5 Things You Can Do About Weight Gain During Quarantine
If you have noticed weight gain during quarantine, you are not alone.
Weight gain during the COVID-19 quarantine is so common. Our routines and access to food has changed so many aspects of our lives that it makes sense for our bodies to change too. Here are 5 things you can do about weight gain during quarantine.
Have you ever lived through a pandemic before? Me neither.
We are living in unprecedented times. While I don’t have a manual written on dealing with a pandemic, so many of the challenges we face now are similar to challenges our species has dealt with before.
Hear me loud and clear: expecting our bodies to remain exactly the same as we change almost everything about our lives is totally unreasonable.
“Yeah, but my neighbor hasn’t gained a pound!”
Yes, there will be outliers, but the vast majority of people have experienced a change in their body.
Here are some totally real reasons your body might be changing:
- You are working more hours than you were before;
- Your job is now solely on Zoom calls which doesn’t allow for any movement during the day;
- You may have less free time now that you are working and caring for your kids full time;
- You have lost your job and may be facing food insecurity;
- You may have lost the free time you had before the pandemic;
- You might not be able to safely exercise outside;
- Having difficulty finding your favorite foods at the grocery store can make your mind and body fear a potential lack of food; and/or
- Separation from family and friends can bring up emotions that are hard to deal with.
All of these reasons above (and more) can cause a situation where we eat more and move less. And I’m here to tell you that it is OK.
In all the time that our species has lived on this earth, this small time period is really small. It’s practically insignificant.
Here’s are 5 things that you should do if you have experienced weight gain during quarantine:
- Trust Your Body.
Your body is programmed to exist within a weight range. That doesn’t mean that your weight isn’t going to shift up and down at times, and a pandemic is a perfectly reasonable reason for a weight shift. Your body WILL settle in a range that is best for you IF you stay the course and don’t engage in restriction.
- Don’t Start A Restrictive Diet.
Want to know what will mess with your body’s internal weight range? Yup, it’s restrictive diets. You see, our bodies see dieting as a form of famine and will do anything to keep us alive: dieting will slow down your metabolic rate and increase cravings, leaving you hungrier and less able to use the energy you do consume.
- Do Some Meal Planning.
If the chaotic nature of quarantine has you grazing throughout the day, where you are not having meal and snack times, doing a little meal planning is a great strategy to make sure you’re eating enough. Grazing all day just isn’t satisfying because you never get to experience sitting down to a meal or snack on a plate in a pleasant environment. You don’t have to go from no planning to an elaborate plan. My advice: start with 4 different breakfast ideas so you can get your day off right and with energy to handle your day.
- Sit Down To Eat.
Eating while standing at your counter or while going from one room to the next does one thing really well: it tells you that you’re not really worthy of sitting down to eat.
Instead of telling me all the reasons you can’t possibly take 30 minutes out of your day to eat, answer this question honestly: how much time are you spending on social media every day? If you think it’s not that much, go check out your screen time usage. I’ll wait…..
OK, I’m betting most of you are spending at least 30 minutes each day scrolling through your feeds. Now, tell me, why is social media more important to you than nourishing your body? I’m not looking to guilt you here, but it’s important for you to start putting yourself higher on your to-do list.
- Move Your Body Every Day.
I’m not talking about intense workouts every day. But, just like the little experiment you did with social media and eating above, I’m pretty sure you can find 10 minutes a day to walk around the block, check out a free yoga class or do some strength work. Our bodies are meant for movement and quarantine has made us more sedentary.
Most people find that movement:
- Increases body confidence,
- decreases anxiety and stress hormones and
- improves sleep.
Do you hate exercise? No worries. This isn’t your average advice here. Throw all the rules and guidelines you’ve heard about exercise. For our purposes here, movement is anything that isn’t sedentary. Experiment. Be playful.
If you’re looking for a deeper understanding of my philosophy on exercise and movement, check out this other article here: 7 Simple Ways Exercise Can Make You Happy
If you’ve noticed your body has changed over the past few months, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and show yourself some grace. Your body knows what to do and it will find its right weight.
If you are routinely skipping breakfast because your mornings ar
e so busy with kids, work, etc, I want you to know that there is a way to eat breakfast without tons of prep time while avoiding getting stuck in a rut.
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Kelly Abramson MS, RD is a dietitian and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor who works with clients in Alexandria, VA and virtually via telehealth. She guides women as they break free from dieting to find joy in food and their bodies. Kelly blogs regularly at NpowerYou.com and has created a free e-book for download, “7 Steps to Overcome Stress Eating.”