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Pretend you are going to work
Working from home means that I have easier access to the refrigerator and the cabinets where I store my food. Living with obesity, this is something I must be cautious of Therefore, I try to have fruits and nuts available, so I don’t make unwise decisions and I try to eat at the same time each day to avoid unnecessary snacking. But I must admit that this is a challenge for me, and I do tend to snack a little more than normal. Although this is a problem, it is not the worst thing for me during this lockdown.
The most difficult part
For me one of the most difficult things is not being able to go to the local gym and going for powerwalks. Right now, I can’t go to the gym and that’s bad for my health because I am losing strength and it also affects my mood. I was in a good period of regular workouts at the gym and I know it will be a challenge to get back to that when I am allowed go to the local gym again. I can do some exercises at home, but I love being at my local gym together with other people, so I am looking forward to getting back.
Connect online – and surprise your friends
Another thing I miss is visiting friends and family. I haven’t seen my ten-year-old son for some time, and it seems that it may be longer before I can see him again. That’s tough, very tough. But we get by, by talking on the phone, skyping and texting. I haven’t seen any other family and friends since the lockdown began, but we stay in touch over the phone. To help dealing with that deprivation, I have baked for some friends, and then just left the cakes on the doorstep for them. For me that has been a way to deal with the fact that I miss being around them. So, one of the first things I will do after the lockdown is to visit friends and family.
Stay emotionally stable
Having lived with obesity for more than three decades, I know that I have to be careful to stay emotionally stable because I have a tendency to be an emotional eater which is a problem when I experience more frequent swings in emotions. To cope with that, I try to find new routines that make me happy and make me focus on other things than those I can’t do anything about. For example, during lockdown, I try to focus on my sleep habits which, due to sleep apnoea, weren't that good before. Therefore, I have made some new routines that seem to help me. Every morning my alarm clock rings at 7am – later than normal but still at the same time every day. I open the windows in my bedroom for a couple of hours to vent the room efficiently. In the evening I eat just enough to feel full and then I go to bed when I am tired and not at any specific time. Now I sleep almost one hour more every night and that’s perfect. Yes, I know, I should have done that a long time ago, but the lockdown made me do it now.
The new normal – and virtual hugs
It’s a little interesting that a lockdown like this seems to be the new normal. Initially, I struggled to adapt, but now I act in new ways and it comes easily. Out shopping during the first week, customers seemed stressed and some even mildly panicking. Today it is natural for me to wash my hands at the supermarket, not stand close to others when standing in line, take precautions not to cough or to sneeze close to other people. That somehow was easier to adapt than I thought it would be. This is something that we should all maintain after lockdown.
In general, I think we need to help one another, especially if we know someone who is struggling with the lack of social engagements. But during the lockdown, it’s even more important to think of those who could need a virtual hug and some encouragement. Living with obesity can – without the lockdown – be socially challenging and now there is a risk, that it will be even more socially challenging. Therefore, I think it’s important that we stay in touch with each other, helping each other come through this crisis.
Together we are stronger
Social media is in that way kind of inspiring for me and one of the ideas I saw just last night, was some friends of mine doing a home workout together on Skype. I think it was a brilliant idea and absolutely possible to copy for anyone. Why not arrange Skype-get-togethers where you can talk, laugh and have fun. Or perhaps have a cup of coffee, watch a movie or read a book together. Taking care of each other also during the lockdown is an important thing.
Looking into everything happening right now with the coronavirus it seems like we are appreciating being together much more than we have done for a long time. From balcony sing-togethers, to applauding healthcare professionals, to Skype-exercises and much more we are now treasuring being together and that’s brilliant. I hope we can continue that.
My hope for all out there and especially for you living with obesity like me is that you do whatever you can to eat healthily, do some workouts at home and socialise with friends and family on social media. Then we will get by until everything is back to normal conditions after the coronavirus.
Together we are stronger.