It’s no surprise that most of us have gained a little covid weight since the pandemic started. The routine of biking to work, going to the gym, or playing any kind of organized sports has been severely disrupted in the last year, and everyone’s waistline has paid a bit of a price. Mine was no exception, and between March and the end of two thousand and twenty, I had easily gained twenty pounds, which is exactly the same as four bags of potatoes.
I went from a slightly over-weight 185lbs. to an uncomfortable 206lbs. After doing two and a half years of school, working a part time job and a terrible habit of eating badly for most of my meals, I had finally topped two hundred pounds and continued to get heavier. It’s been the most I’ve tipped the scales at any point of my life. After gorging myself with therapy snacks over the Christmas break, I told myself that enough was enough, and I was going to get my weight back under control, and get back into some pants I had not been able to wear for well over a decade.
To preface this story, my weight has been slowly creeping up, ever so slowly, ever since I’ve been about twenty. Putting on maybe half a pound a year. 20 year old Mr. Charlton weighed in at 155 pounds, which at 5’11” is right on the lower end of ‘regular weight’ for someone my height. At 205, that was one point away from being obese. I went from being a skinny in-shape guy, straight to being not just overweight, but actually on the tipping point of a dangerous size.
Now, I understand that not everyone falls under this BMI umbrella, I’m well aware of the various somatotypes, and I get that for some people, being 5’11” and 205 lbs. is not a big deal. For me, it was a big deal. I wasn’t working out in any capability. I was eating too much. I sat down for most of the day. It wasn’t just my weight that was an issue, it was my entire lifestyle. I turn 38 this year, and I’ll be goddamned if I’m going into my forties as someone who doesn’t love how they feel. At the beginning of the year, I decided to do something about it and began my journey to a happier and healthier body. And I fuckin’ dropped close to 40lbs. in the span of three months.
So how on earth did I do it?
I started intermittent fasting, only eating my meals between 4:00pm and 10:00pm. While doing that, I also increased my probiotics through fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi. I started walking a lot more, walking up to 16 kms in a day with my mom when we had the chance. I asked my workplace if I could work form the office instead of home, and started first walking there every morning, and then graduating to biking there instead. And about three weeks ago, I took the plunge into beginning a workout routine again, first thing in the morning. On my way to work, after getting my heart rate up on the bicycle, I would stop off at an elementary school and do a body-weight workout on the monkey bars. The first four months of the year I’ve been slimming down, and at the beginning of May, I’m going to turn it around, change my diet to include a post workout meal, and try bulking up a bit.
Words can’t describe how much better I feel, but fuck, I am writing things down on a blog, so let me just try and paint a picture for you. I have more energy, I have no trouble getting up in the morning at 6:00am, walking up the stairs no longer winds me, I’m not as hungry as I was before, I have a lot less stress in my life, I’m certain my blood pressure is down, my mental health has improved, I drink more water, I drink less alcohol and coffee, I get excited to go work out, my face is slimmer, my legs don’t rub together anymore and chafe, I can stretch easier, I sleep better, it’s no longer painful to throw my arm around my wife when I sleep, and I generally look more attractive.
The downsides are there too. I can’t eat nearly as much cake as I used to, I find Cheezies a little too salty now, packaged ramen no longer holds any appeal, I’m a lightweight when it comes to booze, eating too much makes me feel way worse, coffee gives me the jitters now, most of my pants are falling off me, I might have to buy a new belt, and I can no longer play my stomach like a bongo.
I’m not trying to fat shame people, and I’m not trying to make people feel guilty about any of the weight they may have gained over the pandemic. For me, I hit a tipping point. A point where I could no longer look and feel the way I did and continue to be happy. I’ve been talking about getting into shape since I was 23, and it only took fourteen years to actually get that on track. If you’re reading this, I want you to know that you can do it. It’s not easy, and it’s not fun in the beginning. But once you start to feel better, there’s no going back. I’m going straight into the fitness game this summer, boys and girls and others. I have no idea what a post-pandemic life will look like, but I can absolutely assure you that I’m going into it as shredded as I can possibly be, because right now there’s not a hell of a lot else to do.
The Illustrious Mr. Charlton
p.s. Yeah, it’s been a while. School’s done, life is a little more stable, and might as well get back into the swing of things by writing about my sorry self.
p.s.s. I do another update in three or four months. I want to see how quick I can get beefcakey.