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Image / Self / Health & Wellness

The Covid weight gain: One woman’s plan to get out of her comfort eating rut


by Louise Slyth
18th Apr 2021

getty

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Without the motivation of events, holidays and any kind of get together, we, unfortunately, tend to bump our body and our health to the bottom of the priority list

This morning I had a very sobering realisation. I’m a stone over my normal weight. It started with a couple of unwelcome Covid pounds. Too many “lockdowntinis” and “go on then” biscuits. Those pounds got comfy and invited a few friends to join them. My unwelcome visitors are no longer Covid pounds, they are just pounds. Vanity pounds are easy to ignore, but it’s a slippery slope from slightly curvy to putting my health at risk. It’s time, as they say, to face the music.

I’m guessing I won’t be alone in this. When times are tough (and let’s face it, they are) many of us turn to carbs, wine, chocolate (or all three) for comfort.

I’m a sybarite at heart, I love a bit of luxury and relaxation, so it doesn’t take much to lure me under a soft blanket with a book and a slab of chocolate. I normally offset the effects with three spin classes a week, but I don’t think the at-home workouts are cutting it. 

Outside forces

I’ve put off dealing with it as, pathetic as it might sound, a lot of my effort in looking good was driven by outside forces – an upcoming holiday, an event, or looking kick-ass in a pencil skirt. Having a diary that resembles the Sahara does little to incentivise any kind of action, and if all you have to look forward to are small treats like a glass of prosecco at the end of the week, then you, like me, probably cling to them like the last life jacket on the Titanic. 

My new work wardrobe doesn’t shame me into action either.

Like most of us lucky enough to still have work, I have become a home office centaur: poised professional on the top half and couch potato on the bottom.

For a while it worked, and it was comfortable. The problem with leggings and stretchy trousers is that they hide how far you have drifted from your former self. 

I’ve never been particularly high maintenance, but I normally pride myself on being the kind of woman who is just a blow-dry away from being red carpet ready. These days, making myself fully presentable would take a Miss Congeniality-level transformation. Yes, the nails are always done, but the hair is beginning to look Rapunzel-like, the eyebrows need attention, and my body hasn’t seen exfoliator or fake tan in months. 

Emerging from the chrysalis

It’s time for a change of step. It’s April, the sun is out, and we are all hoping to get back out into the world in some guise by summer. I want to emerge as a swishy-haired butterfly, not a fuzzy careworn caterpillar, so it’s time to end the comforting self-sabotage and embark on a new plan.

Not quite Operation Transformation, but a nudge towards healthier and more presentable.

I long for a fabulous night out with my girlfriends…who knows when it will happen, but we all need something to focus on. So, I’m going to rebuild my old self, recalibrate my confidence, and hopefully by the time summer comes, I’ll be ready to face the world. 

I have created a five-step plan:

STEP 1 I have broken all my own rules and purchased a sparkly Maje dress (below) in my pre-covid size. I have no need for it, other than to feel like my old self.  In fairness, it was reduced in an outlet sale, but it still feels frivolous. Maybe after months in lockdown, a bit of frivolity is just what we need. Plus, it will inspire me to make the required changes. That in itself will be money well spent. 

STEP 2 I am cutting down on booze. Happiness is not found at the bottom of a glass of bubbles. Well, maybe in the short term…but any real change needs a longer-term focus. In tandem with this, calorie counting will commence. 

STEP 3 It’s time to get my runners back on. No excuses. I have downloaded a couch to 5k app, inspired by a friend who has gone from the couch to regularly running 10ks. 

STEP 4 It has been so long since I have worn makeup, that I fear any efforts would make me look more drag queen than beauty queen, so I will be booking an online makeup lesson with the fabulous makeup maven Stephanie Burgess.

STEP 5 I have raided the online shelves of Boots and ordered a plethora of fancy creams and remedies, including the L’Oreal Elvive Wonder Water recommended by our own beauty editor Holly O’Neill. My hair is currently more like straw than spun gold, so let’s hope it can indeed work wonders until we can all get back to the hairdressers. 

Fabulous won’t happen overnight, but change doesn’t happen by wishing for it. It takes commitment, action, and daily habits. Taking the time to nurture and respect myself will help my mental wellbeing as well as my external appearance. I’m hoping that by the time restrictions are lifted, I will be at least a little closer to my former self.

Not quite red carpet ready, but ready for an outside coffee at least.

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