Well folks, it finally happened. After 131 days of lockdown, I have developed a potbelly. It snuck up on me like a thief in the night, but to be honest it was bound to happen really. I ignored all the warnings about lockdown weight gain, and snuggled deeper in bed while others were doing one exercise challenge or the other. I was never the biggest gym rat, but at the very least I walked to and from the train station everyday back in the precedented times.
In these 131 days I have left my house maybe ten times, all quick trips to the shops to replenish my food supplies. The rest of the time I have spent in my room, seated for hours at my work table on weekdays, and then the remaining hours in bed watching television. On weekends I only ventured out of my room to bake banana bread or cinnamon rolls and to gorge my face with fat fluffy pancakes smothered with nutella and toffee sauce with cookie dough ice cream on the side. I have eaten a lot and moved my body minimally. In other words I have enjoyed my life. But at what cost?
Last week I sat down as usual to do my work and I noticed breathing was quite stressful and my belly was just in the way of everything. I took off my bra and other restrictive garments and clothed my oversized torso in an oversized shirt to get the slightest bit of relief. Looking back there were other moments where I just found myself out of breath after talking for a few minutes on a call or walking up the stairs. I thought to myself “this can’t be normal”, but of course I still went on to eat a ton of chocolates and sweets and fried foods because I have no self control. After a few days of hectic breathing I finally decided to do something about it. The first thing was to leave my house more and try to get my steps in. Before lockdown I was trying to get 10k steps a day, and although I never achieved this goal, it was still a motivating factor. I don’t have a car so I walk everywhere (when I do manage to leave the house) and this helps me get some steps in.
Once I decided to start walking again, it was on like donkey kong. To motivate myself I decided to walk to a faraway shop which is the only place I know of where they stock my favourite cinnamon bites. It is a good thirty minutes to the store and back, plus it is a big store with lots of aisles so I must have gotten at least 500 steps in the store. Sure I ended up buying stuff I did not need but hey that mouthwash was half price and it is a new advanced formula that helps treat gingivitis. What if one day I develop gingivitis and do not have this mouthwash on hand? Walking in a big store may help with steps but these steps are past the sugar, candy, and pastry aisles so it is also an exercise in self control which I fail every time. I got 7.5k steps which is much better than the previous day’s record of 4 (per my iphone). Of course whatever calories I burned were immediately regained as I swallowed two packs of cinnamon bites but Rome wasn’t built in a day.
The next day I walked to a health club where I had swimming lessons a couple of years back. It is quite far from my house so it was a good trek. On my way back I stopped at the local store for some extra steps and sweets. I got 8.5k steps. The potbelly remains.
So far I have only walked towards places I have been to before. One thing that puts me off of walking is that I don’t like to walk around aimlessly, especially as I have no walking partners. It is much better if I am walking towards somewhere, and even better if there is a delicious reward waiting for me. I would like to explore new terrain but the streets are not safe for a woman by herself, especially a paranoid woman who has watched thousands of crime shows in which women on walks/jogs have been stalked and murdered. But I digress. My goal will be to go for a walk without spending any money. For what shall it profit a woman to take long walks if she only ends up eating a whole bag of toffee sweets right after?
I will say this, the main barrier is my mind. I am so comfortable and cozy at home that I never want to leave. But once I get outside in the sunshine, with the breeze and fresh air, trees, birds, everything, I am happy I left my house.
-Walk everywhere. If you have a car it is easy to drive but try to replace shorter trips with your legs. In the past my rule was that anything 20 minutes or under was a walkable trip while I would take a bus/taxi for journeys more than that. However now I am realising that even 30 minutes each way is doable.
–Shop at stores further away from you. Of course this is a terrible idea if you are buying a lot of things because then you have to struggle home with a heavy load. But it is a good way of getting those steps in, especially if you are like me and hate walking around aimlessly.
–Shop at big stores; you can gain more steps by walking from aisle to aisle in a bigger store. Sure you will also get tempted by more junk food and you will end up spending money on things you don’t need. But hey.
–Walk to the furthest gym you know and back: Alright so I am not actually going in the gym, but I will walk all the way to it, and turn around and walk right back home. This should give me a good 2000 steps, at least.
Walking regularly will definitely be an improvement on my current sedentary lifestyle, but I wonder if it will be enough to make me fit. Exercising is hard and dieting is impossible. Whenever I try to exercise, I think screw it I’ll eat healthy instead; and every time I try to eat healthy I think screw it I’ll just exercise instead, only to end up doing neither. In actuality a mixture of the two is required. I have just realised the importance of fibre in my diet and how flipping deficient I am. Who would have thought that white flour was not rich in fibre? Needless to say my baking escapades have come to an end, and everything white will be replaced with brown in my cooking cupboard.
It is my hope that semi regular walks and a high fibre diet will help shed the pounds because I have a staycation coming up soon and I already bought three swimsuits in an aspirational size.