I got the vaccine. I got COVID. But neither of those events (thankfully) were as troubling as the discovery at my post-COVID doctor’s visit that I have gained 15 pounds. Being a dancer and yogi most of my life, this was highly unusual and deeply disturbing. You would think one would know they are gaining that much weight, but I surmise I was in a pandemic-induced fog which prevented me from noticing the effects of “comfort measures” on my body. In shock and dismay, I started to unpack the situation. Here’s what I discovered and what I’m doing.
I started by taking inventory of the events that happened during this time and came up with a 7-step action plan.
#1: Be Kind
I refuse to be mean to myself choosing to hold myself in compassionate awareness. This begins with carefully monitoring my inner dialogue. My initial reaction is to blame and criticize but that only digs deep the well of self-loathing and I gave up on that method a long time ago. I notice more and change negative self-talk into a nurturing, understanding voice. The inventory list really helped with that!
#2: Get Creative
I have a stack of magazines a mile high and all kinds of cardboard that I scrap from the garage. I set aside time to create my next vision board. I invited my 14 year old into the process. We had so much fun connecting and creating. I like to set a specific intention for the collage and then let my inner guidance do the work – keeping the mental out of it. The end result is a beautiful, refreshing poster hanging on my wall and reminding me daily that anything is possible.
#3: Set a Reasonable Goal
I decided to take a slow and steady approach to the weight loss. There are so many ways you can do this, but I’ve learned that a tee total scene doesn’t work for me. Less bread, less sugar and daily exercise are my goals. The 12-minute workout and walking the dogs count.
#4: Stay connected to close friends and allies
Sharing my experience with understanding friends is always important to me. I can’t do this life journey alone. I don’t want to. Thankfully, I have created a close circle of sisters who I can trust with my most embarrassing and vulnerable experiences. These incredibly kind women meet the following requirements:
Hands down, the most important thing I do and simultaneously the hardest. I committed to a morning and evening practice 23 days ago and haven’t missed a day yet. THIS is where I cultivate the ability to notice when I’m being unkind or reacting rather than responding. Meditation is the soil, seed and flower of my emotional growth.
#6: Let every moment matter
When every moment matters, I don’t have “time” to wallow in self-pity. I am engaged, embraced, feeling, noticing, and loving. It’s the best feeling ever. Period.
#7: Be of service
This is a work in progress. I’m glimpsing the incredible impact service has on our souls. I say yes to the opportunities that present themselves. Currently, I’m getting the mail and taking out the trash for my neighbor who recently lost her partner. Our family is pet-sitting another four-legged one indefinitely while a different neighbor endures a tragic health crisis. I smile at passersby and have gratitude for my network of friends and family. There are infinite ways to be of service.
Sidenote: I know I'm not alone. An APA "Stress in America" survey conducted in February 2021 found 42% of US adults reported undesired weight gain since the start of the pandemic with an average gain of 29 pounds. There are numerous resources on the matter shared online, but I prefer to make up my own rules so very often. How did you fare on the weight front? What are you doing? I would love to hear your ideas and feedback. xo