The Day The World Changed

March 2020 I was in my office talking to my team about preparations we would have to make if we were going to work from home. The country was about to undertake nothing we had ever seen before. A new virus called Covid-19 had been discovered and it was believed it might be headed to the United States. While no one was in a panic we were worried because we had no idea what was about to happen. A few members of my team had begun to take extra precautions so we knew we should at least develop a plan if the situation got worse. We didn’t want to take any chances on getting sick in case this turned out to be serious. We knew we needed to develop a work from home plan, just in case.

The team decided we would learn the finer points of Microsoft Teams. I remember one meeting where the project lead was telling us about a feature. He kept going on and on and I was basically lost after the first sentence. Please note that I always speak up when I am confused but he was going so fast I could not even get a word in to say I was lost. Out of nowhere I lost it. I yelled out that no one knew what he was talking about and we would not be using this program this intensely. I was adamant that I just needed to know the basics. I have to tell you we laugh about this incident now for many reasons but at the time there was just silence. This was so out of character for me to yell that the room just fell silent. I have to say the team member held it together and basically ignored my madness and kept the class going. He knew that we needed to learn this and he was going to teach us. Kudos to my team.

Three days after we had that meeting Covid had hit American soil and it was serious. Correction it had already hit American soil but we were finally realizing how close to our actual homes this really was. People were beginning to die and there was no cure in sight. The country didn’t know how to stop or even slow down the spread of Covid-19. The panic and fear began to take over every aspect of our lives, with no one knowing exactly what they needed to do. Luckily the company we worked for made one call for us. Everyone would be working remote. The message came across on email that basically said “you will be working remotely so take everything you need from the office. We don’t know how long you will be working so don’t leave anything you might need”. Shit had just got real.

Everyone thought we would home for thirty days, and then we would be back to normal. There was no way we could go on for any length of time like this. We were sure this would blow over like SARS or Bird Flu. Thirty days later the situation was no better, in fact it was worse. The death toll kept climbing and then the entire country shut down. This was serious. My company issued a statement that said we would not be going back to the office at the end of the thirty days, in fact we would not be going back for at least six months. What the hell was going on? I know people were dying, but when I got the six month news it was like red ink on a clean white piece of paper. Whenever there was red ink on paper from a teacher that was never the “A++” pen. That was the “F” pen, the pen that wrote the notes telling you how to fix your mistakes. This is what this felt like to me. This felt like a huge mistake. This was an “F” on an already crappy month. Now our 30 days has turned into 6 months and we were being instructed to come get our things from the office at our scheduled time. We were told to clean out our offices and leave nothing behind. I was stunned, shocked, and so very very confused. To some this may seem trivial but everything I knew to be normal was being turned upside down. 

After I got set up at home I realized something. I was not going back to work for six months. Wow, six months. That felt like a lifetime to me. The pressure of being at home had caused us like the rest of the world to start ordering food. We were doing our part and keeping the restaurants going. That’s what I was telling myself. I was eating everything I could get my hands on because lets face it. I was stressed. I was beyond stressed. My back had begun to hurt. To clarify I have degenerative disk disorder so this was not a new pain. I had just been able to manage it by not letting my weight get crazy and moving my body. Since this lockdown I wasn’t doing anything but eating. Then something happened. My knee begun to hurt. So now I was some broken down lady on top of being trapped in my house. This was not looking good. Something had to give. 

I would like to tell you that I had some aha moment and I was like yes I want to lose weight. No, it was not that pretty. One morning my back hurt so bad I couldn’t get out of the bed. I literally rolled out of my bed in the most pain I had had in a long time then attempted to stand up. When I stood up my knee went out. When I say went out let me explain. I stood up in my mind, but my body did not come along for the ride. As I stood and the knee immediately went out, I fell. I did not fall pretty and I did not fall soft. I fell hard and fast and then I cried. How the hell did I let it get this bad. Not only was my back hurting but now I wouldn’t be able to walk. I think the worse part was that I had done this to myself. I couldn’t stop eating food so now I was too big to get out of bed. Crazy thing is I wasn’t even that big. Yes I was fat, but I wasn’t that fat in my mind. When I finally got up enough nerve to try and get out the bed again I gingerly walked myself into the bathroom. I knew there was something I needed to do. I needed to see how much I weighed. I stood on the scale and watched the number register and it wasn’t even that crazy to me. I was 5’9 and weighed 280 pounds. I didn’t think 280 pounds was so large that I couldn’t stand. Apparently I was wrong. I then looked in the mirror and decided I needed to do something with myself, and tomorrow was not going to work.

I remember going through the workday almost in a haze because I kept thinking “I fell down”. In one of my Teams chats someone had made the comment that we would not see each other for six months. That’s when that lightbulb went off. I guess I did have an aha moment. Someone had said six months. I was going to be home for six months. I decided that I could at least make some changes so when the six months was over I could go back to work and walk without my knee giving out. My motivation became to simply not fall down. To not be so big that my knee could no longer hold me up. I often talk about finding your motivation and I think people expect these wonderful moments that keep you going. Sometimes that is true, but sometimes the motivation is that you don’t want to be in your 40’s not able to walk. I needed to fix this.

In the coming entries you will find out how I fixed this by fixing one small thing at a time. How I’m losing the weight and keeping it off. You will see how I figured out what really mattered and challenged myself daily to simply be better than the day before.

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