Self Improvement in Seclusion (Plague, Day 43, April 15, 2020)

Are you gaining weight or losing weight now?

During Weeks One and Two of The Great Seclusion, I definitely gained about three pounds thanks to weekday wine and crackers/cheese platters. With the weird combination of end-of-the-world panic and a party atmosphere with everybody home, all self restraint was gone. I gave myself the green light to indulge in all my vices.

Then came the weird need to bake bread and cakes. All bad news for the waist line.

Those calories were somewhat offset by increased exercise. I have been going for long walks every morning to escape from my family and work out stress. But a long walk is no match for two glasses of cabernet and half a brick of the “fun cheese.”

So, I downloaded the Noom app. It’s been heavily promoted on TV and on annoying advertisements on Facebook. I’ve been plugging in every morsel into the app for a week now. I’m not seeing any change on the scale yet, but I am more conscious of my food choices. The app lines up all “red food” in an angry column. I’m keeping that evening glass of wine, so that means no hot dogs for lunch or slices of banana bread for breakfast.

I’m going to start running again today, too. It’s hard to get motivated during April’s cold and damp mornings. With the massive increase of household chores, I didn’t feel like I had enough time. I’m very out of shape right now, so it’s going to be like starting from scratch. Still, it’s time to pull out the running gear.

Here are my essentials — Brooks sneakers, socks, iPhone arm band, running bra, leggings, and wireless headphones.

As the news keeps alternating between “things are getting better” to “things are going to get much worse,” I’m leaning to the negative stories. I’m settling myself and my family into thinking about this is our fate for a long time. It’s okay to drink and eat too much, during a week or two hiatus from the normal world. But I would rather not be rolled out of here in a year like one of the humans in Wall-E, so it’s time to get healthy.

12 thoughts on “Self Improvement in Seclusion (Plague, Day 43, April 15, 2020)

  1. Given cutting out Starbucks, Panera’s, restaurant dining, cafeteria dining and adding in several hours a week of extremely vigorous cleaning of a large house–definitely not gaining weight. I haven’t checked recently, but I was down 2 pounds before Easter. So, breaking even? Our family is also now religious about our after-dinner walk and the 1st grader and I take neighborhood walks during the day as a study break.


  2. I tossed Noom a few weeks ago. I just could not.

    I’m virtuous and healthy – green juice, coffee, healthy lunch – until 2 or so and then the sugar/carbs/ booze cravings set in.

    I’m walking miles everyday – but that won’t offset the loss of a personal trainer on the weekends, let alone the extra food. I am slowly setting up the guest room with weights and yoga mats, but my motivation sucks right now.

    I got laid off a the beginning of this so that doesn’t help my mood.

    Conclusion: Gaining!


  3. I’m losing. I don’t weigh myself, but enough that I now need a belt to keep my jeans up and my neighbors have commented with concern. I don’t snack, but I’m eating a lot more carbs than normal and I have a nightly cocktail with my mother via zoom. I walk my two dogs three times a day plus go for a run everyday (I know, not good), I’m also obsessively cleaning the house – washed windows, washing down walls, emptying and cleaning cupboards, which means climbing up and down the step ladder.

    I think the shutdown is having real mental and physical health impacts as people use drugs, alcohol, food, and exercise to cope. I don’t think an analysis has been done to balance the shutdown and benefits of ‘flattening the curve’ versus the bad effects of the shutdown.

    My mother (late eighties) is normally very socially active – she goes to exercise, to play cards, to a quilt group, to church, plus meets friends for lunch 2-3 times a week. She’s really suffering. She and a few other elderly women, who have all been isolated, now meet for cards once a week. They live in the same condo building and are aware that if one gets it, they all do, but they don’t want to die like this, with no real human contact.


  4. I am not going to recommend it as a lifestyle choice, but I flirted closely enough with an eating disorder as a teenager (I snapped out of it, without any significant intervention), that I am not willing to do Noom style monitoring of my food intake. I would not notice a +3 pound gain of weight, though I do try to monitor to make sure that it’s not +3 every week.


  5. “They live in the same condo building and are aware that if one gets it, they all do, but they don’t want to die like this, with no real human contact.”

    I really worry about this aspect of the lock down for those who don’t have a long number of healthy years ahead of them. An 85 year old has 6 years of life expectancy (and, how much of that in healthy, social years? I don’t know). How much are they willing to give up now? Do you not hold that newborn (potentially last) grandchild?

    As you write, the assessment of how one is willing to live changes as the amount of time we are living this way increases.

    Solitary confinement (what we might be asking of some people) is known to be devastating to health.


    1. I worry about my mother, but I am supporting her in playing cards with the neighbors. They’ve made a reasoned decision. She needs it.


    2. Well, Beejay, my mother beat the odds and one always hopes for the best. She now has a life expectancy of four years, I guess, which would take her to 101. She’s enfeebled by various conditions, but remains social and charming and greedy to hear from all of us – we are doing this with Zoom and phone calls because of the restrictions. As far as healthy, social – it’s been a slow accretion of trouble, but up to about 91 or 2 not bad. And she is still having fun in her social connections. Friend of mine recently lost his father in law, one of the great birthdays 12-12-12. He had a good run up to 103, then an accretion of enfeebling and painful conditions made the last couple of years kind of tough. You never know.


  6. And, yes, sorry Nora. What is happening now has differing impacts on each of us and I think we have to work hard at supporting the different experience people face.


  7. I don’t actually know what they are doing for distancing in my mom’s nursing home beyond trying to keep the virus out by prohibiting visitors. I would guess that they are not trying to keep people in their rooms because there’s no way to explain it to people with Alzheimer’s disease. But I’m really glad I gave her a videophone.


  8. I’m gaining. I’m not really cleaning more as with only 2 adults things don’t get that dirty. We could probably stand to vacuum more due to furry pets but whatever. I do walk / jog with the dog daily, about 2 miles.
    I was a 6 ft tall beanpole till my late 30s. Then I gained a bit every year with a surge when menopause hit. I did do some calorie restriction and lost 13 pounds a few years back but personal stresses knocked me off the wagon so to speak.
    I was humbled by how difficult I found weight loss to be. I hated only eating 1900 calories a day and I know people who restrict themselves to less.


  9. My weight has held very steady, but I’m afraid my alcohol consumption has ticked up (from about half a bottle of wine to 2/3 or 3/4). Mildly disturbing.


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