WEST FORK KICKAPOO - After complimenting a friend on how slim she looked in a recent picture, I received an email back, informing me that the picture I’d commented on was from the last holiday season and since then she has gained weight.
With my cheeks on fire, I speedily replied: “Oh-oh, sorry. But there is solace in numbers: we all have!” And then I wrote: “This too shall pass—my four favorite words.”
People talking about their weight grumble about the ‘Pandemic 10;’ some are even wrestling with the ‘Pandemic 15,’ or ‘20-plus.’ As always, there are the ‘better than thou’ folks, who cheerfully proclaim that their weight hasn’t changed in years. And to them we say, “Good for you,” or “Up yours,” depending on our level of friendship or mood at the time.
There seems to be no middle ground on the issue of weight for the year 2020, the year that will stick in our heads like gum in our hair. Either you’re an essential worker who is working and worrying like a mad person; you’re retired and not much has changed; or you’re one of the frustrated nonessential workers, who can no longer work safely and often cry themselves to sleep.
For people who tend to stress-eat, all three categories spell trouble. And if you’re one of the many people who find themselves either laid off or working at home, you’re just that much closer to your refrigerator and kitchen cupboards.
Add into the mix the fact that for safety reasons your favorite exercise class is on hold and your gym is closed. And that’s not all: for some people, not going to work means not being as active. With winter here, the threat of slipping on ice or disappearing into a snow drift can be a deterrent to outdoor walking, making that scale move clockwise, when you’re dreaming counterclockwise.
Inactivity often accompanies depression, which for many has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Nobody wants to qualify for the 2020 couch surfing Olympics, but it can feel like you’re a contender. You’re not alone.
The only person I know who has lost weight during pandemic time is a friend’s husband. Investigating this anomaly, I discovered he used to dine out a lot. To which I replied, “I must not have.”
It’s been interesting to hear that while people's wallets are growing thicker from not going out, so are their waists. Who doesn’t like buttered popcorn while watching movies from the comfort of your couch?
If you’re thinking you can detect a weight increase by how the waist of your jeans fits, think again. Most people I know haven't worn their jeans during the pandemic. They’ve opted for pajama bottoms with a significant circumference of elastic around the waist. So comfy!
This is mostly the ladies. It seems men are still opposed to elastic waistbands. They’d rather step into their jeans while standing, pull them up, suck it in, and look like a blowfish about to put out a fire as they attempt to zip up. Not comfy.
Pro tip: If you wear your PJ bottoms for a week without washing, they will be as loose and baggy as the skin on an elephant's legs. (Some of you are nodding yes, others moaning Noooo!)
For the time being, strutting around with my jammie pants hitched up to my armpits to keep them from sliding off feels pandemic perfect. Because in the end, this too shall pass.
Jane is now offering daily zoom exercise classes. For more information go firstname.lastname@example.org