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The weight of a Pandemic

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

So this might be the most honest blog I’ve written. I wrote it on paper after taking a shower one evening and its taken me weeks to share it. It feels embarrassing to admit and also as much as I tell myself I do not care what people think, I still care to some degree. As I struggled with sharing this I did learn a few things overall. I learned about myself and it will help me to help others which is my main agenda. I imagine many of you have similar struggles or at least its relatable.

So here goes, as a rule I do not weigh myself. I get a yearly physical, my weight remains fairly constant so I have no reason for a scale. I did gain weight before I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism a few years back and struggle with a slower metabolism still. I have a handle on that and generally eat and drink what I want and I’ve always been active so that's a win.

So this pandemic thing hit and I felt like I was doing ok handling all the things, like we all do but I haven’t felt myself. It’s hard to explain but this image of an M&M cartoon comes to mind, all round with these stick legs etc… I’ve been more bloated, my clothes fit tighter and just overall I’m not happy with what is going on with my body. I do feel like an M&M to some extent.

So I stepped on our scale. I fully know that nothing good can come out of knowing this number. There are SO many factors that influence weight to fluctuate all.the.time. But I did anyways and it shouldn’t of been a shock that I’ve gained some weight. But it was. I guess I’ve been ignoring it for awhile.

As much as I want to be ok with weight gain, I’m still strong, fast, has gotten to me. I will be 40 in February and I’m slightly worried the weight gain won’t stop here. It is starting to play into many of my fears. More gray hairs, wrinkles and sun spots, poor sleep, etc...

I do know the more this bothers me the more of a problem it will become. I will NOT be going on any crazy diet or fast or cleanse or some new product coming out labeled specifically for pandemic weight! (these are sure to pop up soon) I will be choosing to slow down and really look at my habits and current lifestyle and see what has changed.

As a Registered Dietitian for 16 years now I’ve been fully aware my advice, knowledge and expertise is more credible when my body aligns to those standards. I love intuitive eating and listening to your body and all principles related to it. I’m also aware certain factors influence our hunger and fullness cues and particularly stress can cause sneaky weight gain.

In intuitive eating it is important to find the root of the problem and then make changes accordingly. However, just changing the problem doesn’t always solve the issue straight up. The issue is here for a reason; it might take many changes on different fronts to switch it all up.

I guess what I am saying and also what I have realized just writing is the pandemic is current and its not going anywhere. That in itself is my stressor. I cannot change that obviously but I need to change how I am reacting to it. Am I comforting myself with food or alcohol? possibly. Have I been sleeping like crap for months? most nights. Am I letting all of the school/no school decisions get to me? likely. Do I miss my family, my friends, my workout community? much. The list goes on. I cannot change how I feel about all of these things but I can conscientiously change how I am reacting to them and how I am showing up for myself.

Moving forward I will fall back on what I teach, what I know is important and a positive way to move through things. I need to truly love my body, even with an extra covid pounds tacked on. I need to appreciate on the daily how much this body of mine really shows up for me. I will pick a body part and love it and then I will pick another. I will appreciate the strengths that I have not only on the outside but on the inside as well. This will take time as most things worth doing do.

I am not a therapist; even so, in my professional life I am focused on medical nutrition therapy. I match certain disease state diets with personal lifestyles for realistic changes. I also happen to be a very good listener (look at me finding my positive strengths inside). I push people towards finding their own way, to figure out their own problems/obstacles and help them work through strategies for overcoming them. Little by little, small steps towards big goals just breaking things down as they pop up.

I think that is what I am trying to do for myself here; writing it out and sharing it might be the way for me to help myself. I am still learning, growing, failing, but each time I do I know I will pick myself back up and use it to help others. For today that is my silver lining and that is enough.

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