The London lockdown reminds me of the aftermath of military coups in Nigeria
The Nigerian army held power from 1966 to 1999 save for a shortlived return to democracy between 1979 and 1983. I remember those years of democracy very well. They were some of the happiest years of my childhood until the first military coup ushered in a tumultuous time. I remember the fear faces of grown-ups, the curfews, the playing of military music on the radio and on TV with the Nigerian Television Authority played recorded programmes on repeatedly. There was a news blackout across the board. President Shehu Shagari was imprisoned by Buhari for two years following the coup. Buhari, as you may be aware, is the retired army officer and now the serving President of Nigeria. Nigeria, in my opinion, has never really shaken off military rule but as I am keen to stay on topic, I will say no more on this.
The above photograph is from Shehu Shagari’s obituary in The Guardian which he was described as President of Nigeria from 1979 to 1983 whose time in office was blighted by slumping oil prices and endemic corruption. Click the following link for the full article https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/09/shehu-shagari-obituar
The effect of curfews and military coups on life on a University campus
Coups were the order of the day in my time in Nigeria. As a University student, they brought along terrible uncertainty. As I also grew up on and lived on a University campus with my family at the University of Benin, the coups also affected my father’s employment directly. My father would work from home reading and marking assignments or papers and doing the best he could given the uncertain time.
Some students managed to get themselves into a new routine and worked hard even though they had no idea when their exams might be scheduled. Sadly, I was never one of those students. I was always distracted and unfocussed. The present lockdown in London and across the world reminds me of those troubled times in Nigeria except that on this occasion, the enemy being the virus is undetectable by eye and even more frightening.
The concept of staying at home and adhering to a curfew is familiar. In London, we are staying at home for most of the day save for an hour outside to take exercise to slow the spread of the covid-19 virus. When coups in Nigeria there was a clampdown of information and in some respects, the lack of reporting meant that people felt less alarmed as they were in effect in ignorant bliss. With covid-19 however, it is impossible to remain uninformed with the blanket reporting across the media.
Trying to make the best of a bad situation i.e. the London lockdown because of covid-19
Bearing in mind how distracted and unfocussed I used to be during coups in Nigeria, I am trying very hard to be the opposite during this London lockdown. If I am not going to work like NHS staff and key workers, I feel as though I should be doing useful things. Goodness knows that I have lots of useful things that I ought to be getting on with. Having prioritised work for nearly two years straight to the detriment of my home life, there are lots of things that I could be getting on with at home. There is also my normal work, albeit at a reduced intensity that I should be getting on with now I am working from home without access to a printer. It is amazing how much I took that machine for granted and I find myself missing it when I am working quite a lot.
I think that I overstate the amount of time that I am saving by not commuting to the office. At the end of the day, I save maybe two or three hours but I find myself disappointed at the end of each day with myself for not being able to fit more work into the day. I am trying to keep up and possibly get on top of my usual work and at the same time, spring clean, redecorate and re-organise my home. I also want to reorganise my wardrobe, makeup and accessories, write blogs, film and edit vlog posts for my YouTube channel and so on. My rational mind knows that doing all of this at once is probably not achievable with even if I was able to magically find four or five more hours each day but I feel anxious about it nonetheless. I feel that if I don’t achieve these objectives I will have nothing to show for all this time social distancing at home. I have to remind myself every day that by staying at home, I might be helping to save lives. So many people have lost their lives already in the UK and across the world, so I truly hope that my actions are helping. I know that I need to put some structure back into my life if only to manage my mental health living alone and physically isolated.
Starting a new exercise regime
This is one of the first things I knew I needed in order to put some structure back into my life. Odell and his lovely wife Nassim are doing free online classes 5 times a week every day except Wednesdays and Sundays. The classes are 40 minutes long via Zoom and I am amazed at how difficult I have found them. I have now been doing the classes over the last couple of weeks and my muscles are feeling very sore.
When I was working with Odell in the gym, I would do cardio on my own and that is what I had planned to do using my treadmill in the photograph to the above but it gave up the ghost after two or three cardio sessions. In some ways, this was not the end of the world because I had however stopped enjoying working out on my treadmill. It is a folding one so the handles were hard to reach if I cranked the incline up to the maximum at 12% to do a fat-burning incline fast-paced walk. Also, the machines in the gym go up to 15% incline.
The other thing was that working out alone on my treadmill makes me feel even more isolated so going forward I plan to use my hour of exercise every day to go running and where this is not possible stay home and enjoy an Afrobeat dance party for one.
If you would like to join Odell’s free online classes, please email me and I will send you details.
Establishing a work routine
I am trying to wake up close to the time that I would normally if I was commuting to work every day. Where possible, I am wearing makeup too and dressing appropriately. I wore my pink suede high heeled shoes a bit and danced around a bit whenever I took a break. The outfit, though unusual for me for work, lifted my spirits.
Organising my fridge/larder and cooking and pre-planning my meals
I finally went shopping and to my surprise, the panic buying has calmed down a lot and toilet roll is back in stock along with peanut butter. Sadly, no eggs were sold out once again. I was able to buy lots of salads and ready-prepared vegetables for stir-frying which is helping me to gradually lower my intake of carbohydrates. On my return from food shopping, I cleaned out my fridge and did some marathon cooking to ensure that I have a ready supply of fresh healthy meals to eat.
As you will see from the photograph below, my belly has taken a hit. I finally plucked up the courage to weigh myself and can see that I have experienced a full-blown YoYo in the wrong direction. Although I did a jokey post on Facebook saying that I have gained 9 lbs in two weeks of London lockdown, I think that I had gained 5 or 6 lbs before the lockdown and the remaining 3 or 4 lbs eating more carbohydrates since the official lockdown was put in place. I was so busy at work that by the time I managed to do some food shopping, the supermarkets had been depleted by the panic buyers and I had to make do with what was left. This meant that I have eaten a few odd things and some of the meals have upset my sensitive stomach. I think that the gain for me has been rapid because I went from exercising frequently to hardly moving at all. I hope that the new structure I am imposing on my life in lockdown will mean that I eat better and move more.
My resulting weight gain means that I have once again exceeded BMI 25 if only by 1.2 lbs
I am officially overweight again if only by a whisper. I remember how much I celebrated hitting BMI 25 in June 2019.https://theyoyochronicles.com/weight-loss-diary/celebrating-reaching-bmi-25/ It is so easy to lose fitness, focus and put the weight back on.
When I remember also how I agonised about wearing smaller dress sizes or looking like a lollipop with a big head and small slimmed-down body, I am surprised at how unfocused I was. I let negativity get under my skin and the result is this weight gain.
Going forward, instead of staying in bed too long on the weekends, I will try to work hard on the tasks that I know need doing which will hopefully mean that I burn more calories and manage to cross off more items on my global to-do list as I think of it as. Hopefully, this will make me feel like I am being productive and reduce my anxiety. It will also hopefully burn more calories. My aim now is to get my body back to how it was looking when I took the photograph below. I hope that I will have a firmer plan by the time I write my next blog post.
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Look who managed to take a selfie on her vlogging camera after her Thursday morning workout! Yup! Lil ‘ole me getting to grips with technology and so on – I had to give myself a little pat on the back for finally twigging! I have been taking a rest day every Wednesday so Thursday’s feel like the start of the workout week for me with the @lewisfitnesspt Body Blitz class at 6.30 am. Today, we worked with weights quite a bit and at the end I actually did some cardio rather than skipping off home like I have been doing lately. It nearly did not make the class at all because I forgot to set my alarm. However, I had managed to persuade myself to go to bed on time which is why I woke up naturally in the nick of time. I have had such early starts for nearly a year now to get in my morning workouts and I know that the trick is to get to bed early like we did as children. However, I love watching TV. Can anyone else relate to the struggle? In other news, it is FRIDAY! YAASSS! Have you got plans for the weekend? Please share them in the comments below because I would love to know! Gosh, that rhymed too + complete with alliteration 🙂 #fitness #igfitness #fitnessplayground #workingout #fitnesspeople #fitnessgoals #fithumans #lewisfitnesspt #fitnesstime #fitnesspowers #fitnesseducation #fitnessofinstagram #fitnessbased #workout #gymnasium #fitnessisalifestyle #gymlife #workingout #fitnesspeople #fitnessgoals #fithumans #fithour #fitnesstime #NoToTheYoYo #YesToAstableWeight #NoTimeToPauseForMenopause #yestoastablehealthyweightr