“There are no small victories, only victories!” – E. Slovak
The Covid years will be another timeline marker burned into our personal histories for all time. Much like 9/11/01, we will forever mark time with “that was before the pandemic”, “during the pandemic“, and hopefully soon, “after the pandemic”.
We have been trapped in a two year depression. Each of us handled this in our own way, perhaps with excess alcohol consumption, take out food, or a myriad of overindulges combined with inactivity which ultimately led to excess weight gain.
The average pandemic weight gain totals ranged from 15 to 30 pounds! Yikes!
Now begins the challenges of the post apocalyptic awaking that reveals we’ve really let ourselves go and it’s time to get back to normal and back in shape!
How do you reverse a lagging metabolism?
I decided to take a multi stepped approach to tackling this demon, and labeled them 1a, 1b, etc. because I’m not sure any one part is more important than the others.
#1a.) The first step was repairing my damaged psyche. I had to remove the phrase, “I don’t care,” from my thought process. I do care. I have to care. My health and longevity depends on this. It does matter not just how I look but how I feel. Replacing negative thoughts with positive affirmations was the first step toward prolonged health and getting off the couch. Without this any weight loss plan is doomed to failure.
“I can’t change anyone else’s thoughts or actions, but I can change mine.” – E. Slovak
At first the affirmations seemed silly and all I could think of was that old Stuart Smalley sketch from Saturday Night Live. But it really helps! Sometimes I write one down on a scrap of paper and just keep it in my pocket.
1b.) Like many of you, I had added a walking routine to my daily habits during the Covid years mainly just to get out of the house and to avoid going stir crazy. Walking helped a little, but I still felt like a post pandemic creature called a Blobfish!
In February I decided walking wasn’t doing enough to jumpstart my metabolism, so I had my treadmill repaired, and started running again. The process of making the shift from walking to running is slow, but a mix of walk/run workouts helped.
“In the battle of the bulge, I need to emerge as a champion.” – E. Slovak
Between working full time, having a family, running a household, and writing part time, it was hard to find ‘me time’. I also had to prioritize my workouts. Working out had to become as essential to me as brushing my teeth or showering every day and doing so without guilt!
“It’s not selfish to put my health first, it’s necessary for my well being and for my ability to care for others.” – E. Slovak
I’d been a runner for 30 years before a surgery a few years ago made running so difficult that I gave it up for walking. I know people who have great success maintaining their weight through walking, but it never gave me the same benefits as running. I missed that ‘runners high’ and the feeling of good exhaustion and the post workout buzz that came from running.
“Giving up us for losers, and I intend to win!” – E. Slovak
My physical therapist had recommended a couch to 5k plan, which helped ease me back into running without as much risk of injury.
And so it began. I also added crunches using an exercise ball, and squats with weights on my shoulders. Then, I added free weights to my routine to tone up my arms.
My goal in April or May is to start running 5Ks again like I used to a few years ago just for fun and motivation.
The best part of pushing myself to get fit again is that my mood has improved tremendously and my appetite has decreased substantially. I’ll be honest though, the weight loss has been slow. I’m only down about 5 pounds so far, but I’m toning and feel fantastic.
I’m also not allowing myself to get hung up on the scale, focusing instead on how I feel and how my clothes fit. I try to only weigh in once a week.
“Strength and tone are my sexy super powers on this plan!” – E. Slovak
The great thing about the human body is once you start taking better care of it, your body will react accordingly, and crave healthier food and water.
1c.) Water has been a huge part of this new routine. I carry around a large tumbler and continuously refill throughout the day. Even though I’ve always known the health benefits of water, keeping my body properly hydrated remains a challenge.
I was in a bad habit of starting the day with coffee, and then sipping on Diet Coke in the afternoon, ending the day with wine in the evening. All the while telling myself that I drank water at some point during the day, but did I? Starting a good habit is just as important as stopping a bad one.
Think of it this way, if my body was a car, I wouldn’t put garbage in the fuel tank and neglect the oil. If I did, It would quickly break down. Food is my fuel and water is what keeps my gears moving, my joints and muscles. It keeps my blood flowing, and makes my skin healthy and vibrant.
1d.) Alcohol, can severely derail weight loss efforts not only due to its sugar content and the ensuing food cravings that come with imbibing, but as a result of the extra workout alcohol causes for the liver, the bodies fat burning organ. Even a weekend drinking habit can lead to a rollover coaster weight loss and gain cycle. Choosing to abstain and practice a “dry month” can help weight loss efforts tremendously.
As much as I adore wine, but I decided to give it up for lent, which is closer to six weeks than a month. The trifecta of mental fitness, physical fitness and spiritual fitness makes me feel that I can accomplish anything! So far I feel great, have been sleeping much better, have more energy and feel more clear headed.
“Sobriety on this plan is my other superpower.” – E. Slovak
1e.) All of this helps, but ultimately diet has the greatest impact on weight. My diet was not terrible to begin with, but I’ve added more vegetable’s and lean meat, and less sugar, fat and carbohydrates. Most importantly, this is a lifestyle change, not a diet, and remembering my daily affirmations helps when I feel my resolve start to wane.
“Food is neither a reward, a punishment, nor a drug, but rather it is fuel my body needs to run!” – E. Slovak
I hope this post has helped some of you stay motivated in your weight loss and health improvement efforts. Feel free to share your tips and comments!
“I don’t ever want to be pitied, I strive to be an inspiration.” – E. Slovak