‘It’s time to consciously uncouple from comfort eating’

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If I were to give 2021 a nickname, it would be “the year of the trackie dacks”.

The sweatpants gently entered our lives in 2020 in such a cute way, like a collective joke. “Hey guys, this lockdown, what if we all did loungewear? It’s sort of like pyjamas, but luxe. Everyone will be doing it.”

Cut to this year and I am googling “most comfortable tracksuits for eating ice cream in”.

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Lockdown pounds. Covid kilos. Call it what you want. Bottom line: we couldn’t go to the gym and the pants got more and more elasticated. I barely wore jeans this winter. It didn’t matter how many professional trainers and wellness influencers I followed on Instagram, I just kept swiping… and eating.

Now this year, as I lurched even closer to 50, I knew all this emotional binge-watching and mindless eating would have to stop.

So, I decided to use the bottom half of the tracksuit for what it was designed for: running and exercise. I took it easy. Just a couple of casual runs. I even took my kids along to make me go slower and hopefully inspire them. That’s right kids, the old boy still has it.

He can go from couch to 5km in the blink of an eye.

Two days later I put my back out getting out of my car. Now, in my younger years (I can say that at my age) a bad back would probably bother me for a day or two. Three max. This time? I could not move. I walked like I was in the movie Cocoon – before they get in the pool of youth. Holy crap.

I’m supposed to be having a mid-life crisis, not a middle-section spasm. It kept going as well. Sleeping hurt. My kids had to help me put on my socks. I wore sneakers at work – even on air – because I couldn’t bend over to change my shoes.

Friends, in my other columns, this would be the part where the mood starts to shift as I tell you about my eureka moment and what I learnt from this experience. The part where I hope to inspire some readers going through something similar to think to themselves: this is so relatable. I may make some changes in my own life.

Well, it’s not coming. I suffered. And being an Aussie male, so did everyone around me. I moaned. I grimaced. I winced and whined. Like my fashion sense and my expanding waist, my back had given up. It was a stark reality check.

There was a period when I thought, this is it, isn’t it? You had a good run, but your body has called an Uber and left. It took two weeks to recover. My physio was promoted to speed-dial; I became more intimate with a back roller than with my wife.

I am still not sure if I learnt anything. Like everyone else, these past 20 months, we’ve all just tried to cope.

One thing I do know, is that it is time to consciously uncouple from the comfort eating and stretchy pants. Life is coming back… as is my actual back.

David Campbell co-hosts Today Extra,9am weekdays, on the Nine Network.

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