6 Easy Ways to Lose the Dreaded 'Quarantine 15'
The first question you hear everyone ask right now is: "How did Adele lose all that weight?" The second question you hear is: "Who cares? Big Adele was beautiful, too!"
Yes, it is back: the great body-image debate. What in the name of Lizzo and Billie Eilish is going on here? We aren't supposed to be this fascinated by such matters in 2020, but when Adele threw down a Thinstagram birthday post like a Kansas City Chiefs end zone celebration recently it took over Twitter and reminded us that the whole topic is not ever going away. "People Can't Stop Talking About Adele's Body," read a Glamour headline. Chrissy Teigen's reaction to her was simply: "I mean are you kidding me." Many people are outraged about the fuss.
Hello! I think we can have it both ways. We can make everyone feel beautiful about themselves without body shaming. We have made great progress there, raising a new generation to appreciate people of all shapes and sizes. But we also can be loud and proud in our support of those who have weight-loss goals, or any kind of positive ambition. Yes, we can get all excited about dropping pounds, about scales. Adele's post received more than 10 million likes, and I was one of those hearts, even googling The Sirtfood Diet to find out exactly how red wine, dark chocolate and coffee are supposed to help a superstar singer lose around 100 big ones.
My own weight-loss journey is underway, and for me the birthday post by Adele was just a little more inspiration. You have to keep it going every day, every way. I don't have a personal trainer like her, but I have a similar objective. She has been losing weight to be healthier, especially to take care of her voice, and also for post-divorce mode. I had a physical shortly before quarantine life began and it started with "We need to get your sugars down." That was all I needed to hear, and maybe for you it's the Quarantine 15 that someone put on thanks to all that home cooking. So here we go:
1. Set a big, scary, improbable goal
This is true no matter what your aspirations in life. I have run 17 marathons or ultras and over 150 races overall, and I have learned the importance of signing up for another scary race as soon as possible after a medal is placed around your neck.
In early 2019, I had a laminectomy procedure on my lower back. It took a long time to rehab and recover from that and start feeling like myself. I finally resumed running 5Ks this February and began a gym membership. My goal was to lose 40 pounds, and as of this writing I am 18 down with 22 to go. Those numbers wobble every now and then, but we're in the right direction. My goal is big change, to be a lighter human, and it started right after that physical.
2. Exercise any way and anywhere you can
Running, biking, elliptical, swimming and rowing became my cardio go-tos, and I was feeling comfortable in the free weights side of the gym. I ran a couple of 5Ks in St. Pete, and gradually I ran a little more and walked a little less. The great marathoner Bill Rodgers once gave me this advice when I interviewed him as a sportswriter: "Walk, run, walk, run -- it doesn't matter how fast you go." Push yourself and see what's possible.
Then the world closed. My own level of disappointment was in perspective because people were suffering all over. But still, it was a crusher. I was in immediate withdrawals, searching online for used gym equipment, which was like looking for toilet paper. Finally, a friend who owns a Crossfit gym in Virginia told me to use bookbags. So I found a PVC pipe in my garage, put two bookbags on the ends of the pipe, and filled the bookbags with jugs of water. Voila.
Many of you are taking low-impact classes online. I prefer exercising outdoors. At least a few times a week, I bike laps on my Cannondale around the Tropicana Field parking lot and sweat in the upper 80s:
With no baseball there, it suddenly went from worst MLB ballpark to the best! The smooth pavement and modest hills made for great cardio, and I do curb pushups there. I am waiting like everyone else for the ritual of race signups to resume, doubtful that fall marathons will happen at all, but virtual races are in and just maintaining a base helps sheds pounds now.
3. Eating right is the best way to lose weight
That old maxim is absolutely right. You can go wild like Adele did with The Sirtfood Diet early fasting methodology, but my approach was not that radical. Still, pretty crazy, and I love it. Like Ellen DeGeneres and so many others, I use intermitting fasting, or at least a variation. "Eating right" is individual to each unique person, so this is just me.
Using the MyFitnessPal app at the start, I set a goal of about 1,700-1,800 calories and 140 grams of protein per day. A trainer told one of my family members that a good rule of thumb is:
'If you can try to get the required amount of protein and be under the daily calories along with exercise, the rest of it will work itself out.'
The protein will help build the muscles and decrease fat if you are combining protein with weights.
Here is my daily routine, with occasional cheats:
- 7 am: Two cups of coffee, with coconut cream.
- 8 am: One scoop of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Isolate, for whey protein. Mix with 7 ounces water in a shaker bottle. That starts me on my protein quest.
- 10 am: One hard-boiled egg and a Zevia Cola. Several years ago, I forever banned any sugary or "diet" drinks from my life. Zevia is my go-to, along with unsweetened teas and lots of water. Never touch anything with aspartame, which encourages the body to produce sugar.
- Noon: Sardines! Did I lose you here? Going back to that Bill Rodgers interview, he was speaking on a tour about the power of sardines for endurance athletes. I took his advice and have wolfed these down like an Omega-3 Orca my whole adult life. Trader Joe's Wild Caught Skinless & Boneless Sardines in Olive Oil are the bomb, and King Oscar is good for newbies who want tinier fish. It's my tradition with our English Bulldog, who licks the can.
4. What's Up Supplement
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I am just starting to use Havasu Nutrition Beet Root Powder+, for better athletic endurance and improved recovery times. I have leaned on GU gels ever since I started running over 13 years ago, at least for runs of at least five miles, and I take a multivitamin every day. Many people I know swear by Havasu Nutrition L-Arginine Extra Strength capsules to improve overall performance, so that is something to think about as well. I wish Peloton was a supplement.
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5. Gear up
New gear is always a great motivator. I have been an ASICS Ambassador in the past, and I went back to my favorite brand of running shoe during the lockdown.
Our local Fit2Run store has been closed, but they open it by appointment so you can sit on their porch, try on shoes, and hand over a credit card mask to mask. The new GEL-Nimbus 22s are super cushiony and they made me want to go for a run. Soon enough I will need more stuff because I have lost sizes.
6. The Roar of the Crowd
I can't replicate two million spectators at the NYC Marathon, but I can run a 5K here in St. Pete and then tweet a pic of my Garmin to my running friends. As long as you also like and comment on the ones they post, it is a group hug that matters a lot when you are doing something crazy.
We can't all pop up with a Thinstagram post in an LBG or a new suit and turn Twitter upside down over the subject of weight loss. We can't all end our post with a mic drop of "2020 ok bye thanks x." But we can still find inspiration in the support of others.