Much as I love being a freelance writer, I’ve experienced one annoying downside. As my word count expands, so does a certain part of my physique. My grandmother used to refer to this body part as my ‘loaf of bread’—a far kinder assessment, I realize now, than most of our modern-day terms. But, the bottom line (excuse the pun) is this: As a regular writer, my ‘bread’ tends to spread.
I’ve struggled with the same 10 pounds for years, experiencing that little-bit-of-loss/little-bit-of-gain yo-yoing thing over and over again. When the pandemic first hit, I did pretty well at keeping excess pounds at bay. The two pounds I gained hardly rivaled the infamous “Covid-15” I’d read so much about. But, as the health crisis lengthened, I discovered that an afternoon martini—with a cheese stick and my cheese-lovin’ cat, Mousy, by my side—offered the perfect respite after a productive but far too isolated day. So here I am, two years later, the proud owner of five additional COVID pounds as well as the YO-YO-10 I should have kicked to the curb 20 years ago.
My problem? I sit too much, and snack too much, even though I walk a mile on my treadmill five times a week, and have recently started hitting the mat for some much-needed floor exercises. I also garden, swim, and play with my cats and grandchildren regularly. So I’m not a total slouch. Still, my various waistbands are sending me clear signals that times are tight and help is needed. I’ve tried numerous ‘better eating’ and ‘lesser eating’ plans over the years, usually with decent but temporary results. Still, as an aging writer who loves her work, I find it hard to give up those long, lovely, escapist hours when I sit at my keyboard, coffee and cookie at hand, gray matter perking merrily as my metabolism slows to molasses.
Recently, I found myself asking the Big Question: Am I ever really going to shed these ponderous pounds without giving up the sit-on-my-butt activity I enjoy more than anything else in the world? Or, should I just give up the fight and enjoy life a bit more by weight-worrying less? No sooner had I asked the question than I recalled an effective nighttime calorie-curbing technique I’d hit on a decade ago. Whenever I experienced an uncontrollable urge to snack during my evening TV time, I’d give myself a choice: either refrain from eating and enjoy my show OR turn off the tube, brush my teeth, and hit the hay. For a while, this method worked wonders at keeping me snack-free—until motivation flagged, and my old habits crept back in. But that was then, and I’m older, wiser, and chubbier now, right?
Intrigued by the potential of my former snack-curbing strategy, I’ve decided to tweak and relaunch it with a more positive writing slant. From now on, when the munchies hit and I want to nosh feverishly, I’ll give myself a new ultimatum: Either EXERCISE or WRITE until the urge passes! Objectively considering these two punitive alternatives to snacking, I realize that either one would do me a world of good. But, honestly? Given a choice between the two, there’s not much of a contest. I love writing that much.
So, starting today, I’ll be snacking a whole lot less and writing a whole lot more. Inspired by my new dual purpose, I’m confident that I’ll shed some of the weight that has enabled guilt and a marked sense of failure to infiltrate my writer’s soul. Given time, I’ll not only become a more disciplined eater but a more disciplined, productive writer as well. And, by writing more polished pieces, I’ll undoubtedly increase my income, too, which—coupled with those looser waistbands—will make me really, really happy. In the meantime, I can promise you this. Since writing is my happy place, I’ll be one helluva happy woman.
WritersWeekly is doing to check back in with Wendy in a few months to see how her method is working! 😉
- ‘Looking Local’ Provides Opportunity and Inspiration in a Pandemic! – By Wendy Hobday Haugh
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- APPLES AND ORANGES?! Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Writers! – By Wendy Hobday Haugh
- How A Family Skeptic Unknowingly Challenged Me to Continue Writing by Wendy Hobday Haugh
- Writers, Got Mood Swings? You Can Profit From Them! by Wendy Hobday Haugh
- A FEW REGRETS! Records I Wish I’d Kept During My Freelancing Career By Wendy Hobday Haugh
- 6 Paying Health/Illness Markets for Writers – by Rachel Carrington
- 8 Paying Health Markets By John Riddle
A freelance writer and former piano teacher, Wendy Hobday Haugh’s short stories, articles, and poems have appeared in dozens of national and regional publications. Wendy lives with one husband, two frisky felines, and dozens of white-tailed deer in the Adirondack foothills of upstate New York.
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Wendy, I know exactly how you feel. I hope your method works.
I’m trying :))
I am the luckiest woman in the world. I have not set foot in the kitchen in 11 years to prepare a meal. All of my meals come from restaurants or restaurant leftovers. With my lifestyle, I have lost 125 pounds, have gone from a size 24w to a size 8, and I keep restaurant staff from losing their jobs, subsisting on welfare, or church handouts. As an author, I am finishing a book on “What it costs to be overweight”. With my lifestyle, sitting at a computer all day does not put excess weight on me. Because I hate to cook, this is the perfect and most enjoyable lifestyle for me.