Eating your way thru Self-Isolation

Hah, the COVID-19. Get it? Freshman-15? COVID-19? Yeah — i don’t know about you, but i didn’t gain the freshman 15. I gained the freshman 50. I’ve struggled with weight, and my relationship with food for as long as I can remember. Actually, scratch that, since i was 8. I remember going on a family trip to Myrtle Beach, and coming back 10 or 11 pounds heavier. I have a distinct memory of eating junk on the road trip there, junk in our condo, junk for dinner, junk junk junk. We had an appointment with the family doc after the trip, just a regular checkup, and i was 80 pounds at the age of 8. He suggested I do 10 minutes of activity daily, and said I should run up and down the stairs as my cardio. Never did… and my parents weren’t really at fault, they didn’t really keep much junk around the house on the regular, but the thought that I “wasn’t allowed” to have chocolate, ice cream, chips, etc made it all the more desirable to me. I would binge eat in private, and hide wrappers and evidence in the DUMBEST places (couch cushions, piano bench, under my bed).

Fast foward 30 years, and I still would say that of all the things i’ve conquered and mastered in my life, food is still a daily battle. Most of my followers have heard me mention that i follow a keto eating plan on a regular. My family, on the other hand, doesn’t. I’ve been trying to lose the last 15 pounds from my last pregnancy for the past…. what, 5 years? Ok lets be real: 15 pounds is not a huge deal. Its a bit more than one dress size. I know. I also am aware that i don’t look bad by ay stretch. I love my wardrobe, and am comfortable in 99% of what i wear. I am happy to report my husband also finds me attractive. No issue there. But it’s a goal that i have set for myself, eventually one day i’d like to get there without compromising my daily life-enjoyment practices (for obvious lack of a better word).

Before the coronavirus hit the fan, i was on a freaking ROLL — i was down to just 8 pounds left to goal. I was intermittent fasting at a ratio of 20:4 (20 hours fasting, 4 hour feeding window) and i felt GREAT. Brain function clear, energy levels stable, mood stable, the whole deal. And then i was all of a sudden STUCK at HOME surrounded by my addiction. Not gonna lie, i haven’t been great these past 3 weeks with my food choices. I put on 8 pounds at the highest, and i’m currently at 4 pounds up from where i was before this all went downhill (or uphill). So writing this maybe isn’t as much an advice piece, as much as it is a journal.. or accountability piece. Here are my tips that i try to follow on a daily:

Drink water. I try to keep my 24oz water bottle on me wherever i am in the house. If i feel like i’m hungry, i take a swig. It’s proven that staying hydrated not only does wonders for your skin, but also helps your body run optimally including your metabolism. This is probably the easiest thing you can do, because you won’t run out of water, so you don’t need to go to the grocery store to restock.

Stop night-time snacking. Another obvious one — snacking = more calories ingested. duh. I usually have my last bite of food around 7/730 pm, and i don’t eat anything else until at the earliest 2 or 3 pm. When i was fasting for longer, i’d go a solid 20 (sometimes 22) hours before eating my next meal or snack. I’d go to work and bring no food with me, so there was no temptation to eat. Now that i’m stuck at home, and literally at arms length to snacks, i don’t fast for as long, but i can definitely stop eating food after dinner. I make sure to eat a satisfying dinner, and keep my water close.

Figure out what works for your body. I’ve been eating keto/low carb for a while… probably 2 years at least. I know some people who’ve gone full keto and have lost a ton of weight and maintained that eating lifestyle without fail, without cheating. They have no regrets, and don’t look back. Personally, and honestly, i break keto every so often. Again, these last two weeks have been really difficult because i’m out of my routine, but i’ll indulge in birthday cake, or a piece of bread, or whatever every so often. But I do know for sure, when i have white sugar my restless leg flares up and my nerves go nuts in my shins within minutes. I also know that if i have pizza for a meal, i’ll be up a solid 3 pounds the next day. So for me, carbs don’t really sit well… i do well with protein (meat, i’m not vegetarian), veggies, some fat. I don’t put butter in my coffee, although i know some people swear by bulletproof coffee; i moderate my cheese consumption; i will definitely enjoy bacon and eggs as a meal. If your body does well with good carbs, like quinoa, lentils, legumes, etc — listen to your body and do what works for you. But don’t lie to yourself either. Cookies didn’t do anyone’s body any good. Your mouth may disagree, but it’s still just sugar.

Move yo’ body. Chances are you’re moving a lot less while in self-isolation. Maybe before this went down, you were walking to work, taking the stairs, even just walking from your cubicle to someone else’s a few times per hour… making sales calls… going to the gym… anything more than just clicking thru Tiger King episodes. There are a lot of free online resources that you can find, either on IGTV, YouTube, etc. You could go for a walk (and stay 6 feet away from others), bust out that bike that’s been collecting dust in your garage, or finally sort/put away the laundry that’s been stopping you from using your elliptical. But if your finances allow for it, consider supporting a small business that is potentially hurting by subscribing to their online feed and pay a fee for a class.

At the end of the day, energy consumption is basic: calories in vs. calories out. If you want to be able to fit into the same wardrobe when we come out of this (not saying you want to actually lose weight or anything insanely ambitious), make sure you’re doing something to burn the calories you’re consuming. Here’s to hoping i’ll have the opportunity to wear the pretty summer wardrobe anywhere but my four walls.

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