Battling Pandemic Weight Gain – The Covid 15

Battling pandemic weight gain. If it sounds like a war that's because it is. It's hard to lose weight and get in shape in the best of times. It's even harder when you're a lady of a certain age during a pandemic. But it's a war I need to win.

You see, this time, losing weight and changing my diet is about more than how I look or how my clothes feel or whether I feel cute. It's about my health. My mom had her first heart attack when she was three years younger than me. Luckily, she survived it and lived another 16 years before her last one took her out. But that first attack changed her life dramatically and cut short her dreams. It did so much damage that she couldn't work anymore as a nurse and had to take disability.

When I saw this, I vowed not to follow in her footsteps so I quit smoking, tried to eat better, and started working out. At one point, I even lost 60 pounds. But once I stopped having to shop in the plus size stores, I stopped working out regularly. fell back into my old eating habits, and stress and long work hours did the rest. I gained back all the weight and then some.

Right before the pandemic, I was the heaviest I'd ever been and over the past year, I put on the typical Covid 15 on top of that. Since I worked from home and rarely left the house, I became even more sedentary, On top of that, I ordered in from restaurants, cooked up a storm, and ate way too many meals in front of the television while avidly watching CNN and MSNBC. To make matters worse, I avoided visiting the doctor and, at one point, allowed my blood pressure medication to lapse. Now, I'm working on getting that back under control as well. More on how I'm doing that in my next post.

I'm writing this post the day after Mother's Day. I guess that's why my mother is so much on my mind. I miss her and wish she had more years with us. Call me greedy, but I'd like to live another 40 or so years and have a good quality of life while I do, To that end, I've made some changes.

At the end of last year, I decided to go vegan full time – not just for three weeks every year. I used to be a carnivore all year except for a three week period in the summer when I did Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy You program. I did it because I wanted to lose weight and improve my health.

I joined a friend's 6 week guided plan. It worked. In the first month, I lost 13 pounds, my brain fog cleared, and I no longer felt like I wanted to take a nap after a meal. After those 6 weeks, however, I got tired of cooking everything from scratch and started order in again. I also started buying what my friend calls vegan junk food and eating too much calorie dense foods. I also started using oil again to cook. Needless to say, I stopped losing weight and started to gain again.

I was watching Youtube looking for inspiration when I discovered High Carb Hannah and Plantiful Kiki, They both lost a ton a weight following Dr. McDougall's high carb low fat diet. Intrigued, I read Dr, McDougall's book “The McDougall Plan for Maximum Weight Loss,” (affiliate link) and began cooking their recipes. I've stopped gaining and have started to lose again. You can get the audiobook for free if you sign up for an Audible free trial.

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click on them and buy something on Amazon or Audible, I will get a small commission at no additional cost to you.

So, what's my plan to battle pandemic weight gain? To follow Dr. McDougall's protocol – a high carb low fat vegan diet – while also working to get my blood pressure numbers down. More on how I'm doing that in my next post.

I'm taking you with me along the way. It's bound to be an interesting ride.



Vaccinated and Re-entering The World

I am now fully vaccinated. Although I got my second shot on April 6th and thus was fully protected by April 26th, I didn't step outside without a mask or step foot into a restaurant until last night.

Over the past year, I basically took a hiatus from life. I worked from home, got my groceries delivered, and rarely left the house. I didn't see any friends or members of my family for over a year. I missed birthdays, dance recitals, holiday dinners, and everything else. I didn't drive my car for months and had the nerve to be surprised when it didn't start. No one told me that you had to drive a car a couple of times a week to avoid a dead battery.

Truth be told, I was already kind of hermit before the pandemic, so locking myself down to avoid getting COVID-19 didn't drive me as crazy as it would someone more social. But, after all this time, even I miss traveling, attending conferences and other events, and hanging out with family and friends.

Yesterday was my niece's birthday and she had her heart set on celebrating it with a family dinner at Yard House. My baby sister and her progeny are a lot less afraid to socialize during the pandemic than I am. That may be because they're younger and, as a nurse, my sister's an essential worker who can't work from home.

As last night approached, I realized how nervous I was about taking off my mask to eat in a restaurant. Even though I'm fully vaccinated and as protected as I could possibly be, I was still ambivalent about stepping out into the real world again. I felt unprepared on so many levels. Like many others, I've gained weight during my self-imposed hibernation and didn't get my hair or nails done for fear of getting infected by the virus. So, I have gray roots and no manicure or pedicure to show off.

Working from home, I haven't had to dress up below the waist in ages and didn't relish going through the trouble, but I knew I had to make an effort. My baby sister recently lost some weight and I knew that she and my niece would be dressed to kill. So, I threw on a wig, wore all black, painted my nails a glittery pink, and put on some makeup.

I expected to be tense, nervous and paranoid even though I looked forward to seeing my family. But somewhere along the way to the restaurant, I relaxed. In fact, I left my face mask in the car and didn't even realize it until I got to the outside hostess desk and saw her wearing one.

It was weird because I'm one of those folks who double mask even though I've been vaccinated. It's an ingrained habit at this point. In fact, I left my condo double masked (surgical mask with a cloth mask on top) and didn't take them off until I got into my car. Nonetheless, I leaped out of my car and walked to the restaurant without them. Needless to say, I went back to get them as soon as I realized and put them back on before entering the restaurant even though the restaurant didn't require it. I live in Florida and all mask restrictions have been lifted except that businesses have the option to require their guests to wear them.

I enjoyed celebrating my niece's birthday and hanging out my family immensely. We sat at a back booth and it felt right. It didn't feel dangerous or reckless or tense any of the things that I expected to feel. Instead, it felt freeing. I just had to get over the mental hurdle my self-imposed isolation and fear mounted.

Don't get me wrong. You're not going to see me hanging out at nightclubs, going to concerts, or shopping indoors without a mask. But I might get my hair and nails done and I won't miss any more holiday dinners or dance recitals – especially since my sister's been vaccinated and my brother-in-law, nieces, and nephews are getting theirs soon.

I'm sharing my experience to let you know that if you feel nervous about venturing out after getting vaccinated, it's okay. You're not alone. A lot of us are going to have to figure out how to re-enter the world.