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Lockdown Weight Gain

Wednesday, 13th May

What has weight gain got to do with homemaking you ask? Not much. But I'm going to write about it anyway.

I now have seven pairs of jeans which don't fit and this throws me back into jogging bottoms and 'lounge pants' terrain on a daily basis. Before you think I'm an environmental enemy, let me explain something. The reason I have so many pairs of jeans is that my weight has gone up and down so much since I had Grace. Some jeans are post-pregnancy, some are maternity but also work as comfy ones, some are post-breastfeeding-weight-loss.

Every time I've ever shed weight I've thought it would be for the last time, because it was so worth it. My weight-shedding strategies have mainly included anxiety, stress and breastfeeding, but they have improved my waistline despite the downsides. Each time I've thought never again. It is so worth it to be slimmer. I will always remember this when I'm tempted to overeat. But when I'm tempted to overeat now it never strikes me that it would be worth it to abstain and start to shed some weight. What strikes me, primarily, is how delicious the calories will be and how they will give me a rush of endorphins.

So here I am, having let my weight fluctuate in the upward direction again. And we're in lockdown. Lest you think that I'm minimising the awful reality of lockdown, let me just say I'm not. But you can only write what you know. And what I know, right now, is how miserable I feel at not being able to get into my clothes and feeling dumpy. So this is what I'm going to write about today. Because I have a battle plan.

My battle plan is to cycle or run every morning while Michael takes the kids. When I say run, I mean a walk with some light jogging thrown in. Now, the interesting thing is that I used to enjoy this time alone in the early mornings. The trees were a bright green, the birds were happy, and I even knew the point where the sun rose just between a cluster of huge trees and made them all shine with its light. I was happy.

Enter: the Apple Watch. I bought this primarily to listen to podcasts and music when I was moving about the house doing menial tasks. When it arrived, however, I realised it didn't play like that without headphones. So I mostly use it as a handy remote control to turn the volume up or down on my nearby phone now. And instead of an audio device, I'm using it to chart my exercise progress. It counts my steps, my calories, my heartbeat. It's potentially quite the motivational tool.

But now what happens when I'm out on my bike or walk? I think I wonder how many calories I've burned and if this exercise session is over soon. I don't revel in the wonder of nature. I don't enjoy the feeling of the trees above me. I'm waiting for the beep on my watch to tell me I've hit the halfway point.

Worse, when I get in after a bike ride I've actually enjoyed, I'm outraged to discover that I've only burnt 39 calories in 30 minutes. Is that even a digestive biscuit?

This morning, the watch reached new levels of annoyance and intrusion. As I was walking out of the house, albeit a little later than usual, for my 'jog',and pleased with myself that I'd made it out, it beeped to tell me that I'd normally have 'closed my movement circle' more by now. Then it told me, in a rather patronising tone to, 'try to find the time to do some activity today'. Ugh! Told off by an inanimate device, which even addresses me by name. It reminds me of the time I had a Sat Nav where the voice sounded audibly peeved when I took a wrong turn and the 'lady' would tell me, in a South African accent, to do a U-turn. I switched it to a lovely, laidback Irish man, in the end, whose tone told me nothing was a problem and had infinite patience. As a friend said, you could practically hear him telling you to look at the cows in the fields.

So now I'm tempted to leave the watch at home for my morning walks, despite my Battle Plan of daily exercise to combat the weight gain. Then it can tell me off as much as it likes, because he who laughs last laughs loudest, since I will be out of the house and far away, laughing at its ineffective reprisals.

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