It’s official- I’ve become a victim of the “Quarantine 15.”
Due to the perfect storm of closed gyms, boredom, unemployment, stress and getting old, since moving last July I have packed on 12 solid pounds, and I assure you, NONE of it is muscle.
The weight gain itself for someone who already struggles with body image is problematic enough, but what is affecting me more than that is the level of disgust I have for myself after using the last 4 months of uninterrupted free time to do absolutely no self-improvement. Worse than letting myself become stagnant, I’ve regressed, and for me that’s unacceptable.
So what is the protocol for moving forward here? The obvious answer would be to just go on a diet and exercise, but as any of you who struggle with this will know, weight loss is more of a mental labor than a physical one. You have to identify triggers and issues so you can address and defeat them.
I asked myself, what about my lifestyle is different in July 2020 since July 2019? Boy that’s a loaded question. The easiest answer would be ‘everything’ but I’ll try to narrow it down to the major changes.
The biggest issue right off the bat is that I’m not working so I’ve got too much time on my hands. When I’m busy, I don’t even think about eating. When I’m trying to fill the days with things to do, my mind automatically goes to eating something or drinking something. Whether it’s going out with friends to a bar or restaurant or entertaining myself by mastering a new recipe, these are essentially my only pastimes at the moment. I gotta knock that off. I feel like every week I bring up the fact that I’m out of work, but it’s what I’m dealing with at the moment. I’m actively seeking work, applying for dozens of jobs a week and praying I find something, ANYTHING, soon. But in the meantime, I need a hobby that doesn’t include shoving calories down my throat that also doesn’t cost me money. So this is my first task to tackle.
Another major contributing factor is that I’m another year older. That probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but as a woman in her 30s, my body is changing more than it has since puberty. According to evolution I should have popped out some kids by now, so my body is all out of sorts, not knowing what to do with these unused eggs and hormones. I added to that problem by coming off birth control for the first time in 18 years, sending my body into a hormonal tailspin. The good news is I’m no longer terminally depressed (but thin), the bad news is I’m fat so I get to feel bad about that. It’s a lose lose! The answer to this conundrum would be to get my hormones checked so I can level them out, but since I currently have no health insurance I am going to have to look into some home remedies in the meantime.
When I compared my current mental health to this time last year, that is the only place I found a bit of improvement. Well, sort of. When I made the decision to make this big move, it definitely was something I’ve always wanted but was too fearful to pull the trigger on. I always had something or someone I was using as an excuse to hold me back. It took a situation that was so traumatizing that I had no option but to run away from it, so I did. A person can physically run from things, but there’s no escaping a poisoned mind or a broken heart. Unfortunately there is no way to speed up those processes. So while I put hundreds of miles between me and that issue, mentally it was worse than ever. My depression manifests in being too sick to eat, which sucks because in order to lose weight I have to be sad and if I’m happy I get fat. I’ve been making the joke that I need something traumatizing to happen again so I can lose this weight, but the truth is, I think I’ve been so severely mentally scarred that nothing affects me anymore. Right now I am in a worse position than I’ve ever been – I’m unemployed in an expensive city, my dad has been unwell, there is global unrest, a pandemic and the US is on the verge of total collapse. And I literally feel nothing. No stress, just “eh.” So while I’m not feeling as suicidal as last year, I feel absolutely nothing and I honestly can’t tell if that is improvement or not. After dealing with the worst possible scenario over and over, I have built up enough mental scar tissue to be completely unaffected by disaster; at this point I’m just expecting it.
I would like to take this obvious life failure as an opportunity for a life lesson. I’ve always used being busy as a crutch for why I’ve not accomplished things and after 4 months of nothing but time to focus on me, I’ve effectively proven I’m just lazy. I start things and don’t finish them. I judge people who seem to be wasting time and now I realize just how easy it is to fall down that rabbit hole and how hard it is to climb out. I need to do a lot of self-work, make some clear cut goals and a roadmap to accomplish them to keep me on course. They say a goal without a plan is just a dream. This weight gain isn’t just about pounds on a scale; it’s a culmination of mental and physical things weighing me down. Hopefully this is a jumping off point for change.