COVID-19 Confusion & Dietary Deflection!

I haven’t smoked a cigarette all through the month of April. By quitting, I thought I was playing good COVID-19 defense. I believed that was the right thing to do. Right up until I read the stories about the smokers in China & France. Smokers are doing better than non-smokers! Apparently smokers are less likely to get COVID-19. When they do, they are less likely to develop serious symptoms. Even with serious symptoms, smokers are less likely to wind up in intensive care. I know, I know, smoking kills us in other ways. But still!

In France, the differences between the smoking & non-smoking populations prompted a study with a nicotine patch for COVID-19 patients and for front-line health workers. Just my totally uneducated guess here but I’m betting you actually have to puff on a cigarette or two every day to get the benefits! 🤪

One other huge negative to my quitting smoking is that, in lieu of sucking on cigarettes, I’ve continued to stuff all kinds of other stuff into my face! Okay, so it’s stuff like bread, cookies, candy, chips, ice-cream, & a whole host of food-like products that I would normally try to avoid like the plague! Speaking of the plague, let’s get back to the COVID-19 thing!

That was the deflection away from diet & weight-loss right there, did you notice!?! LOL

We’ve all had enough of the social isolation thing by now, right? What happens next? Look, nobody wants to transmit the disease to Grandma. Frankly, I don’t want to go out there & catch the damn thing myself. But we all want to get back out there, sometime soon. Some want out right now! Perhaps their jobs are in jeopardy. Their business might be going under. These are all valid reasons to want things to open up sooner. But the majority of folk still seem more concerned about catching the disease, or of spreading it to someone they love. Their preference is to keep things locked down for longer. Hey, right now, staying home is a very valid position too.

Regardless of our feelings on the matter, I think we’re edging closer to getting back out there. Even the more reluctant of us will likely be thinking this way sometime soon. Why?

Because we’re pretty predictable as a species. Once the burden of frustration exceeds the burden of fear, we’ll all start moving towards getting back out there. Some combination of things will reduce the fear factor. The people who caught it & survived will feel better about getting out there. If my grandma died already, I’m not really protecting anyone at home now. The odds are in favour of that younger person surviving it, they’ll want to escape sooner. What if my government wage subsidy ends in a few weeks time? Put enough good reasons in my basket & I’m suddenly far more motivated to get back out there too. As more & more of us shift across to that position, it will start to feel more like getting back to work is the right thing for some, perhaps many, of us to do. Since there are some braving the more aggressive approach already, any reason the rest of us shouldn’t just sit back & watch what happens for a bit?

Personally, I’m still more in the fearful & careful camp at the moment. But I recognize that this shift in attitude may already have started. There was a noticeable uptick in my day job activity this week. It just feels like people are starting to get used to this whole COVID-19 thing. Of it being a part of our lives now. You might even say it’s beginning to feel normal! Okay, it’s not quite like the regular old flu yet. But you can start to see how it might be one day. There is a shift towards this new normal. No violence, no protests, & no bullshit required, it will happen all of its own accord!

Peace, love & stay safe, y’all!

PS … I think that was a pretty good deflection away from my monthly weigh in, don’t you!?! More dietary self-deprecation & humiliation will follow. I’ll come clean on how bad this month really was, I promise. Just not now. Besides, I really could use a cigarette!

Breakfast with Bento – Coronavirus

Emergency food supply?

I have breakfast with Bento on occasion. He’s a font of dry wit & home-spun philosophy. Seasoned with an occasional outburst of passion on topics he feels strongly about. In moments of what might be fake humility, he claims to know nothing about anything. But I enjoy listening to his take on whatever the current news headline might be. His sometimes scathing assessments on political situations, gender wars & generational differences can bring me to tears. Usually of mirth!

This morning, the news was on in the diner. Bento had decided he wanted to eat out for breakfast before any lockdown might be implemented. On TV, a doctor was uncertain about, but continued to speak of, the hope for warmer weather tempering the coronavirus outbreak. Bento wondered why they ever let the bleeping bleeper escape with a medical degree! “Bleep, couldn’t the bleeper just look up the temperatures in Australia, Singapore & the Philippines?” I nearly choked on my toast at his summary. And while I grabbed my phone to check the temperatures & to see what the case counts were in those countries, Bento muttered that they were running around “that fella’s” golf resort with the virus too. “And what’s the temperature down that way? Isn’t that where all the snowbirds go for winter?” True enough that!

Bento was all on for a lockdown. Though we’re in an area that has yet to officially record a single case of the coronavirus, Bento is convinced we have them. And that we should be locking things down ahead of getting into a situation like Italy. “The horses have bolted over there,” he says, “and I hope they can round them up.” So what are you doing coming out for breakfast, Bento? “There you go!”, he waves his arms in the air. “Even sensible people do stupid things.”

“Some of us are just too stupid to be allowed to make our own decisions sometimes. Look what happens when we vote.” Bento wouldn’t be considered politically correct sometimes. “The Asians have a better handle on things. They do what they’re told. But not us. Oh, no! We like to be free to do what we like. Even if it’s stupid!” He went on a little rant about our healthcare system being overloaded already & that we had no chance if this thing was allowed to run rampant. He was loud now, & further encouraged by the grunts & nods of agreement from other customers within earshot. And that pretty much included everyone there. “We’ll be bleeped if they start rolling into emergency by the boatload!”

After he paused for a bit, I shared my thoughts on a lockdown. Maybe we should keep things open. To protect the economy perhaps. People need their jobs after all. And what about my retirement investments? “Ah for bleep’s sake, Paul, wouldn’t you be better off losing a few dollars & just surviving ’til retirement age.” I burst out laughing & nearly choked inhaling a piece of egg. Hard to argue that one!

As I picked up my cheque to leave, Bento shouts out that he expects that I’ll be wearing a hockey helmet & gloves next time he sees me. Now there’s a Canadian solution to remind us not to shake hands that just might work round here!

“No panic, Paul, but a little suffering can be good for the soul!”, was wrapped into his farewell comments.

“And quit smoking!”

I think I’ll go out & buy some toilet paper now! 🤪😁

It’s an ill wind …

A little milk-chocolate-chip banana bread with my butter!

It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good!

Now I’m of an age, a size, & a level of fitness that the coronavirus going viral causes me moments of anxiety. And I’m a smoker, so that’s another strike against me. But I’m generally pretty optimistic. At the moment, I’m looking for any sliver of a silver lining in this whole coronavirus thing. Say what!?!

Yeah, I know how terrible it is. I have older friends & family too. Indeed, I may be part of someone else’s “older friends & family” group! 🤪😁

Yes, I would really like it to just go away. But, sadly, that’s probably not going to happen. Is there anything positive to be taken from the situation?

Well, looking on the bright side, it might be an excuse to ignore my diet temporarily. In one such moment, I succumbed to the temptation of the comfort food in the pic above! However, I recovered my resolve a day later so I haven’t totally washed out the month.

Yet!

It might also be time to hunt through the sofa cushions for any spare change that might be put to work in a beaten down stock market. No!?! Yeah, you’re probably right, that might get a little worse before it gets better. But still, there is some long-term positivity potential there.

Another bright spot is that my day job requires me to travel. Sometimes at pretty short notice. But, & in rapidly increasing numbers, fewer people want me to visit them at the moment. I like visiting people but the bright side of not being able to means that I can now get some stuff done that I usually put off. There’s that minor foot procedure I’ve been putting off, for years, for example. Not having to travel means I don’t have to worry about it taking a few weeks to heal. Of course, I have to go to a medical establishment. Where there are people with potentially communicable diseases, so that’s a factor. Ferreting out those little silver linings can be challenging, eh!

It’s also a positive thing that I can go to my favourite big box store & not feel guilty about us having to go back for 2nd cart! Though I’m doing it now too, I’m not sure why we need so much toilet tissue. I know, I know, I’m such a sheep! What I’m not doing is buying antibacterial products. The coronavirus is a virus so I think good ole soap is probably the best virus killer. And I’m a little dubious about that 20 seconds being enough time for handwashing to work. Would you want your chef just doing the 20 second handwashing thing before continuing to plate your breakfast toast? No, me neither! I’ll stick to my 2 minute ritual, as an absolute minimum, thank you.

We can but pray that we, & all those we hold dear, will make it through this whole mess okay. First from the health perspective, but also from the financial point of view. I wish you all all the best for getting through it.

With my Saturday soccer matches cancelled, I’m going out shopping. Again. I’m kinda hoping I will make some diet-friendly decisions. And I’m committing to try to be patient if the lineups are long today. Might as well get a head start on practicing trying to spread some extra ripples of kindness. I’ll let you know how that goes!

Enjoy your weekend. And if you have any little points of positivity to add, please do pass them along.

Results … Month #14

Results … Month #14.
Oops!!!

I was going to lie my way through last month’s results, in the hope that I could correct things this month! But what would be the point of that? Sometimes, shit happens. And shit really happened, big time, this month!

I thought I had oodles of excuses but I really can’t come up with anything that justifies what I did. Other than I’m human. And, sometimes, humans suck when it comes to adherence. And I just couldn’t adhere to the plan I had in place for when I couldn’t adhere to a good weight-loss strategy.
What!?!
Yeah, there’s a strategy for eating bad stuff. For those times when you just have had enough of eating good stuff all the time. For those times when you just need to be wicked. But I couldn’t even do that.

August felt like the last-of-the-summer-fling kind of month. I was drinking beer, cider & wine. I was eating fish, flesh & foul. There were some green choices in there too, lots of plant based stuff. Unfortunately, too many that had their origins with grain & starchy veggies! I sampled some excellent desserts throughout the month too.
All in all, I probably ate more wheat during the past month, than I had in the past year. I ate more sugar in the past month, than I consumed in the six previous months. I definitely went on a potato binge.
And now, as I write this, I can’t believe that I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to squeeze in a slice or two of pizza along the way. Okay, now that I think on that one, I really should have wolfed back a whole pizza or two, eh!?!
OMG … I might have to continue this nasty streak into September!

The summary of August is this … I was out of control. And I have no idea why. I read all my little tips & tricks for such occurrences. And then totally ignored the advice they offered.

Again … why!?!

Could it be that I kinda quit smoking!!!

Almost half way through the month, one morning I awakened to a bright & beautiful sunny welcome. Leaves & plants were all more effusively green. Birds were twittering with an extra zest of joy. The air was somehow cleaner & sweeter. It was one of those days where you are just glad to be alive. And you feel more alive because of it all.
Have you felt that joy before? Do you know what I mean?
I thought I’d like to have more days like that & I decided it was time to quit smoking. Again. I immediately made up my mind that I’d finish my pack today, & try quitting the following day.

I did. And then I immediately wanted a cigarette. I wondered if I could treat smoking like diet? Despite my “all or nothing” approach to many things, I think abandoning the requirement for perfection made things more bearable for my weight loss efforts. And, up until this month, it generally seemed to work well as a dietary approach. I was “kinda” dieting & it was “kinda” working. Could I “kinda” quit smoking too?

I kinda am.
But it’s killing my diet!

Seems like I have to stuff something in my mouth, in lieu of cigarettes, & food is the go-to alternative. I could be screwed here.
I wonder if a pacifier would work!?! (Tried later, it doesn’t!)

I will always be a smoker. I may occasionally manage to not smoke for a while but I will always want to smoke. And I will probably go back to smoking again, somewhere along the way. As I have so many times in the past.
Or am I just making excuses to abandon my diet?
Or to just go buy a pack of cigarettes?

I’ll muddle along through September & see what happens. I deliberately avoided the scale on the first of the month … I just didn’t want to know what damage I had done last month … but I need to get my act together & decide what I’m doing now. If I were forced to choose only one, I think I feel better at a lighter weight, than I do as a non-smoker. I know, I know, both should be done but what if I could only choose one!?!

Pity this isn’t following some Hollywood script guidelines & I’d already be skinny, blissfully smoke-free & loving it, while also running marathons!!! 🙂

Results … Month #9

Results … Month #9

Results Month 9

I changed this month’s animated pic. Typically it would have proclaimed that I was “Down 32 lbs“, since I started the program. Instead, this month’s says that I “Gained 8 lbs“. I am keeping the Results post heading consistent but I didn’t want to hide the fact that this month’s efforts resulted in a pretty big weight gain. The first time that’s happened.

Of course, what I really wanted to do was scream out …

What a total loser! Or maybe it should be … What a total gainer!

What I said, after stepping on the scale this morning, was a tad worse. I won’t repeat it here. But you might be surprised to hear that I deliberately brought this all upon myself.

I had scheduled June for a bread test month. A couple of opportunities for some good bread eating turned up at the beginning of last month, so I flipped it to March. I have managed to work a lot of things back into my diet & I really wanted to see if I could integrate bread again. Why?

Because I love bread, of course!

For an entire month, I ate bread. Sometimes in controlled doses, at other times with abandon. And that wasn’t quite what my original intention was. It got so messy, so quickly, that I really haven’t learned anything new from what should have been a month of measured bread eating. I was so out of control that I was blaming eating bread for the slice of chocolate cake that followed. And for the bag of chips I scarfed while watching the big game on Saturday morning. For most of the month, bread was being blamed for everything. It was a total fiasco. I was, all at once, stressed, depressed, anxious & furious. And stuffed. It was all bread’s fault. It certainly wasn’t mine!

Was I anxious & depressed because I was eating all that bread? Or was it the anxiety that had me eating more bread than I intended? The whole month was so out of control that I didn’t know which came first … the chicken or the egg?

In fact, I didn’t care if it was the chicken or the egg, so long as they were between two slices of well-buttered bread!

Not only have I gained 8 lbs over the past month, but I’ve learned little to nothing from the experience. So I’ll have to do the bread month again. Properly this time. Just not anytime soon!

Now, a new month, a new start. It’s April. Maybe I’ll quit bread & smoking at the same time for the day that’s in it!?!

Happy Fool’s Day to all.

Unfortunately, I’m not foolin’ about the weight gain for March. It’s real.