It took me years to decide to join the gym, but when I did, things started changing. I found classes that I really enjoyed, and fitness became part of my daily routine. Now, I'm facing the fact that the gym will most likely be off limits for ... a while. Maybe even a year or two. Being in an enclosed place with people who are breathing hard and sweating seems like a really bad idea in the midst of a pandemic that's spreading via respiratory droplets.
This means I need to find a way to burn just as many calories at home. I'm holding up January as my standard, because during January I lost 6-8 pounds. I was going to the gym daily, doing two strength classes and two spin classes, and also either running or walking most days. I didn't drink at all, and I was eating about 20-30 grams of carbs per day.
My watch was set for me to burn 500 "active" calories per day, which I exceeded 16 days. I did 23 workouts (several days there were two workouts) during the month.
I was also taking three medications: a thyroid med, and two to help with insulin resistance.
Now, my insurance has quit covering the cost of the meds, and I can only afford the thyroid one. I've done 11 workouts so far in May, but they aren't anywhere near as strenuous (and at least two got cut short after just 5 minutes -- there are MANY more interruptions at home than at the gym!)
I'm also not eating as carefully, and have been drinking, off and on -- a glass of wine, or a white wine spritzer, or a fancy cocktail. Nothing crazy, but enough to have an impact is my guess.
It seems really obvious, doesn't it?
I mean, I KNOW what needs to happen in order to feel good again, but for lots of reasons I'm really struggling to get there. One thing that I'm fighting is the fact that I no longer have a set "appointment" for exercise. That's the biggest reason I liked classes: I had somewhere to be at a set time in order to work out. Now? Not so much.
The other thing that keeps coming up in my mind is how stressful everything is right now. All of the "reopening" stuff is far more stressful to me than lockdown was. Everyone from experts to politicians, to regular people, knows that returning to work and life and so on is going to mean that more people get sick. And that is just an unacceptable thought for me. Knowing that we are going to make people sick and that some of them will die is mind-boggling and causes all sorts of anxiety.
Happily, my partner and I can remain relatively isolated. I'm not really worried about us getting sick so much as I am concerned for people who are really exposed: retail workers, people in factories, teachers, and of course healthcare workers. Poor people without insurance of any kind are on my mind, and people who feel they have no choice other than to go to work, no matter how dangerous it is for them or their families.
And while none of this is new, it is a barrier to taking appropriate care of my body. I'm not really in a good mental space to set and stick to a rigorous schedule.
I am taking a walk most everyday. And, I've been running in circles in my backyard at least twice a week. (talk about slowing your time! I can do a mile and a half in 30 minutes. Grass creates some resistance!) But, I know that if I'm going to make real progress again, it's going to take a whole lot more.
Here's what I'd like to do:
at least 2 strength training videos a week
run 2-3 times a week
walk most days
It doesn't seem crazy written out, but it sure has been a struggle. I'm also going to lay off the alcohol for at least a couple of weeks, and see if that helps with the motivation. It's not really that tough for me to eat a low carb diet, but I need to track it for awhile and make sure I'm where I think I am with it.
I have a video appointment with my endocrinologist tomorrow to see what she says about the meds. Maybe she can give me samples or something, or change what I'm taking. She may also have advice about adjusting my exercise schedule.
Are you struggling with health and fitness? Does your level of anxiety have an impact on your approach to exercise? Do you find you're eating better or worse lately? Lots of my friends report that they are eating better because they are cooking at home more, but I end up seeking comfort in the kitchen and that's not always good.
I hope that, wherever you are, you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. I hope that if you're struggling with food, it's with eating less and not starvation. I hope that you have peace and solace and that you offer yourself the same kindness and grace you give to others.
More garden pics!