This post appears as part of our Healthier 2021 series, in which we follow three WebMD team members as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their journeys here.
By Bill Kimm
Last Tuesday, I became a statistic -- one of the more than 25 million people in the United States to test positive for COVID-19. I started feeling symptoms Sunday afternoon, couldn’t get out of bed Monday, went to get tested Tuesday morning, and had my fears confirmed an hour later. I have COVID.
To be clear, I have a mild to moderate case, and for that, I’m so thankful. This could be much, much worse. So while I am struggling, I am also grateful. It’s been more than a week now, and I’m not really feeling any better. The COVID fatigue is real. I have no energy. Just taking a shower and getting dressed is exhausting. I can be up and moving for about 10-15 minutes and then I have to lie down. Breathing is hard, my chest hurts, the coughing is relentless. It’s not a fun disease.
But this is a healthy eating/weight loss blog, so let’s talk about that.
Early on, I recognized I had two ways to go. I could pause, beat COVID, and focus on healthy eating and weight loss once I feel better, or try not to change course while getting what I need to address my health. I think COVID forced my hand. On Thursday, I lost the ability to taste, which meant food was no longer desirable. I decided to turn this into a positive. I haven’t snacked in more than a week! I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and that’s it. My food cravings are all but gone, and the desire to snack is non-existent. It’s amazing how much we eat just for the pleasure of eating.
Fortunately, my wife and kids all tested negative, so as I’m quarantined in our spare bedroom, they are able to prepare my food and deliver it to my door. Knowing I want to try and stay focused on eating healthy, they are measuring all my servings, allowing me to still log what I eat each meal. To be clear, my first priority right now is giving my body the food it needs to get well -- I can’t sacrifice that for weight loss goals. But given that I’ve been eating pretty healthy this week, and the fact I just don’t have the energy or desire to eat very much, leads me to believe that having COVID is not going to set my weight loss efforts back too far. This situation is not ideal, but I’m making the best out of it.
Not tasting food is weird, let me tell you. Your brain fights it. Your brain knows what you are supposed to be experiencing, but your taste buds don’t let it happen. I’ve also tried to turn this into a positive. I’m eating more broccoli, more cauliflower rice, and more vegetables in general with my meals. I can’t taste anything; might as well eat some stuff I’m not a huge fan of.
That’s not to say I haven’t tried to sneak some sweets. My daughter was so thoughtful and made me brownies this past weekend to help me feel better. Even if you’re trying to be good, if your daughter makes you brownies, you eat the brownies! I was sad I couldn’t taste them, but the sentiment was so sweet and I did feel a little better that evening.
I have COVID. It has halted any progress I was making with my exercise, and honestly, I don’t know how much of a setback it will be. I don’t know when I will feel good enough and strong enough to run or workout again. But I told you early on, no excuses this time around. So while COVID is a hurdle I wasn’t expecting, I’m not going to let it derail me. I’m going to turn this tremendous negative into a positive. I am going to eat less and eat healthier, and hopefully, when I’m able to break my quarantine, I’ll have good news to share.
Bill is the Senior Manager of Funded Content Strategy for WebMD. He’s been trying to find balance with his weight, exercise, and overall wellness for 15-plus years. As Bill approaches 50, he understands how important it is to keep good healthy habits and take better care of himself. He has the support of his wife and two children (ages 22 and 15) and hopes this blog humanizes the difficulties of weight loss in middle age and offers hope to others who are experiencing the same. For more on his journey, follow him on Instagram @billkimm and on TikTok @billkimm3.