A waist is a terrible thing to mind

Says it all, for the pandemic one-year anniversary: 

B., to whom I sent this, graciously replied that my jeans would stretch. I did the old high school recline-and-exhale move; I got them zipped but could not sit up. These are new jeans (now past a return date), and dammit, I had bought two pairs! 

Susan said, "Stick them in the back of your closet for when you lose weight", but I don't do that. My weight has remained stable since the pandemic began, so I suspect this shift is loss of muscle mass, probably due to quitting weight training when my gym closed for good last March.

Le Duc biked the jeans to a donation centre while I did three things:

1. Took out a tape measure: same bust and hip measurements I've had for years; waist, one and a half inches more.

2. Reunited with my copy of the e-book "How to Watch TV and Get Fit", a little gem that trimmed inches off in winter of 2017. "Watch TV" in the title only means that you can chunk the exercises into four or five-minute segments if you wish; I did a fifteen or twenty minute routine three to four times a week, in addition to my usual walking or cycling.

3. Looked for strength training/no weights required videos on YouTube and bookmarked a batch. I have a resistance band, but otherwise will use my own body weight.  

This is not wholly about vanity; muscle mass is essential to maintaining strength, stamina, balance and metabolism. Building muscle also boosts bone density and reduces risk of osteoporosis. (Source, which provides some cool info.)

I should have kept a pair of the jeans to see if they'd fit after a couple of months, but there's always the tape.

Has anyone else had similar body shifts? We hear a great deal about pandemic weight gain—I'm wondering about other fitness wobbles as well. 


Jane M. said…
Yes, over the past year keeping up with exercise has been a challenge. I've set up a home routine for myself which includes video on YouTube and Zoom plus an elliptical rider at least 3 times a week. Sometimes I get bored with my program so I change it up a bit or just give myself a day off. Darn ice cream keeps showing up in my freezer! It's the only way I can keep my weight where I want it to be. Soon we'll be fully vaccinated and outdoors will be calling. Hurray!
Laura J said…
My sister and I were discussing body shifts only yesterday. One morning you wake up and ...wow...when did that change happen!!??
Weekly pilates, ballet and daily dog walks help keep me mobile and somewhat cheerful but it’s a hard slog some days. We’ve had another blast of winter here and I am so not wanting to walk and be cold.
Good luck with your exercises.

Jane: my downfall is bread and our farmers’ market has many tempting items, too many!
Ms. Liz said…
I have set up a routine for myself in order to keep somewhat fit. 10 minutes of Yoga every morning (Yoga with Kassandra YouTube - doing her morning challenge - 3rd time through), "Live" Pilates class once per week on Instagram courtesy of my locked down fitness club, plus some low impact weight training routines I have discovered through various sources. (British Vogue Workout Wednesday's on Instagram - they have posted snippets of routines to try.). And I have been walking as much as I can especially if we have a nice sunny day. I purchased a small set of weights from Amazon and they have been really helpful when working with some of the low impact routines.

I was losing muscle as well as I could not go to the my fitness club which has been part of my morning routine in retirement. I have osteoporosis so that has been motivating me to keep going with some sort of fitness routine at home. I am doing lots of planks - they help keep my middle section strong and hopefully trimmed down.
LauraH said…
Not sure if anything has shifted on my body, I'm still working on dropping the pounds I put on last spring and summer. It's very slow but getting there.

Luckily my pilates instructor/guru switched to Zoom so I do three classes a week with mat work and therabands substituting for the machines. Seems to work pretty well. I try to walk most days although chronic pain and tightness prevent me from doing so with the vigour I would like.

Spring is definitely on the way here so that's very encouraging!
LauraH said…
BTW... love your post title:-_
Tom said…
I too appreciate the title! It's easy for me to talk since I've never had a waist at all and have long worn elastic waist pants (preferably the older Eileen Fishers with a wide waistband). I know you hate stretchy waistbands. Even my daughter--who does have a waist--brings her non-stretchy pants to the nice old fellow at Dat's Tailoring in New Orleans and has him insert a small elastic piece on each side. Makes things more comfy.

I think you are too hard on yourself.

I am not walking as much as usual since I've been working remotely. Strangely though, I've lost quite a bit of weight. e
royleen said…
Unexplained weight loss led me to discover a serious health issue last year. Now I am trying to gain weight, preferably muscle mass. I have noticed that my waist is the first place the weight goes! My exercise program has to be slow and steady. This is all new to me. Thanks for sharing; it is good to know I am not alone in the uneven weight gain.
Lia said…
Try Essentrics for building back strength and muscle. They have a streaming service that is quite reasonably priced. It's also fun.
Ditto Lia!
Essentrics-- & I don't work for them-- cured me of chronic sports injuries in 23 minutes a day, and though it's not my particular problem, I've heard from others that it also works to lose a pants size without eating less.
Allison said…
Oh gosh yes Essentrics! Miranda Edmond-White is a fellow Montréaler! Almost every PBS channel has her on at 6 or 6:30 am ( if you PVR her I won’t tell, not a morning person myself) she has tons of free stuff on YouTube as well and you can order her DVD’s if streaming and monthly membership doesn’t appeal. Also consider YouTube-ing some Barre classes especially the original Lotte Berk barre. There is a woman in the USA a Renee McLaughlin who is bringing back the original barre classes. If you want to reduce your waist that is the program that will bring you fast results. She also has lots of free stuff on YouTube explaining form and technique. Search Ms Berk on YouTube or her amazing ( in her ‘80’s) daughter Esther Fairfax, both are inspiring women. Barre work and Essentrics will increase your strength, balance and flexibility the holy trinity of fitness for the pro aging woman as well as get your heart rate up surprisingly fast. Edmond-White’s music, voice and background are just lovely. I highly suggest her book Aging Backwards.
I don’t diet, don’t restrict calories but I intermittent fast ( for almost two years) and my weight/waist went down since last year. It’s not for everyone but it works for me.
Jane in London said…
I gradually lost almost 10lbs during our original lock down. I was very happy about this: all my clothes fit so nicely :)

But then London was put into lock down again, and in November it was announced that there would be no household mixing at Christmas. I felt so low about this that I ate far too much (cake!), did not do as much exercise as usual, and managed to put all the lost weight back on. So now things feel tight again...

Now that the winter is gone, I have no excuse to let this weight stick around. I do daily core exercises to keep up muscle strength (primarily to benefit my back) but that does nothing to address the extra padding on top of the muscles.

I know that the theory of losing the weight is pretty simple - the Dolly Parton method normally works for me. As she put it: "I just got my nose out of the trough". But, though simple, it doesn't feel so easy at the moment.

Jane in London
CassandraBeth said…
Love the title! My waist is larger too. I've been doing Essentrics and walking every day but my weight varies by three pounds only. I lose when stressed and worried, then gain it back. Eating less doesn't have much effect. I'm determined not to obsess about losing weight; we've all got enough to deal with. Keeping moving is important though, because I spend so much time on my computer.
Duchesse said…
Hi All Essentrics fans: Great stuff! The Montréal yoga and Essentrics studio Mouvement Humain has streamed Essentrics courses. I am going to attend classes when it's safe. (A half-mile walk from my apt.) And Edmond-White's site is stuffed with programs. You have all encouraged me, thank you.

I've done practically all of movement regimes going in the course of over 45 years, and I'll bet many of you have too, from Body Design by Gilda, the very earliest Pilates; professional dance classes and the fun stuff from jazzercise to Zumba; more yoga than you could shake a mat at, you name it. And the upshot of this is, now I have to do more at home. The best program is •the one I will do• until I can get back in the studio.

LauraJ: I find Frank's classes pricey (though I loved him as a teacher when I lived in TO). I can see though how a student would want to support him through these times, and when you have a teacher of that calibre, you don't want to change.

Jane M: The key world is "routine"!

E. (posting as Tom): As a frugal sister, you know how much donating two new pairs of good jeans galls! It's not so much vanity as economy ;)

CassandraBeth: Three pounds is an entirely normal fluctuation. I don't obsess about my weight but dammit, those jeans.

Ms. Liz: I'm not above boasting that I have not missed one day walking at least 75 minutes, since last March 9. And I need to add some of your other resources!

Royleen: I am glad that your condition was discovered. Slow and steady is smart, we can build strength with even 15 min/day.

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