I thought it was just me at first, then I noticed some celebrities and a couple of people I know seemed to have gained weight too. We were so caught up in dealing with Covid-19 that we didn’t realize that extra pounds are already creeping upon us. Like most people, the last thing I was worried about was weight gain because it wasn’t a concern before the pandemic. Yet here I am wondering how I’m going to deal with my BMI and weight gain woes under the new normal.
Covid 19 Quarantine and Weight Gain Culprits
A sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits are primary culprits of obesity and weight gain. This was something that we have successfully avoided during pre-pandemic times because we chose to live healthy. Unfortunately, the quarantine measures and the economic impact of Covid 19 brought lifestyle changes that affected our health negatively. In my case, my top 3 weight gain culprits are:
Being confined at home most of the time means less movement but not necessarily less work. I had to juggle parenting, homemaking, and office work but they all had to be done from home. This meant losing on physical activities from traveling to work, going to the bank, grocery, etc., and more time sitting on the desk.
Convenient but Unhealthy Meal Options
When things get really busy one of the things that gets sacrificed is home-cooked meals. After all it’s quicker to dial a number than to prep food and wash dishes afterward. Another convenient option is to heat frozen meals that taste like home cooked meals too. Unfortunately, these meals can be unhealthy or fatty and can lead to weight gain if consumed often.
Being on quarantine can really be stressful and it is normal for people to seek comfort in food when they feel stressed. Sadly, most comfort foods are those that are rich in fats, sugar, and calories. A perfect recipe for gaining weight. Since I have the tendency to give in to stress eating, I am not surprised to see a few pounds added to my weight.
Effects of BMI and Weight Gain on Overall Health
A person’s BMI and waist circumference are factors that help assess the risk for diseases like heart ailments, diabetes, gallstones, etc. The BMI estimates the amount of body fat in your body and help determine if you are overweight or obese. Don’t fret yet if you’ve gained weight during the quarantine, check if your BMI levels are still within normal levels. If it’s normal then all you have to do is maintain your weight. If you are bordering on overweight or you’ve already crossed the line, then you need to take control of your numbers otherwise your health might suffer.
“Individuals with obesity were impacted the most — and that’s what we were afraid of,” said Emily Flanagan, an author of the study and postdoctoral fellow at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Weight Gain and Stress Eating Are Downside of Pandemic Life – The New York Times (nytimes.com)
Aside from the said health risks, gaining weight can also have a negative effect on one’s esteem or mental health. Weight gain has borne out of stress eating and reduced physical activities can make you feel sad or even depressed. It can also be depressing when your clothes don’t fit anymore or when people make a big issue out of your weight gain.
Taking Control of My BMI and Weight Figures
The vaccines are being rolled out already and with that is our hope that this crisis will be over soon. But since the new normal is going to be around for quite a while, we also need to take new normal measures to deal with weight gain. My first step is to make an effort to control unhealthy eating habits. Ideally, I need to find a healthier way to deal with stress instead of eating. I also need to manage and calculate my calorie intake to ensure that my weight is kept in check.
“A few pounds short term may not make a difference. It could be fluid. It might be just a little weight gain while we establish new routines. Obviously, the more weight we gain and the longer it’s maintained, the more it affects our health,” says Dr. Hensrud. Packing on pounds during COVID-19 and how to turn it around – Mayo Clinic News Network
Another step I need to take is to find time for physical activities and burn the extra calories I gained in the past year. Given that fitness centers are still closed and quarantine measures are still in place, I simply need to be creative with it. Perhaps I can work on incorporating my household chores and playtime with kids into a full fitness routine.