COVID-5, -10, -15 is the New Weight Gain Pandemic—Unwanted Pounds While Sheltering

Boomer’s and Seniors:  Let’s Unlock and Get Back in Control

We all know about COVID-19, but do you know about COVID-5, -10, -15.  Take your pick. That is the new weight gain pandemic so many of us are experiencing while we’re living in this very stressful time.  A time thrust on us without much warning, and one where the likes of which we have never experienced.  It’s doubtful, even with the warning, that we could have prepared both mentally and physically for this onslaught, one that might very well last for several more months.  While we sit back and shelter, self-quarantine, isolate, or whatever you wish to call it, we are trying very hard to maintain some standard of life acceptable in large part to what we’re used to.  Regardless of your routines, one of the biggest problems we face is comfort in cooking, over-snacking, food pickup, or drive thru, and the subsequent weight gain.  

Everywhere you look on the internet and the news channels, there is some article on cooking tips.  Try this new recipe, try this comfort food.  We’re baking and cooking like we haven’t done in generations, and along with that comes the snacking and nibbling at all times during the day and evening.

Stop it!  Stay calm, not only for yourself but for your family and friends, as well.  Try to have some peace of mind because we’re all going to be OK.  We know it’s going to be tough sledding for a number of weeks yet, but we definitely need to reset our attitudes and behaviors.  Pretty soon, doors will be opening, businesses will be cranking back up, restaurants will be serving, key elements of our economy will be back on track, but for now—we’re struggling.  Speaking for myself, your Number One BoomerGal of 68 years, I’ve probably gained an unwanted 5 pounds easily over this time of sequestration.  

Enough rambling, here’s what you need to do, and I’m actually following my own advice.

  • Burn more calories than you eat and drink, so get some exercise Boomers, regardless of the quantity and quality—just get moving;
  • Eat fresh veggies, fruits and whole grains—bring on the salads;
  • Put fish back into your diet for the omega 3 vitamins;
  • Love those beans and other legumes;
  • Indulge in low-fat or non-fat dairy products;
  • Eat poultry without fat-heavy marinades and very lean red meat (or none at all); and
  • Limit those terrible empty calories like sugar and processed foods with little-to-no nutritional value.

Just use some commons sense with the food you’re consuming and their respective amounts.  If you’re not paying attention, it could be dangerous to your health and weight.  Start today with the mantra that you will try very hard, I mean very hard, to get back on track without any more self-loathing.  It might be OK to snack a bit during the day, but the real culprit is snacking and nibbling at night before you go to bed, or God forbid, while you’re in bed.  It’s enough to be sleeping with crumbs, but just think about all those calories you will not be burning in time for breakfast the next morning.  Now you’re into a vicious cycle that does nothing but spell DOOM for weight gain.  

We are indeed social animals, so it’s important to occasionally get out and go for a shopping trip to your local grocery or big box store like Walmart and Costco.  Practice your physical and social distancing and make certain you wear your mask and disposable gloves, and whatever you do, do not go out without first having eaten.  If you walk into your grocery with an appetite, you will definitely overbuy and suffer sticker shock at the cash register.  Furthermore, you will end up making the same mistake I made—buying up tantalizing sweets because they’re everywhere, like a Raspberry Kringle from Trader Joe’s.  They’re absolutely wonderful, but I bought three of them, just in case.  YIKES!  After bringing them home, I threw them in the freezer and will bring them out for guests and family when the world reopens.  

  • Always, always bring a list with you to help expedite your time in the store—get in and get out;
  • I have found that you don’t need to be the first in line when they open for seniors only shopping, you can go midday and find plenty of parking without having to walk 3 miles—and that’s here in southern California where we just happen to have a few million people ready for action;
  • However, if you do find a line, be respectful even if some of the other patrons choose to act poorly; 
  • Most of the stores are now disinfecting their shopping carts, but just to be on the safe side carry wipes that can be used then disposed of;
  • Do not reuse your shopping bags because they’re already contaminated;
  • Be prepared to substitute products that you can’t find on the shelf; 
  • If you’re frustrated with not being able to find your favorite items, then by all means shift gears and go to a different outlet; 
  • Use the fresh bags from the store and bag your own groceries if given the opportunity—the fewer hands the better;
  • Wear gloves, then dispose of them safely upon exiting the grocery;
  • Place everything on a large towel in the trunk or back seat, one that can be washed when you arrive home;
  • Wash your hands before you do anything, then wash them again after you’ve handled all the items you’ve unloaded;
  • Upon returning home, you might wish to set your non-perishable goods in the garage for a day or two, then when ready to store, wipe them down and place them in your pantry—the FDA says that’s not necessary, but I do it anyway;
  • Bring your perishable items like vegetables into your home and place them in the crisper (see my killer tip on storing veggies without using the plastic bags they come in from the grocery) and then carefully dispose of the plastic bags;
  • If you’re picking up and delivering items for your family, friends or neighbors, be sure to leave them at their front door and let them know their care package has arrived…

Are all of these suggestions spot on, yes, I think they are and I’m probably being somewhat excessive, but then that’s what this time is about.  Being overly cautious and being excessive in how you care for yourself and your family and friends.  Whatever you are doing to protect yourself, it’s probably not enough, so double down on precaution.  

Here’s my killer tip for storing vegetables, and this comes from one of my foodie sources by the name of Food 52 (yeah, it’s not really mine, but I’m happy to share this fabulous helpful hint).

Let’s take celery as one of the most popular vegetables that you might be picking up on your shopping extravaganza.  The question:  should you be storing celery, and other vegetables for that matter, in the plastic bag that you rip off the spool and bring home to your crisper?

Normally, upon returning home you tighten the plastic bag, slide it and the celery into your crisper and walk away.  You’re surprised when you return in a couple of days and find the produce slightly wilted and soft without its inherent crunch.  Here’s what happens.  Celery and most all vegetables emit a naturally occurring ethylene gas which hastens their vegetal demise.  

So the trick, upon returning home from the grocery, wrap your precious veggies in aluminum foil, and do so somewhat tightly.  When stored this way, celery and other great produce will maintain their freshness anywhere from 2-4 weeks.  Yeah!!!  Home Run!!!  The key is to wrap tightly enough to prevent moisture from escaping, but not so tightly the ethylene gas can’t escape.  Oh, and by the way, you can reuse the foil by carefully unwrapping and wrapping it again for the next purchase which lends to its eco-friendly repurposing.  

During this COVID-19 pandemic, stay healthy, safe, and most of all don’t lose your pride, self-dignity, and control.  If you don’t like what you see in the mirror, do something about it.  


Was this article helpful?

You may also like

Leave a Reply