I’m not quite sure what day it is to be honest. I didn’t even know it was April until about the 7th. Weeks and soon months will be drifting by and we are at home in quarantine due to the horrendous outbreak of coronavirus.
My Partner and I haven’t been anywhere in weeks because she’s had the worst cough I have ever heard. Every time she would descend into a coughing fit all I could think about was that if an elderly person were to be coughing like this, their ribs could shatter. It was truly scary because it sounded like she would be choking to catch her breath back. Luckily, she is young, healthy and starting to feel better. Unfortunately, we do know someone who hasn’t been so lucky and has lost a family member due to coronavirus, which is truly heart breaking.
My point is, when all this is going on; Death, disease, unemployment, economy breakdown, increase in domestic violence, loss of homes, businesses and the right to go and have lunch with your mum on Easter Sunday, why are we really worried about our weight? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying stop exercising and start eating as much pizza as you can possibly handle. BUT, do you really think it’s an easy time physically and emotionally, to push yourself to get the very best results that you can?
For some, Maybe it is. For others, definitely not.
I totally get it. You’ve been working really hard. Putting in so much effort and people were starting to comment. And that felt really good. It finally felt like things were falling into place with your routine and that actually – yes, I could be a person who exercises and lives a healthy lifestyle. And then BOOM – Gyms are shut. No more physical access to your PT or motivation from others in your gym classes.
This is disheartening. Your health and fitness routines have been thrown out the window and you’re feeling a little hopeless. Then your thumbs start twiddling and before you know it, you’re chugging back a bottle of wine and a whole tub of Ben & Jerrys. Out of pure boredom. Even for someone who used to have some serious will power when it came to snacking, I’ve found myself adopting the ‘fuck it, it’s quarantine’ mentality. I’ve eaten more chocolate, crisps, bread and ice cream than usual. And I have found myself having a drink on a few occasions. Prior to the outbreak, I hadn’t had a drop of booze for 3 months and felt that I wasn’t going to drink anymore because I wasn’t interested. Suddenly, I’ve had a lot more time on my hands and some old neural pathways were awoken and I ended up having a drink. I am human after all.
Although I have eaten a lot more snacks than I usually would, our meals are nutritious and healthy. Oats nearly every morning, jacket potatoes with salads and fish and veg for dinner. This is because if I fell into an all-out terrible diet through quarantine, my mental health would well and truly suffer. Equally, I know I would gain additional body fat. I have also been exercising pretty much every day. Again, because if I didn’t my mood would be very low.
I know I’m not the only one who has found it hard to transition to home workouts. Many of my clients have been bringing it up in their check in calls and it’s totally normal. Reason being is that your home is supposed to be the place of relaxation. The place you hang your hat and unwind after a long day at work. It’s hard to associate it with somewhere that you need to be pumped and ready to exercise. But please, give it some time to adjust. My workouts are really coming together now as I get used to my new routine and I’m starting to enjoy them. There is also something truly incredible about exercising in the garden and being connected to nature. I never really felt much from this before, but I have discovered that I really love it. I have also been running a lot which historically, I have never really enjoyed. But after thoroughly warming up my joints I was off. Running 6 miles without stopping and finding myself being totally immersed in it. I guess it’s because if I wasn’t running, there would be some days where I wouldn’t be leaving the house at all. So not only was it an excuse to move my body, it also gave me a reason to be outside.
It’s worth me mentioning that I’ve been working out nearly every day because I feel that my body can handle it right now. My daily exercise is significantly reduced in terms of steps, general work activity etc. But sometimes if I feel I need a day off to lie on the couch and read a book – I will. And I won’t beat myself up for that. That last thing I need is internal pressure that I don’t deserve to rest and to grind myself down.
I think we all have to give ourselves a break and accept that we are going through something so significant in our lifetime and we are trying to figure it out on our own. It’s not like we can consult the quarantine guidebook. We are going to respond in weird and wonderful ways as we adapt and grow in this situation. And we are all going to respond very differently. If you need a: double snickers, a pizza, a tub of ice cream, a glass of wine or whatever it is that you feel you need right now, make a conscious decision to treat yourself and then enjoy it. I still believe as long as we make conscious eating decisions, we will feel better overall and won’t fall into a mindless binge.
SO, if you’ve been on a health journey and you have been worried that quarantine is going to affect your progress, how about shifting your mindset and focussing on maintaining your weight and health right now instead of gunning for amazing results?
This is what I think we should be trying to say to ourselves (or something similar in-line with your own thoughts)
“Ok babes, I was doing so well with my healthy lifestyle before and I know when this is all over, I will get back to that routine again. But for now, I would really like to maintain what I’ve achieved in my fitness so far. If I’ve already gained a few extra pounds, so bloody what. My weight doesn’t define me and I’m coping with this quarantine the best way I can. I’m going to continue exercising daily because I know it will help my mental health and help me maintain my fitness. And I’m going to make myself healthy meals every day because equally, they will positively impact my mind and body. I’m going to treat myself as and when, with the snacks I deserve and not beat myself up about them. I appreciate my body for what it does for me and I am grateful for my mind for helping me to cope in this situation.”