Wednesday, April 15, 2020

                                                                                                                      Photo by: Gesina Kunkel


Because it had been a while (and since I was curious), I decided to step on the scale.  Let me just say, the number did not please me.    

Not that my weight should be a concern during these troubled times of a pandemic. But controlling my weight through strenuous exercising was something I had been doing before the outbreak.  

The weird thing was, the weight gain was imperceptible to me. Back during the 2018 Christmas season, I baked holiday cookies for my family and believe you me, I had my share of the sweets.  After Christmas, I had a cup of ice cream every night.  Unbeknownst to me, my weight crept up from winter and into the summer of 2019.  Over those months I was never aware of the additional pounds.  There was no need to weigh myself because my clothes fit perfectly.    

On a whim, I decided to check my weight.  That's how I discovered the weight gain and then immediately decided I had to do something about it.  People looked at me strangely when I told them I wanted to lose weight.  One of my husband's friends said that I must weigh 100 pounds soaking wet.  Looks can be deceiving.  And the scale does not lie. 

According to the charts, women at my height are supposed to weigh between 107 to 140 pounds.  I'm petite, not even close to 140 pounds, but I'd like to weigh less than the median value of 123.5 pounds.   

I had always worked out three times a week.  Obviously, that was not enough.  When I told one of my workout friends that I had gained weight, she replied, "Don't weigh yourself.  That's what I do."  I liked her approach.  Why step on the scale and get upset?  This philosophy appealed to me. 

But it didn't feel honest ignoring my weight.  A week later, I checked.  I had gained another pound.  

John, another workout buddy told me he had lost over fifty pounds.  He challenged me to come to the gym every day and ride the exercise bike for thirty minutes each day.  

How could I go to the gym EVERY DAY?  That would mean the time for marketing my book, consulting with clients, and composing blog posts would be replaced with being at the gym. 

   Photo: Gesina Kunkel 
To do as John suggested meant I would mess with my schedule and keep me from my writing obligations.  This would be a difficult commitment for me.    

But then I thought of the number that had registered on the scale.  That ugly no-good number.  I would meet John's challenge.

So, my strategy was to replace weight-lifting (which I did three times a week) with riding the exercise bike for thirty minutes seven times a week.   

Over a few days, I was able to gradually increase the resistance on the bike.  It took everything ounce of energy I had to keep going.  To deal with the discomfort, I concentrated on my heart rate and the calories that were burned.  I listened to music on Spotify.  I pedaled for thirty minutes despite it being tiring, painful, monotonous, and sweaty. 

Going to the gym everyday was not the only change I made.  I decided to cut back on snacks and give up sweets.  Good-bye cookies.  Sayonara white chocolate raspberry ice cream.  This was equally as painful as riding the bike because salt and sweet cravings are like to murder to manage.      

So, until the coronavirus outbreak, I had been going to the gym EVERY DAY and giving up sweets and limiting snacks.  I was able to work up from level 5 to level 16 on the bike, the highest level.  I had reached my goal and surpassed it by two pounds.  But staying at this new weight will be challenging.  My gym is closed like other businesses in the United States.

Like many others who like to stay active, I'm trying to figure out how to exercise.  For now, I walk around the neighborhood for one to two hours a day.  Sometimes, I carry hand weights with me.  Then, I do a ballet barre at home by watching YouTube videos taught by ballerinas.  I do this routine every day.

Will these things help me stay in shape and keep my weight constant?  Who knows?  But when I feel doubtful, I remember my conversation with John, and it motivates me and fires up my can-do attitude.  If I was able to find the physical and mental strength to lose fifteen pounds, then I should be able to maintain my weight—even if the gym is closed.

Just like everyone else, I'm trying to live a normal life.  I'm trying to stay healthy, and for now, this will be one of the biggest challenges I will ever have to face.

✌ and