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Body image post-covid

Content warning: discussion of body dysmorphia, weight loss.

I stopped testing positive for covid a while ago, but I’ve still been feeling very low-energy. I measure my activity on my Apple Watch - yes, I’m that person - and I haven’t managed to close my activity rings for weeks. Correspondingly, I’m pretty sure I’ve been gaining weight.

I’ve never felt very comfortable with my body: I’ve been much bigger than most of the people around me for most of my life. I’m 6’4” tall and, unlike many tall people, look like I’ve been proportionally enlarged in Photoshop. Over the last few years, thanks in no small part to the trauma surrounding caring for my mother and her subsequent loss, as well as the unfortunate effects of aging, those proportions have been softening.

I wish I could be smaller. Getting fitter and losing weight is at least somewhat within my control, but the overall proportions of my body - that height, the bigness of me - is something I have to live with. I don’t enjoy it. When I was much younger, I wanted to hurt myself over it. Now it’s more of a background discomfort, which sometimes comes into the foreground when I have to go shopping for clothes or catch myself in a full-length mirror. I move awkwardly and look awkward.

Should I be more comfortable in my own skin now that I’m rapidly approaching my mid-forties? Probably. It’s not a place I’ve ever managed to get to. It particularly doesn’t feel great after a long period of illness-related inactivity, but I’m digging deep to try and get over my discomfort and concentrate on the bits that relate to my health.

Covid really sucks; I hope to never get it again. I’m still wearing an N95 mask indoors, and I hope you are too. I’ve checked in with a few friends who are also recovering from it, and most of them are also still in this low-energy phase. Our brains aren’t completely back up and running, but we’re grateful to at least be breathing easily. I certainly feel that it pushed me off-track in a way that I’ll be feeling for months.

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