Many of us are finding it hard to remember a carefree life before March 2020.
I do recall having a Valentines lunch with two girlfriends in February. At that time COVID-19 was still as remote a concept as: “Have you heard ... ?"
Had you told us we’d be wearing masks for everyday activities three months from then - that gyms would close and free weights would sell out online - we wouldn’t have believed it.
At that time we were still dressing up, wearing nice suits, heels, blowing out our hair or putting on a tie. Being in shape – keeping up appearances for others – still mattered.
We’re trying. But apparently, not hard enough.
My husband and I have been complaining to each other that our bodies are starting to look like balloons three days after a party: deflated, neglected, less-than-taut.
We’re running and throwing our body weight around, heaving ourselves up and down sand dunes and encouraging each other to do another set of push-ups, another plank.
It’s not working.
We are also far more sedentary: housebound, inactive, waiting. Our dog, a four-pound chihuahua, needs to be walked, but not far.
Sophie Anson's chihuahua
Our workouts can’t make up for the fact that we Zoom our way through most days… or just sit around, waiting for the news.
I was reading the other day that a surfer off the coast of Australia was attacked by a great white shark that bit off his arm.
The surfer punched the shark in the nose (presumably with the other arm), told the animal to “F--- off," and the great white did just that.
When I read this, I thought: “Now, that’s the right attitude!"
This is someone fighting for himself, not for appearances, but because he wanted to get back on his surfboard. He had waves to catch. He wasn’t about to be distracted.
I would have surrendered. But, this guy thought: “I have the other arm left, and I’m going to use it.”
If COVID-19 has done anything to the world of weight loss, it has disrupted our sense of direction, our motivation, our willpower, and our WHY.
What I keep hearing again and again from my clients is:
“I’m just not sure I have a reason to lose weight anymore.”
“I’m not even seeing people.”
“No one is seeing me."
“I’m in sweatpants all day,”
And, what it really boils down to, “At this point, who cares??”
So, how do we tackle this general sense of apathy?
How do we overcome the feeling of impending doom and prevent ourselves from slipping into an all-you-can-eat-buffet mentality?
Let's talk problems and solutions!
Problem: "At this point who cares?"
Answer: You do.
This has, and always will be true: You are doing this for you.
This has never been and never will be for anyone else but yourself. If you were getting in shape for someone else, you were bound to lose steam eventually.
If that was the case, it's time to redefine your WHY. Re-establish your reasons for wanting to do this.
Weight management can never be about other people.
Reaching for "good health" is a GREAT goal to work toward, but it tends to be hard to grasp – read: hard to motivate.
Setting a superficial goal is 100% okay: No one needs to know what your goal is but you.
You can always have a backup, public goal such as “clear skin” or “heart health,” when what you actually privately mean is, “I want to look really, really good in a tight pair of jeans."
Resources: YOU, your best friend, that one person who is super honest with you and has your back without judgement.
Problem: No access to a gym.
Answer: If you can find a yoga mat and two sets of weights you’re good to go.
Get your kids involved so the whole family's moving!
Four-gallon water jugs filled with sand at varying levels will do in a pinch.
Can’t find those either? Use resistance bands or your own body weight.
There are unlimited FREE online workouts available and, for a small fee, some truly awesome long-term programs.
For those of you who foolishly think – as I did – that you won’t be challenged, OH MY G-D. Think again.
I started with a 21-day fix (just 30 minutes a day) with Autumn Calabrese in Beachbody on Demand and though I consider myself in relatively decent shape, I felt my eyeballs rolling back into my head 11 minutes into the first half hour.
I have never been so challenged in my life - not with triathlons, not with weights. And I’m LOVING it. Not least, the part which means it’s over so quickly in the privacy of my own home.
Problem: I have no idea what to eat.
Answer: Start somewhere and stop trying to tackle the whole problem at once.
You don’t need a degree in nutrition, you just need to nail down three good breakfasts on rotation, four or five easy lunches, and four or five simple dinners.
You don’t need to learn how to cook – no, really.
And, you don’t even need to understand why you’re putting those meals together just yet (although it’ll DEFINITELY help you stick to the plan long term if you do - so more on that later).
For now, just research the basics and write them down. Again, you’ll be able to find all this online for free: sample 1200, 1400, 1600, 1800 weight loss meal plans.
Keep Googling “weight management diet plans.” Continue mixing and matching dishes until you've created several meal plans that feel realistic.
If you’d rather outsource the work, hire someone to do the heavy lifting for you.
And by all means, include snacks. You could even tailor your choice according to your probiotic sign. ;)
What's your probiotic sign?
So many online resources and meal plans are free.
Google search "nutritionists near me/online." Are you willing to work with a student? You could get a significant discount if someone is training up with you or just starting out.
Problem: My family is falling apart and/or my friends are unsupportive.
Answer: Ignore them, without telling them you’re doing so.
If they push back against your efforts, ask: “How can I make this easier for you?"
If they say you’re boring, no fun, or annoying you can say, “This won’t be forever, this is just something I need to try for now."
Often, family and/or friends feel alienated or abandoned when we go off on a quest for better health, fearing they’ll be left behind. There’s a genuine concern that things will change “forever."
It helps to remind them that this is just “for now” even if you intend it to be forever. There’s no sense in rubbing it in and odds are you’ll inspire them to join you along the way, so it won’t matter.
Be kind, because pushback is ALWAYS rooted in insecurity, and we have all been on the other side of that feeling ourselves.
Remind your family and friends, “This doesn’t change who I am, I still love you, and I hope you still love me and will support me."
If they don’t or won’t – it's time to quietly move on and find a new group of friends who will.
Resources: Facebook groups of like-minded people, online support groups, and Overeaters Anonymous - the beauty of OA meetings is that you can create an anonymous Zoom profile and meet people just like yourself, all from the comfort of your home.
Problem: I’ve gained so much weight already, and I'm feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of starting over again.
Answer: One. Day. At. A. Time.
Follow Britt With Fitness Motivation on Instagram and be inspire by a woman who took her journey online well before she knew whether or not she would succeed.
Know someone else with an amazing weight-loss story? Shoot us a DM on Instagram @nutrisuits!
There are so many others like her, like me, like you: uncertain, unsure, but hoping.
My advice is this: The more you explore, follow, and immerse yourself in following others and reading about their success stories, the more you will believe in yourself.
So much of this journey is about suspending disbelief, while believing in possibilities. You have to have faith that what you hope for CAN come true – otherwise, there is nothing to work toward.
Really visualize what you want and spend lots of time imagining yourself getting there.
Spend even more time looking up to people like yourself who have successfully completed their journey -
Other 55-year-old men who lost 150 pounds.
Other 46-year-old women with four children who lost 60 pounds.
Other 35-year-old women who have battled depression and lost 80 pounds.
Find them and know that you can do this, too!
Resources: Facebook groups with like-minded people and Overeaters Anonymous.
- Sophie Anson (originally written for www.nutrisuits.com)