The Quarantine Five (or so)

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SHU Box (of the “Best of Both Worlds” podcast) has, I think, written every single day of the quarantine. She’s recently been posting an interesting “habits” feature. The latest one on eating habits–and an accompanying comment by Gwinne–prompted me to come back here for a fairly superficial topic, if you will forgive me.

Part of why I haven’t showed up here regularly, in addition to some insane work hours, has been a hesitation to talk about the scary, serious events that have been occurring (which frankly, I am still processing). So I hope this post doesn’t come across as superficial and tone-deaf during this crazy, awful time. 

Lots of us, I think, have been trying as best we can to stay healthy during the pandemic. Part of that is, of course, diet and exercise. I used to go to exercise classes or the gym pre-pandemic. Now I don’t do either of those things.

As I wrote earlier this summer, I had been doing TV streaming exercise programs, mostly the 30 Day Shred. I also walk my dog once a day, for about 20-30 minutes. I needed minor surgery this summer, which required me to not work out for about a month. Immediately after the surgery (like, the next day!) I gained two pounds, which I was not able to shake off. I made tweaks to my diet cutting back portions, but nothing. I wondered if the daily cocktail we had been making were playing a role, so I took a week off with no alcohol and I gained two more pounds!! WUT?

Before Covid-19, I was already creeping towards my high water mark for my weight, and now I am at that mark.

After the surgery restriction was lifted, my Peloton arrived. Since I am no longer paying any gym or Orange Theory class fees for the foreseeable future, I thought an investment in an at-home exercise machine (my first!) was probably worth it. I love the bike so far, and try to use it every day. SHU wisely recommended adding heavier weights to my routine, and that was certainly something that made me feel stronger and better while I was doing Orange Theory. So I plan to order some for the house, as the Peloton app offers heavier weight classes.

Still, my weight hovers in my high range. I’m not technically overweight, but my body just doesn’t feel great and I want my immune system to be in good shape. I’ve gained weight in my mid-section, where previously I never carried it. I feel sluggish and slower. Gwinne mentioned age as a factor, and as I am in my mid-40s, it is definitely a possibility.

On the food front, I’m not sure what to do. Here is my typical daily menu. I feel like I am starving sometimes, which sucks.


  • Shot of espresso with 4 oz steamed whole milk, no sugar


  • 6 oz low fat cottage cheese with one sliced tomato (I hate whole fat cottage cheese, although I know it’s better for me) or
  • 6 oz Greek yogurt with sliced fruit or
  • 4 oz leftover salmon (although like SHU, I tend to hoard the leftovers for more dinners!)


  • 12 whole almonds or one peach or 10 cherries or 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1-2 LaCroixs (0 calories)

(Sometimes: One cocktail before dinner. We’ve been working our way through this list.)


  • 4 oz steamed salmon or 4 oz roasted chicken or 1 turkey burger (no bun) or 1 BBQ’d Aidells chicken apple sausage
  • Small side salad with this vinaigrette, or steamed / roasted veggies with olive oil and salt/pepper (usually Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, Swiss Chard)
  • (Sometimes: half a baked potato with small portion sour cream)

(Note: We have been half-a**ing it on the cooking front this summer, making the same dishes over and over.)

What the heck am I doing wrong? 

Have you gained weight during the pandemic? Any suggestions to change up my diet? Am I stressing over something stupid and meaningless during this horrible time? 

Hope you all are well and safe

Xoxo Jjiraffe




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11 responses to “The Quarantine Five (or so)

  1. omg… i’m so jealous of the peloton bike!
    I think as we approach 40, i’ll turn 40 in december, our metabolism does slow down. Diet plays a larger role in our health and weight than exercise, so if you are serious of wanting to lose weight… you may want to read “how not to diet”. It gives you the science of some of common misconceptions of weight loss and fad diet. it’s written by a vegan doctor, so you can imagine what his conclusion is. But he’s the most scientific objective unbiased vegan doc I’ve ever read. I have a research background so I dig deep into the science and find his research very solid.

    • Thanks for responding! I’ll check out “How Not to Diet”: in general, I DON’T diet, as I believe the evidence that dieting ruins metabolisms. Adding more plant-based products to my routine, like almond milk for example, is a great idea. I definitely am pretty reliant on dairy, and would like to diversify and shake it up.

  2. I have gained weight and am now officially overweight. Until a last minute emergency Ann Taylor buy a few weeks ago I had nothing that I could teach in because I am a size larger than all of my professional clothing. I’ve been blaming DH’s baking and the loss of walks around the park near my office, but maybe it’s stress and middle-age instead.

    I *definitely* eat a lot more than you do, both in terms of healthy food and junk food. And i have been eating more and eating less healthy food at home than I do when I’m in my work office all day (when I can only bring a reasonable amount of healthy food to the office with me instead of having the entire kitchen including dh’s stress baking).

    • Oh man, if someone in my family baked all the time like that, there’s no way I would be able to resist!! My thing is I can’t have the unhealthy foods I like in my house, as I just don’t have the willpower to say no. So we’re careful to have pretty much all whole foods here, which are a pain to make. Making things more difficult is key to my eating healthy.

      Can you maybe interest your DH in paleo baking? ‘m looking into it now, actually. Seems like Michelle Rosen is a popular dessert baker:

      • Given my wheat allergy during the last pregnancy and insulin resistance with fertility and pregnancy stuff he’s got a pretty wide range of paleo etc experience. It’s just, they all like flour. And fancy ice creams from the grocery store we don’t usually go to is one of my few joys in pandemic. My kids do eat most of the stuff quickly but It also gets replenished pretty quickly. Eventually we may run out of fancy new ice creams to try … just in time for winter baking.

      • (He’s making bran muffins right now.)

  3. Got it re: paleo baking. I hear you on the ice cream, and yes, there should be joys and treats during this s*** time.

    The cocktail has become my pandemic treat, which is probably not great. The saving grace is these drinks are such a pain to make, so we don’t have more than one.

  4. I can’t tell you what you’re doing wrong. You definitely exercise more than me (although that’s not hard to do! lol) & comparatively, you eat like a bird, lol. Metabolism definitely slows down as we age.I lost 35 lbs on Weight Watchers when I was 30… kept it off for several years & then gained it back when I was pregnant (& more since then). I went back to WW in my 40s, doing the same things I did before, but with far less success. I have been on the scale ONCE since COVID began. (We had our annual physicals scheduled, and I didn’t want a shock at the office weigh-in. As luck would have it (?), the appointment was cancelled, so I’m good for a while yet, lol.) I was up one pound, which I honestly didn’t think was bad, considering I’ve been in couch potato mode for most of the past 5-6 months. Of course, I’m overweight to begin with, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers. 😉 We tried to get back into the walking habit earlier in the summer, but it’s been one heat wave after another this summer. Maybe we’ll try again in the fall…!

    • I am very impressed you’re only up a pound!! Definitely not the normal Covid experience, it seems.

      Alas, metabolism slowing in your 40s seems to be pretty universal. It DOES seem like I am eating like a bird, to your point, and I hate feeling so hungry all the time. It makes me cranky and feels crappy that that I’m barely staying even with all this work and effort. :/

      A friend suggested really focusing on protein and I think that’s the way forward. Carbs just make me more hungry.

  5. geochick1

    As a fellow mid-40’s woman, I hear you! What I’ve found works for me at least for maintenance of what is now a high weight for me is to eat intuitively. I’ve tried calories restrictions, macro tracking, Whole30, all of it and haven’t been able to lose the 10lbs I’ve gained several years ago. Even training for 100mile bike rides didn’t move the needle! I suggest you check out Steph Gaudreau I love her approach to body neutrality and learning to eat intuitively rather than punish ourselves through diet culture.

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