Plight of the Fat Man – Not Getting Fat During the COVID-19 Crisis

Probably like you, I am bored. Real bored. And even a bit scared. The courts are closed. The gyms are closed. The restaurants are closed. Crime is way up. Business is way down.

Not good.

There is some good news. My house is now spotless. I have time to blog again, and put time into projects I had been putting off. I’ve even been playing some video games.

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I finally had the time to setup a home office. It’s not pretty, but it is functional.

Anyway, this isn’t a post about my pet projects or political commentary regarding the economic shutdown. It’s about keeping the weight off while you’re cooped up in the home with no access to a gym, social distancing, and nothing to do except binge ice cream and watch TV.

So, without further ado…

1. Stock your fridge, freezer, and pantry with the following: frozen meats, frozen vegetables, unsweetened coconut milk (or Fairlife milk), coffee / tea, canned tuna, sauerkraut, vinegar (for pickling) eggs, etc. This stuff doesn’t go bad and you’ll be able to social distance instead of going to the grocery store once a week just to replace all the produce that went bad. If you don’t know how to cook, I really would take this time and learning how. I recommend The 4 Hour Chef by Timothy Ferriss. The meals are low carb and don’t require a lot of ingredients. And of course, you can always watch loads of the Food Network.

Cooking equipment I recommend: a digital thermometer, cast iron pan, blender, and maybe a dutch oven. The more I learn about cooking, the simpler my kitchen becomes. While business is slow, cooking is a great way to save money.

Do not stock your fridge with sugary, quick to eat stuff like ice cream, ramen noodles, potato chips, crackers, pretzels, etc. You’ll just snack all day — snacking will derail almost any diet. Half the time you’re not even really hungry anyway — you’re just bored. Also, stop day-drinking. I love wine and occasionally a good bourbon, but drinking a 30 pack of beer a day or a box of wine in one sitting is a recipe for disaster. But feel free to splurge once a week or you’ll go insane thinking about food. I eat whatever on Saturdays, and switch my cheat day up to Sundays when football is on.

2. Consider fasting if you’re not that active. I usually do intermittent fasting (skip breakfast and lunch), but since I’m much less active right now, I’ve been doing longer fasts. Right now I’ve been fasting for three days. “But Jordan, that’s dangerous!” Yeah, right… my blood pressure is 117/77, my resting heart rate is 60-70, and my BMI is 24.5 (although I think BMI is sort of bullshit, every overweight person claims the “Eric Cartman Defense” of being big boned or muscular, having a thyroid issue, or that they’re unable to lose weight. I used to be 250lbs, pre-diabetic, had high blood pressure and thought the same thing. Until I started eating right and fasting. Now I’m 147lbs and all my vitals are good to go. Oh yeah, and the weight has been off for about three years now).

Cartman

Eric Cartman isn’t fat. He’s just big boned.

3. If you’re working from home, consider a standing desk. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Mine is currently a milk crate with my laptop, a monitor, and a webcam. What I’ve been doing is physically working from here, and doing meetings over Zoom or Facetime to the extent possible (Zoom is also how I get church services). I’ve had some clients over to my house, but I don’t recommend doing this unless you know them pretty well. They don’t come into my basement home office / gym, just my living room. Right now everything, and I mean everything, is closed in Philly. Meaning we can’t go to my office or even a coffee shop.

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If I’m going to spend a few hours playing video games, might as well do it while standing up.

4. Consider putting in a home gym. A lot of it will depend on your space and what you like doing. Mine has a kicking bag, chair for inverted pushups, a mat for sit-ups, foam roller, pull-up bar, kettle bells, and a basic set of weights. This is one of the projects I wish I’d of finished earlier, but I still get a good workout in. I really recommend getting an Apple TV and buying Beach Body on Demand. The exercises are mostly body-weight, stretch bands, or light weights. Convict Conditioning is also a lot of good body-weight exercise, most of which you can do from your bedroom.

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Nothing fancy but it gets the job done

5. If a home gym is too intense for you, or you don’t like those type of workouts, you can burn calories and keep your mind off food with just by doing housework. I’ve probably burnt about 2000 calories in the last two days just vacuuming, rearranging stuff, working from my standing desk, and doing light bike rides. Combine light exercise with some fasting and watch the weight fall right off and stay off. I’ve also been taking walks and cycling. Personally, I hate running whether its on a treadmill or outside.

We’ll get through this crisis. However, I suspect it’s going to get worse before it gets better. But to quote the new Bon Jovi song, “When you can’t do what you do, do what you can.”

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