Lockdowns can bring out the best and the worst in a person. Take me for example. I had no problem hunkering down and writing for a least an hour each day. I also had no problem hunkering down and snacking every evening. Orville Redenbacher’s Movie Theater Butter Popcorn Classic was my go-to snack. OMG. I don’t need to tell you how many calories or grams of fat there are in each bag. In fact, I don’t really know because I didn’t want to know. It was a delicious and satisfying combination of salt and fat. The whole point of my indulgence. The only way I thought I could maintain my creative writing during lockdown.

While both habits fed my need for comfort, I kept praising myself for my incredible discipline in starting a new novel. I stuck to the program come hell or high water yet avoided at all costs looking in the mirror at my clothing-free body. Discipline has its perks. My creative goals were off the charts; my mind was expanding like never before, but my body was enlarging in all the wrong places.

The DK Diet

Believing the lockdowns would be over in the new year—at which time I’d make some much-needed resolutions—I allowed myself to continue indulging in comfort food till the ball dropped in Times Square. Or until the NFL Playoffs. Wait, what? What the heck does football have to do with my eating habits?

While continuing to munch on Orville’s buttery kernels through the first week of January, I just happened to be watching one of dozens of sports shows previewing teams and players who had made it to the post season. One segment had a feature on Seattle Seahawks’ Wide Receiver DK Metcalf. For those of you not familiar with him, he’s known for his physical prowess on the field as well as his chiseled physique (which includes a perfect six-pack). He not only catches impossible passes from QB Russell Wilson, but he also catches the eyes of the opposite sex. In fact, I’ll bet a few male football fans have a “man crush” on him!

As I popped one last kernel of corn into my mouth, I watched in awe at his rigorous workouts and strict diet. Genetics, of course, have played a huge part in his propensity to look like Adonis, but no one gets to look that good without a lot of hard physical work.

And that was the turning point for me. That was all it took to turn me around from my Covid Comfort Zone. No more relying on fat and sugar to get me through the night. The next day—January 6—I began a variation of the DK Diet, giving up bread, processed foods, 90 percent sugar (I’ll have a pinch of unrefined brown sugar on my oatmeal) and unhealthful snacks. Mind you, I have always been in good shape, been active all my life and have been weight training for decades. Clearly, I am not whimsically thinking I can have the body of a 23-year-old professional football player, but I can be darn sure I’ll be in the best shape for someone my age!

Flatten the Curve

So, I have to thank DK for the inspiration and myself for the determination and discipline to flatten the curve of my stomach in these waning Covid days. Sadly, the older I get, the harder it is to lose weight and get back in shape. But I’ll be damned if I won’t try. And it’s not that difficult to eat clean. It just takes some creativity, which I have plenty of! That, and a couple of Cutie tangerines to keep me writing through the night!