There is confusion as to why the current pandemic’s virus is named “COVID-19.”
The CDC, on its website, explains, “In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for the disease.” “Nineteen” refers to the year the virus was discovered.
Not wishing to disagree with such an esteemed, well-respected, scientific organization but, in the same manner that the “Freshman 15” refers to the 15 pounds many first-time college students gain in their first year, the 19 in COVID-19 is, in reality, a reference to how much weight most of us gain while stuck in our abodes, gulping junk food, watching Netflix, and hoping to survive until 2021. After all, let’s be honest, if the apocalypse is nigh, does it really matter how many Twinkies I consume?
So, while commemorating “south of the border night” on my couch (a celebration in which I engage several nights a week), consisting of an extra-large helping of nachos and a Margarita (or two), I had to unbuckle my belt and was therefore painfully confronted with the fact that I was becoming a tad “thick around the middle.”
“Nah, not me,” thought I. After all, everyone knows that calories consumed to medicate feelings of sadness or anxiety don’t add pounds. Clearly, my belt shrunk. Hefting myself from the sofa like a nine-month pregnant woman struggling to rise, I waddled to the scale, only to be alarmed at the number flashing before me.
“NO! Can’t be,” said I, putting down the bean dip and wiping the melted cheese from my face, “Time for a new scale.”
“Honey,” I called out, seeking confirmation that I remained as svelte as a 27-year-old fitness trainer, “Am I putting on weight?”
“Honey? Did you hear me?” I bellowed again from the bathroom scale while contorting myself into various poses on the platform to lower the number. (None worked.)
From the kitchen, the garbage disposal activates, blasting forth an earsplitting racket; my wife shouting over the din, “Sorry dear, I can’t hear you. Talk to me later.”
Faced with an indisputable truth, I – being the motivator that I am – decided to immediately commence a plan to flatten my stomach. Eating fewer chips would be a good start, but I wasn’t quite “there” yet. Instead, opting to strengthen my arms and make flat my belly by pulling out timeworn exercise equipment stored in the back of the closet since the Carter administration. I lugged the “ab flattener” sit-up machine into the guest room, blew off the dust (coughed repeatedly), and located it in the center of the floor. Next, pushing aside old moth-ridden blankets, and beyond the tchotchkes in boxes, I yanked loose my ancient pull-up bar, secured it to the door jamb, and gave it a yank or two to ensure it could support my now-heftier bulk.
“Okay,” said I to myself, picturing six-pack abs within the week. “What is my strategy?”
Since small steps repeated regularly produce better results than larger steps done intermittently, I opted for a minor goal: ten sit-ups and one pull-up.
“Sure,” coaxed on my inner Mr. Atlas, “You can ace that.”
Because I, being an expert in goal setting of course, understood I needed to do this properly – and for the long-term; so, I donned gym shorts and a tank-top. (I then saw my reflection in the mirror and opted to return to a bulky, oversized t-shirt.) Wheezing like a church organ with torn baffles, I huffed and puffed through ten sit-ups; remaining prone on the carpet until my stomach muscles stopped cramping long enough for me to stand erect and approach the pull-up bar. Reaching above my head and grasping tightly the horizontal pole, I pictured pulling myself up and down like a whack-a-mole dodging hammers in a carnival game.
Reality unhappily was rather different.
Basically, I hung in place like clothing in a closet. Wiggling my feet did nothing. Trying to raise my chin didn’t lift the bulk of my body. Nothing happened, except, well, my arms felt like they were going to depart from my shoulders.
Disheartened, reality dawned on me, and I understood this was going to take some effort and time.
Fast forward: It’s been two months since I started my regular, rigorous, regimen and I’m proud to say I’m still doing it. I now without-fail complete 27 sit-ups every night and have added 17 push-ups. I won’t be competing in the Olympics anytime soon but I can, and do, three, count ‘em – three — chin-ups; as well as and one whole pull up also.
I have lowered my target, giving up on the idea of six-pack abs, hoping instead for a one-pack.
If the pandemic lasts another five or six years, I just might get there.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a professional speaker and founder of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com, where he can be contacted for coaching, consulting, and presentations. During this social distancing period, he is conducting monthly on-line workshops on setting goals and getting past what holds you back. You can find out more at www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com/intentions