“I tell people diets don’t work, and I don’t care what they say. I have tried them all.” – Sylvester Stallone
If you’re like me, your social media pages are full of people complaining about the weight they’ve gained as a result of being shut up at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is so prevalent that the term COVID-19 is often used to refer to the 19 pounds people have gained during the quasi-lockdown.
I find this to be completely incomprehensible.
The usual excuses people use when they talk about being overweight range from simply not having time to work out, being forced to eat horribly bad fast food because of their hectic schedules and have to eat late at night because they are too busy to eat at a time when the body might be able to digest and process dinner before bedtime dormancy.
OK, so being locked down with nowhere to go and limited access to fast food solves ALL of these problems, right?
My daily routine has resulted in weight LOSS, not weight gain, and I’m not someone who worries about losing weight, typically. My normal schedule used to involve me getting up at 4:30AM to do yoga for an hour before work, and often involved a walk with my dog or some activity with my daughter after school.
When COVID-19 switched up my schedule, it meant yoga now happens at like 9AM, followed by an hour-long walk with my beagle (sometimes two), riding bikes with my daughter and now swimming with her, as well. I avoid fast food like the plague anyway, but I’ve had much more time for cooking and making healthy choices about when and what to eat.
How are people actually gaining weight when they have so much free time on their hands?
The bottom line is that time and schedule are just excuses people use to avoid taking responsibility and being proactive. It’s why diets don’t work, and is equally the reason why the dieting industry generated $72 billion in 2018. We seem to want to be able to overeat, eat things we absolutely shouldn’t eat, and then take some magic pill that will make all those calories just evaporate.
Here’s an idea – why not try something else?
When you get full, stop eating. Cut down on refined sugar, meat, and soda. Drink some water, get to know the world of vegetables and start exercising every day. You don’t have to go running or do extreme sports and you don’t have to cut out everything you love to eat. You don’t need special diet meals, in fact, unless you really love them and plan to eat them forever, they are the opposite of helpful.
Be honest with yourself. What are your actual goals and how serious are you about attaining them? You don’t look like Jennifer Anniston at 50? Ok. Most women don’t look that good at 30. Guys, you don’t look like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? Yeah, well no duh. He spends hours every day working out and probably has professional nutritionists preparing every bite of food he eats.
Do you want to lose a few pounds? Are you willing to change your lifestyle in relationship to food and activity to lose them permanently? If not, why bother losing 10 this week and 20 the next only to find that in six months you weigh more than you did before you started the fad diet of the day?
Don’t diet for someone else. Don’t diet because you want to look like professional actors and actresses you see on TV and in the movies. Don’t diet because… well…just DON’T DIET!
What most people think about when it comes to dieting is a short-term change of behavior that will help you lose weight so you can go back to eating like you did before the diet. Might as well skip the diet in the middle.
If you (or your doctor) take a look at your body and realize you need to make some changes, make lasting changes that are sustainable for the rest of your life. Any other course of action is just setting yourself up for failure.