Back on (and off) the wagon

Good morning, dear readers. Raise your hand if you gained weight during the pandemic. I certainly did. In the last round of dieting, I eventually hit a low weight of 130-something pounds at the end of 2019. Then it was Xmas and then the pandemic kicked off in early 2020. I stayed indoors and worked at my desk. By December of 2021, two years after reaching my lowest weight, I had piled it all back on and was up to 170lbs by January of 2022.

I’m female and 5’6″ on a good day. I do not look attractive or feel healthy at 170lbs. I mainly store fat in my face and belly so I looked like a walrus. Everything was an effort, eg getting out of my chair, doing housework (ha), etc. I was squarely in the “overweight” category with a BMI of 27.3, see below.

BMI 27.3

Finally, on 10 January 2022, I took action. I was tired of feeling ugly, lacking in physical confidence and not being able to wear my clothes. So I did what I know how to do and started dieting. I went straight back on Noom for three months to correct my eating habits.

I now have enough experience with weight loss to know that for the first three months, calorie counting and carefully weighing food is all I need. During month 4, the focus shifts. By that point, I have my eating habits under control (95% of the time) and I become newly focused on other priorities.

  • Macros. Noom doesn’t really provide for this but around Month 4 I become very interested in protein / fat / carbs ratios. In mid-April I left Noom, with some regret because I liked my group, and joined My Fitness Pal, which is much more about the numbers and the hard science.
  • Fitness. In Month 4, everything comes down to fitness. By Month 4 I’m usually within 10-15 pounds of achieving my goal. As every dieter knows, shifting the last 10-15 vanity pounds is HARD. You are no longer overweight. You can’t really eat less without doing yourself an injury. So you have to concentrate on burning up some calories by being active.

Today I weigh 145lbs and when I tell you that I’ve lost only 1lb since this time last month, you can perhaps imagine the fight I have to put up to get the last few pounds off. Nonetheless, the final goal of 133 is within reach. Here’s my BMI today, 23.3. I am trying to get it down to 21.3, which will put me in the exact middle of the scale.

BMI 23.3

Here’s a complicating factor that has made 2022’s health drive a bit different to previous years. Back pain. Sitting at my desk through the whole pandemic, and for 35 years in a sedentary job before that, has really done a number on my neck and shoulder muscles. I have a lot of pain now. It interferes with work and I have to take painkillers which make me bloated and dopey. So fitness suddenly became absolutely crucial and not just about vanity but about pain relief. I need to strengthen my core, back and shoulders to support my neck. So that’s why my daily routine now looks like this:

  • Morning, before breakfast. 30 minutes of yoga. I use Apple Fitness+. The video classes are really good. I alternate between ‘energetic flow’ (sweaty side planks galore) and ‘slow flow’ (stretching, and a lot of holding positions).
  • Midday. Walk for 1 hour. My favourite type of cardio. Gentle on the joints and I can work in neck and shoulder movements.
  • Evening. Strength training 35-40 minutes. I alternate upper and lower body.

I might have only lost 1lb in the last 30 days but I have gained visible muscles in my legs and I feel stronger all over. My face looks normal now and my tummy is deflating.

I have loads of fun and exciting things going on with exercise, I’ll tell you more over the next few days. I must go now, because I have to fit in a yoga class before work.

I wish you good health! See you soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s