I’ve been hearing a lot about the whole COVID 15 thing, which is not about the virus itself, but about the weight gain that a lot of people are having during the slowdown. I think summer has helped a lot. My own COVID 15 story has to do with a loss of 15+ pounds which is a sustained loss on the calendar year so far. A few things have contributed to that and have really saved my bacon when it comes to living healthily in this disrupted season.
March 15th was our last day of cross country skiing this year. That’s when the conditions in our area started getting bad. There’s usually a gap between when skiing ends and when canoeing starts, depending where we’re living. If you’re living in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, you can go skiing in the morning and paddling in the afternoon. If you like you can paddle all year if you can handle the temperature. Around here where we are right now in the East Kootenays of British Columbia, there’s a bit of a gap.
So we decided that during that gap, when you can neither cross country ski nor canoe, we would do our annual metabolism reset, which is a fairly strict liver cleanse. You have basically a smoothie for breakfast, a smoothie for lunch, and a fairly regular dinner with fairly careful guidelines for protein and carbs and that kind of stuff. The first little bit can feel pretty rough, but it’s usually a great month.
You usually do drop some weight, though that’s not the intent of it. The intent is really to get that liver functioning the way it really ought to function optimally, because the liver is kind of like the storage of your extra fuel and it can take on some fuel and then burn some fuel. It really does it quite easily unless you are overloaded, unless you move into the fatty liver zone.
So we did that and then carried on as we entered our canoeing season. We canoe regularly though we didn’t get any big trips in this year. Our biggest trip really was a paddle around the lake, that was about a five hour paddle in one block. Most of our paddles are 30, 60, or 90 minutes and often first thing in the morning.
We do a walk in our neighborhood, often in the morning, but sometimes both morning and evening. The walk is about a 20 minute walk and one’s just a 10 minute walk, depending on how much time we have. We also do hiking, which we’ve done a few times this year. Some are little tiny ones and a couple of more major, multi-hour, half day ones, but again, not ridiculous amounts of working out.
And since that metabolism reset my weight has continued to decrease and I’ve continued to feel better. I think because of that part of what’s saving me from going the other way, the plus 15, has to do with some basic guidelines we’ve implemented probably 90% of the time. My breakfast is a smoothie, a smoothie that my wife makes the night before. I don’t even know all of what she puts in her little concoction but it does the job and carries me through the morning.
Occasionally coming back from a paddle there’s little coffee shop that opens here right at 8:00am. I wish they opened at 7:30am, but if we’re coming off our paddle just before 8:00am, we’ll go there, have a little wrap and split a ginger kombucha. It’s just kind of our routine. That’s a little bit light for breakfast, but that’ll get me through ’til noon as well. So breakfasts are pretty predictable.
For my lunches, 90% of the time I make some egg salad. I get a few pieces of romaine lettuce and use those as the wrap. I put it in the egg salad to put on some Smack Dab Mustard, usually Chipotle-beer flavor and maybe some cheese. That is my lunch along with a coffee, and one or two, if I’m feeling extra hungry, of my wife’s power balls. They are her own little blend and our personal replacement for protein bars. It’s the thing we take when we’re hiking or canoeing for an extended time to snack on because it’s not overloaded with sugar like a lot of those store-bought protein bars are.
Then dinner is a pretty normal dinner, nothing ridiculous. There’s usually some protein, usually some carb and mountains of vegetables. I can’t believe how many vegetables we eat these days. There’s always a plate of fresh vegetables and often a vegetable dish that she’ll do something with on the stove, so a higher ratio of vegetables than I think historically I would have eaten in the past.
On Fridays is what we call my happy meal, which is a meal where I can cook and eat whatever I like. If there’s going to be hot dogs, that’s when there’s going to be hot dogs. If there’s going to be sweet and sour barbecue ribs or ice cream or something like that, it’s on Friday night. Popcorn is on Friday night, too. We used to have popcorn most nights of the week, and we decided that was too much. So that’s all restricted to Friday night.
The net effect of this is stringent, thought satisfying meal plan, a simple meal plan that actually saves a lot of time and this sustained weight drop, even in this broken routine of COVID-19.
The other thing I think that’s helping us is we are definitely eating out less. Not that we eat out lots. I’d say breakfasts I would probably do one or two a week normally, as well as a couple lunch meetings, and out for dinner as a couple, maybe every week or probably a couple of times a month on average. That all adds up, as well as traveling when we often grab something at Tim Horton’s on the way.
So basically that’s what I’ve been doing during this time and it’s been really helpful. To me it’s not about excessive exercise. My goal has been for years to get in the place where I’m sustainably losing weight without excessive exercise, and I’m now at that stage.
I know that when I start doing weight training, I’ll get an initial boost up in weight. That’s typically what happens when I start doing weights, I bulk up pretty quick. Then the drop really starts because there’s more muscle mass to burn the weight. I’m at that stage. I think I’ve got it pinned as far as stable or declining weight just based on diet, and now we can add some other things. So that’s what we’re doing.
I hope you got some ideas in there that’ll help you out. I really can’t say enough about smoothies for breakfast. They really get a lot of nutrients in early and if they’re done right, they carry you through to lunch. I’d really look into that, as well as snacking for me. It’s the after dinner snacking is probably the one thing that has made the difference. When dinner’s done, I’m done. There’s no snacking except on happy meal night when I’m going to have some popcorn or ice cream after dinner.
Wisdom to you as you seek to live a healthy, sustainable, focused life and ministry in these days and beyond.
God bless, press on.