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Wide Covid – The Pandemic Grazing Condition

Experience has thought me that for many of life’s challenges, food provides the perfect stopgap. Eat, eat some more and before you know it that storm cloud has rained itself out. Well, that was my motto until we found ourselves caught up in an infinite, dreary torrent we call the Covid pandemic.

Like seriously, endless lockdowns, followed by the five levels of miserableness, sure in all honesty, what else would you be doing if not eating.

But despair not, your struggles are shared, and chances are you are on route to gaining membership of the ‘Wide Covid” club. Yes, a distinguished collection of proud individuals existing across the globe who have experienced some aspect of widening due to a boredom related habit I suggest we call ‘Pandemic Grazing’.

Let me tell you something, I’m no stranger to the honeytrap that is overeating, my battles are cyclical. But this lockdown situation has taken me to new levels of weirdness. See I have done all the self-help, slim me down in ten days type of craic, so I know the drill.

I’ve got a black or white mentality, either eating absolutely bloody fantastic or it is a proper man boobs in a week type of feast. But never did I think I could ‘pandemic graze’ myself through enough corn cakes, rice cakes, popcorn, and bloody chickpeas to land myself a gut your prized potbellied pig would be proud of. 

“Just eat your three meals a day and you will be grand” is what my mother has been telling me since I was old enough to buy my own mars bars. Good advice in fairness, but stuck knee-deep in a pandemic kinda complicates the situation. This pandemic is endless, like seriously not a thing to do, zero distraction to drown out the seductive allure of the packet of 90 calorie chocolate bars you hid from yourself in the cornflakes box. Eating becomes like breathing, a completely unconscious reaction, I just do it.

Found Them – Photo by Stephen Sharpe

I know not everyone will identify with overeating corn cakes, hiding chocolate in the cornflakes box, but I know some will. But let’s be up straight, this ain’t a breaking news story, I ain’t expecting gasps of surprise that folk are stuffing themselves full of grub, pandemic grazing is a well-documented reality. Sure, I did my own research over the last week where I asked over forty people online had they struggled with their eating habits during the lockdown, over half said yes.

Rachel, a mother of three young boys is working from home due to current restrictions captured the ‘Pandemic Grazing’ frustration perfectly.

“I do wake up in the morning telling myself I’m not going to be eating outside my breakfast, lunch and dinner, I convince myself. I have my breakfast and then start picking on silly things, not even bad food. Then by late morning I just say feck it, I’ll start tomorrow. It’s crazy, I’ve been saying this since January, it’s now nearly the end of March and I’ve put on half a stone”.

I also respect those of you who have struggled with eating and weight gain but didn’t want our conversation to be mentioned and that’s cool too.

Photo by Stephen Sharpe

But let us not get all down and despairing, there is hope, hope at the end of what has possibly been the longest tunnel ever.  Very soon, Covid19, Long Covid and our milder variant Wide Covid will be just memories, tales to reminisce about as part of our surviving a pandemic story. Thankfully when we eventually see the back of Covid19, we will all have a story, our very own version of enduring a pandemic.

It is a struggle but let us try lessening the load, and I don’t mean the load of weight we have tallied during the lockdown. A load in the sense of disappointment, frustration and possibly even some self-loading that can accompany overeating and weight gain. It’s good to bring a bit of humour, a great way of offering a different perspective.  

Soon we will be back in the gym, playing sport and enjoying all the activities currently located on the wrong side of public health measures, we might even crave the stillness once back in the hustle-bustle of normality.

I am also aware that for a small minority, overeating can be a symptom of an eating disorder. If you or someone else is concerned about an eating disorder you can contact Bodywhys or Overeaters Anonymous for support.

Finally, to all my fellow Wide Coviders, keep trucking, the end is near.

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