise changes, but improving your mental wellbeing, changing how you manage your emotions/thoughts as they relate to your world. They want to improve your overall wellness. I can't say if it will work for you, but it is working for me, and finding what works for you is the most important thing.


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