COVID-19 is of course the virus which is currently a global pandemic. But people are also talking about “the covid 19” as in “the freshman 10” — meaning the 19 pounds they think they will gain during quarantine.

Before the pandemic, I was at 124-125 pounds at my daily weight-in. Now, a month in, I’m at 126-128. This is still 100 pounds less than mu top weight, and I think a perfectly healthy weight. But weight is not like a bank account, where you can put in some energy in the form of calories and then use it up in the form of exercise. Rather, it’s a system. If you eat good food and exercise regularly, your metabolism uses the food to fuel the exercise and the other activities for which your body needs energy. If not, your body can’t do that and you gain weight.

I know from experience that I can eat and move wrong for a while (because of a holiday or travel or health issues) and then get back to eating and moving right without negative consequences. But who knows how long the hiatus can be? I know that I do not want to go back to having to think about my weight.

And I also know that it’s not just weight — poor eating habits are literally deadly. As I age, I plan to be health and happy, not to suffer from chronic disease.

So why is the coronavirus messing with my eating habits? I have been working from home for many years, so I don’t have the disruption of being at home with food readily available all the time.

But I am at home with food readily available all the time. So the disruption is leading me to snack, which I know is not good for me.

It took me a while to figure out how to have a steady supply of fresh produce, too. I had canned food, mostly, and frozen food in the form of ice cream and fish.

But I think the main issue has been the “comfort food” desire. Bland food that gets its taste only from salt and sugar is the foundation of the Standard American Diet. So I ate tuna with Miracle Whip on a sandwich with chips alongside and ice cream to follow. Clearly the wrong way to eat, but comforting. During the first few weeks of adjusting to the idea that people around the world were dying and that thousands more would die, perhaps including me or people I knew, easy comforting food was what I wanted.

The bitter and tart and just plain complicated flavors of vegetables and herbs and sauces weren’t appealing. Cooking wasn’t appealing.

Exercise wasn’t appealing, either, and sleeping — while appealing — just wasn’t happening. Something in my brain felt that I needed to be alert to the coronavirus at all times. True, this mostly took the form of checking Facebook obsessively throughout the day, but it interfered with normal activities and choices. So by April 9th, and the Wii Fit screen above shows, I had done my 30 minutes of stepping only three times. No Daily Burn workouts. An average of about 3,000 steps a day.

Time to get back on track. I’m not sure what to do about sleeping better. One reason I haven’t been exercising as much is that I’m allowing myself to sleep in, so that 30 minutes of stepping will mean starting work late. By the end of the day I’m too tired to do strength training, or at least that’s how I feel.

But I will get back to the stepping, or maybe take a solitary walk outdoors each day. I’ll fit Daily Burn in; they have very short training programs so I have no excuse.  I also think I should do more physical work in my house and garden.

As for eating, I think I will try out more Mediterranean dishes. Treating cooking the same way I’ve been treating sewing will be better than thinking, oh I need to eat something and scrambling an egg. I have some cookbooks with new and exotic recipes in them.

I intend not to come down with COVID-19. Part of that effort must be to guard my health.