Thirty grams down, 15 kg to go …

On taking stock of what two years of Covid restrictions have done in my life, I conclude that I’m one of the lucky ones. Firstly, I haven’t yet had Covid-19 (though I shouldn’t say that too loudly, I don’t want to tempt fate) and secondly I didn’t have to miss going out to work as I’m retired and what work I do, I do from home anyway. On the other hand, there are two consequences that I’m not so happy about: the first is that I’ve become a social recluse, almost a hermit, and the second that I have gained at least 10 kilos. 

I’ve been muttering about my weight for a while, but my attempts to lose any were pretty half-hearted and my addiction to cheese triumphed over my willpower. A week or so ago, I responded to an ad that popped up on Facebook for Noom. Have any of you tried this? 

They have some pretty aggressive marketing which I tried to ignore, but finally I gave in when they offered me six months free on an annual subscription that – they say – can be cancelled any time. Immediately I was inundated with encouraging messages and e-mails, and an app that allows me to log almost every minute of my day one way or another. If Big Brother is interested in my antics, he will have no trouble whatsoever in tracking me down.

I haven’t actually learned anything I didn’t already know about nutrition and exercise, but I must say there’s no lack of positive feedback and encouragement from the second I wake up until the moment I tap “Finish the day”. And some tempting recipes – even though, as they are American, I’m not always sure what this or that ingredient is or how many grams of a certain item make up a cup. For instance, how many cups are two sticks of celery or five leaves of an iceberg lettuce? How heavy is an American slice of bacon? (Ours is cut very thin, 8 slices weigh 100g)

One of the things I signed up for was a “customized workout program” downloaded onto my computer. When I saw the photos, I laughed out loud. I can do all these things in my head, and certainly was physically capable of them 30 or 40 years ago, but can I do a plank, crunch or push-ups now? No way! I can’t jump or jog, let alone do power-walking or running, and as for some of the bending and stretching – let’s just say, my elastic has perished! No use saying “Just try, it will come with practice” – it won’t. If I sit or lie down on the floor, it’s a cardio session just getting up again. I can walk at a leisurely pace and I can swim, and that’s about it. 

However, what did impress me was that as soon as I informed Noom of my incapacity – I am, after all, now 81 years old and pretty well spherical – they instantly refunded the cost of that workout sheet. Somewhere on the Internet I saw some exercises you can do on or with a chair so maybe I’ll give those a try. 

“Stand on one leg while you’re cleaning your teeth,” I’ve been told. 

OK, as long as I can hold onto the washbasin with the other hand, but I’m wobbly even then. 

“Walk up and down stairs without using the handrail,” is another one that isn’t as easy as it sounds. I’ve tripped UP the stairs in my house a couple of times, and am not eager to fall DOWN them, seeing as they are stone.

Well, I can still do most of my housework unaided, including cleaning the windows, emptying the dishwasher and hanging up my washing, so I reckon that will have to count as a workout for me. And walking to the shops with my little trolley gives me a couple of thousand steps, as does going to my local park to watch the squirrels and ducks. I just need to get over that Covid-induced reluctance to step over the threshold into public space … 

21 thoughts on “Thirty grams down, 15 kg to go …

  1. My thoughts: Do what you can consistently and watch your diet. We should all do what our bodies allow, avoiding the state of becoing a potato. Stick-to-it-tiveness is the key. I’m sure the beauty of nature in your neck of the woods is an enticement to get outside, to move, and breath.

    • You are 100% correct – I have no intention of pulling any muscles or trapping any nerves in an attempt to twist and contort any part of my body into a shape unnatural to it! I’m sitting in my garden, looking at the mountains bathed in sunshine, with blue skies and birdsong, doing my breathing exercises … bliss!

  2. I’m not sure if you can get U tube exercise shows there, but I started doing sitting down ones for 10 minutes….then slowly worked up to longer. Then found a series of both seated and standing exercises for the Over 50’s. I’m very over 50 at 85. My apartment has a pool, so now in summer I go about 6pm and do an hour of exercises both standing, walking, and swimming in the pool. During Covid I bought a mostly plastic stationary easy to ride bike for while watching TV. So, I have at least postponed for several years now having a once very needed knee replacement. I went on the low carb diet and lost 35 pounds pretty quickly, because I love green vegetables and meat and eggs and cheese. There are some good casseroles with chicken or ham and broccoli and cheese. I don’t think the precise measurements are critical. During the last two weeks of celebrating my 85th birthday with family and friends, I have regained between five and seven pounds, so will cut back on all those delicious pastas and desserts for a while again. Sigh. The bike is a challenge, because I can do thirty minutes not watching TV, but it’s boring so I watch and ride. But when the TV shows get ominous, I forget to pedal! So, I pedal off and on for a couple of hours when I can’t swim! I lost the weight too fast, so for each pound I got a wrinkle in my face! Just a friendly warning if you get motivated. I discovered during Covid that my friends did very well without me. I had been the one always getting everyone together. Decided to focus on writing instead of entertaining or gathering people. I just keep up with one or two friends now and see family more. Covid really challenged us and changed so much. I even watch my church services on my computer mostly. Hope you find new ways to meet new needs. It’s kind of hard at first, but it can make a positive difference.

  3. At 81 too, am blessed with not liking sugary or sweet things. And am of a constant weight. I like walking and doing the dishes. Why anyone would want to hop or stand on one leg baffles me.
    I went to the cinema and was so surprised how many go there now to eat. They load up and one sees those masticating jaws on the left and on the right. There is smell of egg or something going off.

  4. A friend of mine tried to program and paid extra for a tailored exercise plan. I don’t know how tailored it was because it actually was more suitable for someone in their 20s not in their 70s. I sign up once or twice a year for three month stints with WW. The program works well for me and I generally get it for $18 a month. It’s enough to keep me focussed and encouraged. Good luck it’s not easy.

    • I am very mistrustful of all such programs – but willing to have a go with this one. I did WW about 40 years ago, and it worked up to a point, and had success with Slimming World in the UK about 8 years ago, but the pounds do creep back on again! I was pretty fit until Covid confined me to my own four walls, and have prpobabky been eating too many carbs from sheer boredom! I know where the remedy lies – just need discipline!

  5. I have seen all the Noom ads, too, and wondered if it would help me but you painted a clear picture for me and I will stop wondering. I am 72, plump, and frankly a little lazy when it comes to physical exercise. However, I do yoga poses every morning and can get up and down from the floor quite easily – so I guess I’ll keep doing those. It sounds like you are in pretty good shape and that you actually do quite a lot. I think COVID has affected all of us in one way or another – mostly negatively. Perhaps you are right – just being brave enough to venture out may be just what you need.
    Go, YOU! 🙂

    • I think for me, the upside of Noom is that it nags me constantly on my phone. I have to keep logging food and exercise, and it tells me how many calories I’ve consumed and burnt. I know all these things in my head, but am normally too lazy to keep track. It also does all kinds of calculations, and I discovered today that users can add foods by brands – and there must be other Swiss users because I found some of our Coop products already listed. So that’s all helpful for me. I find it similar in a way to the British Slimming World plan.

  6. I have never heard of noom!!! I’m probably living in the dark ages!!
    I do an excise class with a physiotherapist. I’ve been doing it for a few years and started because I was having back issues. It’s particularly good because everyone in the class has their own issues and she’s very focused on only doing what fits for you. For certain exercises she’s makes particular participants (including me sit on a chair).
    Due to Covid restrictions the class was no longer able to take place. So she started doing it online. It wasn’t as good as it was harder to see what each of us was doing, but she gave it her best shot.
    Now we’re back ‘in the room’. Everyone tests first to try and keep each other safe, as you might imagine a few participants are rather vulnerable. Through the Covid experience she realized she can optimize the class by doing little videos of individual exercises so we can practice them at home.

    I have become somewhat of a recluse as well and it’s strange readjusting isn’t it? Though there’s talk here of things getting much worse again in the autumn and us all becoming recluses once again.

  7. I lost over 12 pounds during the 6 months I used Noom! Like you, I didn’t really learn much new. I did, however, pick up a few good substitutions. After a while I got rather annoyed with the rah, rah encouragement. I’m a self motivator. I think the single most useful thing for me was their meal tracking app. Now, that is the good news. I lost that weight the first year of COVID. That must have been 2020? I kept it off until early this spring. I’m sorry to say I’ve put most of it right back on, mainly because I’ve grown lazy and I’m not tracking meals anymore. My bad.

    About exercise. A friend of mine who had some foot issues had grown truly enormous. It hurt me to look at her because I could see in her eyes how badly she felt. But she had a reason why she couldn’t do any physical activity anyone suggested. Finally she grew desperate enough to go one of the local hospitals that has a weight clinic where she got nutrition counseling AND an onsite exercise program. This woman who couldn’t ride a stationary bike because it hurt her feet, started with this group exercise, where I suspect most others were in the same condition as she was. They started small and with music. At first sitting in chairs and just raising their arms and legs to the backdrop of music. Eventually that morphed in Zumba, which she loves. In about nine months, she lost SOOO much weight and looked so good! Her eyes were sparkling again and she’s very careful about how she eats. (She sort of eats as if she’d had gastric bypass, which she has NOT had. But tiny amounts of food at a time.)

    They say as we age that balance is a crucial aspect to preventing debilitating falls. Also, a physical therapist once told me that balance is the easiest thing to regain. I think this single-footed stuff is really good. Start small. Always have something to grab, the wall, a counter, a doorway. Stand on one foot for as long as you can. Then increase those times by a count of two. As you gain confidence you can lift your unweighted foot up in a march pose, then bend over and try to elevate that leg behind you in a swan pose. Just itty bitty steps. (Always equal reps on each side) You’re determined and disciplined enough, I’m sure you could do this and in the long run it would be very beneficial.

    Good luck with Noom. That is the only weight loss program or diet I have ever used. I was impressed by it.

    • Thanks for that, Linda. Very encouraging! I know what you mean about the rah-rah stuff – I just put that down to it being American (sorry, no offence intended, but you do tend to exaggerate a bit sometimes over there, with cheerleaders etc.!) Anyway, one kilo gone already!

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