But in this sentence "I was looking more svelte and less swelte
than I am today" swelte (= swelt ?) seems to have a different meaning from svelte...
Quite an odd sentence, isn't it? The grammar is off, not to mention the spelling.
I believe the writer/speaker was trying to express this,
I was more svelte in the past--that is, less svelte than I am today. I am still svelte today, but not as svelte as I was a long time ago.
All the best,
It could be. It's hard to guess what's going on in other people's minds. The past continuous couldn'be used here, of course. BTW, would you say
"I am missing my mother." instead of "I miss my mother."? I have heard and read similar constructions quite often, but I wouldn't say it myself.