It’s been a year since the world was hit by the covid-19 pandemic. It’s been a tough year for many people, and how people have been dealing with the fear and uncertainty of a global pandemic has been varied.
I can only speak for myself, but staying at home was not difficult for me or my family.
Both my husband and I have worked from home for the past 16 years in our online marketing business, and both of our kids are homeschooled, so our day-to-day routine did not change much.
What changed was being able to freely leave the house without the worry of catching the virus or being able to socialize with all of our friends and family. Wearing a mask was a big change, and sadly routine get-togethers, like having Friday night tea with my girlfriend as our kids played, stopped abruptly.
Last year when this all started, I can remember hunkering down with my family at the beginning of March 2020 as we went into our first lockdown.
We spent an inordinate amount of time, all 4 of us, watching Netflix documentaries like the soccer documentary “Sunderland Until We Die” and other movies. Part of hunkering down was being sure to order enough snacks in our online pick up order from the grocery store so that we could eat (and soothe ourselves as we made our way through our numerous Netflix binges).
That said, although I was content with my family at home, I was also scared of what our world was becoming. I was scared of an unknown virus and would eat to make myself feel better.
I’m a big emotional eater; I find solace in eating sugar, carbs, and a myriad of unhealthy food selections that call out to me in my most vulnerable moments.
Despite me knowing better, I was eating ice cream, chocolates, chips, puddings, and so many other things that I devoured happily, which sadly brings me to the state I am in right now.
The Scale Is Not My Friend
Over the last year I have watched myself gain weight during the Covid lockdown, close to 20lbs which is a significant amount especially when you have polycystic ovarian syndrome, a metabolic issue that contributes to weight gain due to insulin resistance. In fact, women with PCOS were 4 to 8.8 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than women who didn’t have PCOS, so there are a number of things on the line.
We are also thinking of adding another little one to our family, and trying to get pregnant with PCOS is difficult. PCOS prevents ovulation because of the body’s insulin resistance, so having a baby is also dependent on me losing at least 10% of my body weight.
My weight has always been an ongoing issue. If I am not careful, I gain weight easily and with a chronic neck injury to contend with, there are few exercises that I can do that will not leave me in pain.
In the past, in order to have a baby, I lost over 24 pounds and found myself pregnant within 3 months after shedding the weight. So I’ve decided that I needed to get serious about my health which means losing these 20lbs-25lbs.
Understanding Where I am Right Now
So the first step in finding a solution is taking stock of where you are right now.
In order to plan my weight loss program, I used a number of tools and calculators to help me get a clear picture of what I needed to do in order to meet my weight loss goals.
First, I wanted to check my BMI (Body Mass Index).
BMI is a number based on your weight and height and that tells you your approximate body fat percentage. The higher your number, the more body fat a person has. Checking your BMI can help determine if you are at a healthy weight for your height.
You can check your BMI here (body mass index) and when I plugged in my own numbers, at 157 and 5’4 my BMI was 26.65 which, not surprisingly put me in the overweight category (see below)
The next number I wanted to know is “calories in”
I believe that part of losing weight is to achieve a calorie deficit, so the the next thing I needed to do was to figure out how many calories I needed to consume per day in order to stay in a slight deficit to help my weight loss goals.
I used this calorie calculator, to determine the number.
What’s really cool about this is you plug in how much you want to lose and in what time frame (I put in 6 months to lose 25lbs) and it gives you the approximate number of calories you should keep to per day.
So according to this calculator, I’d need to consume, in my case 1231 calories per day, to lose the weight in 6 months.
So now that I know those things, it helps me formulate a plan and the following 5 things are what I am going to implement in order to help with my weight loss goals.
5 Things To Lose Weight
Intermittent fasting in a nutshell, is when you eat on a schedule with windows of time where you fast and windows of time when you eat.
The most popular intermittent schedule is a 16:8 window (16 hours fasting, 8 hours eating) So an example schedule might be, stop eating at 8pm at night and you start eating again at 12 noon the next day, missing the breakfast.
Other popular intermittent fasting schedules are 18:6, 20:4, and OMAD (one meal a day).
The idea behind intermittent fasting is that by eating only certain hours a day you actually create a calorie deficit. My husband lost 40lbs by intermittent fasting using a 16:8 schedule and got himself down from 196lbs to 156lbs – he is 6’0 tall and a slender, ectomorph build.
I feel my healthiest when I follow a Keto diet. Since I have PCOS my doctor has advised me to avoid carbs and sugars which essentially leaves me following a Keto lifestyle.
I try to keep things simple, so my meals mainly consist of meat and veggies.
Below is a quick cheat sheet on the foods eaten on a Keto diet. also, don’t forget to drink water! You should aim to drink about an ounce of water for every pound of body weight. Drinking water not only satiates you but is important for weight loss!
As I mentioned before, I have an old neck injury that prevents me from doing certain exercises. At best, I can find modifications, but I have found that the best exercise for me is walking and dancing.
I ballroom dance but I also find that along with my daily walks, workouts that are based around dancing (like barre) are those that I find the most fun and what I look forward to.
Interestingly enough, going back to the calculators, I used a calorie burn calculator to help me determine what I needed to do in order to hit my weight loss goals.
Here is a calorie burn calculator you can use to do the same. What I did was plug in my time working out and it will tell you how many calories you will burn, which helps to figure out your numbers for managing your weight loss goals (see below!)
I have been trying to figure out what my emotional triggers are for falling off my weight loss plan. I want to identify them, so I know how to deal without throwing all my weight loss progress out there door. Stress is a big trigger for me, so determining what I can do when I’m stressing instead of looking for comfort food is a must.
The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine and she mentioned that when she’s feeling down, she has this automatic thought of eating something with sugar. She figured out the thought process for her, is “Sugar is there for me!” If that isn’t an “ah-ha” moment, I don’t know what is!
Identifying the patterns that cause you to eat “badly” is a critical part of any weight loss puzzle which is why I suggest that if you are on your own weight loss journey and haven’t done it, that you take a moment to identify your emotional triggers.
Whatever they turn out to be, knowing the self-sabotaging thought pattern will help keep you on track!
Motivation and Support
I know that anytime I have ever been successful at losing weight, it’s because I have had support behind me. Whether that’s my husband always making sure I have healthy food to eat or having support through a group of girlfriends all trying to lose weight together, these things have helped.
There are many groups on various social media platforms (like Facebook) where you can meet other people on the same weight loss journey, using similar tools as you (for example intermittent fasting weight loss groups!)
Find the right group for you and check in with them. Discover people’s success stories and reach out if you need help or are reaching a plateau. I find these groups helpful in keeping you motivated.
The last thing I would say as part of the motivating factor is to constantly remind yourself “WHY” you are trying to lose weight.
I have put up a picture of myself at my ideal weight on a wallboard at my desk to have a visual reminder of my goal.
I also got a great idea in a weight loss group of writing down each pound you want to lose on a post-it note (so for example, you’re starting at 157lbs, each post-it note would have written on it each pound you want to lose – 156lbs, 155lbs, 154lbs etc…) and you would put them up by your bathroom wall by the scale. When you lose a pound, you take off a post-it note. It provides motivation and a great sense of accomplishment when you pull a post-it note off!
So that’s my plan for losing the 20-25lbs that I gained during quarantine!
Understanding where I am by using the calculators and doing the numbers – this is a good one for finding out your ideal weight – and formulating a plan to help me reach my goal puts everything in perspective.
My journey starts today. I will be posting periodic follow ups to keep you posted on how I’m doing, detailing my ups, downs and small victories. Remember, weight loss is a journey; small steps and consistency lead to big results!