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The quarantine restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic may have been the culprit for why some people have gained weight. Interestingly, a new trend has sprouted related to pandemic weight gain. Often called “Quarantine 15,” this emerging concept refers to the number of pounds gained in the middle of the pandemic. Some people have turned to various solutions like natural remedies to help with weight loss. Others have considered surgery to help reduce weight. Still, others maintained sufficient physical activity by using fitness trackers to help monitor and control their weight. These devices may require secure connections to help protect their confidential health information.
Before considering a weight loss plan, knowing the possible causes of pandemic weight gain should be important information for you to have. This article talks about the pandemic-related factors that can lead to weight gain.
Factors Causing Pandemic Weight Gain
Various factors contribute to pandemic weight gain, such as the following:
Sedentary Lifestyle Due to Quarantine Restrictions
Lockdown restrictions implemented through government initiatives to minimize or prevent the spread of the virus caused many people to remain in their homes for long periods.
If most of your daily activities before the lockdown involved going outside and interacting with people, those restrictions might have forced you to remain inactive inside your house most of the time.
This period of inactivity could lead to a sedentary lifestyle. Lying down while eating, playing video games, watching television, or spending time online or on social media for long periods constitute a sedentary lifestyle.
A 2020 study analyzed physical activity among U.S. adults during the lockdown period. The study mentioned that physical activity levels among previously active participants dropped by 32.3%.
Some pandemic-related factors contributing to a sedentary lifestyle include the closure of public facilities and social gathering areas, working from home, online gaming, and online shopping.
A largely inactive lifestyle may eventually lead to boredom. This situation can further result in pandemic-related depression or overeating that leads to weight gain.
Pandemic-Related Depression and Stress
Being unable to perform some of the daily tasks you used to do pre-pandemic may affect your mental health.
Suppose you were used to meeting up with colleagues over coffee after work every week. In that case, you may have experienced some difficulty adjusting to not socializing anymore, and you started getting stressed over it.
Situations like these may increase depression and anxiety levels. If you continue having these depressive episodes, consider consulting a therapist or talking to a close, trusted friend or family member.
In some cases, individuals may attempt to cope with depression and stress through emotional eating.
This behavior could be your body’s response to negative emotions, suggesting that emotional eating may be linked to depression and the eventual development of obesity.
In addition, individuals struggling with mental health due to the pandemic may have difficulties finding the motivation to perform various activities to counter the sedentary lifestyle.
For example, depression can make you unmotivated to leave your bed and perform some physical activity or exercise.
Increased Food Intake
At times, emotional eating may get so out of hand that you may start consuming more food than usual. Increased food consumption may lead to weight gain. Thus it is essential to have proper diet monitoring and exercises such as brisk walking, sciatica stretches, biking, etc.
Factors like working from home and lack of physical activities may lead to pandemic-induced overeating.
If you worked in an office before, you may have noticed that you do not usually eat from time to time at your table. Instead, you are given timed breaks to eat lunch or snacks.
However, in a home-based work arrangement, office rules regarding food consumption do not have to apply. You may be encouraged to eat anytime you like in this arrangement.
What may potentially encourage this behavior of increasing food intake is your proximity to the kitchen or refrigerator. Having these places nearby means you have easy access to food that you can grab and prepare anytime.
Sometimes, you may be so engrossed in work that you no longer mind that you are already eating more than you should. Distracted eating or paying no attention to the food you consume may cause you to eat more.
When you have easy access to food, especially junk food, the chances of distracted eating may increase.
Consider rearranging your home-based workplace to be a little farther away from the kitchen or refrigerator to address this situation.
Additionally, you may implement home rules specifying that eating is only permitted at the dining table instead of your work table.
Implementing either of these solutions would require some discipline on your part. However, if you do manage, you can lessen the chances of gaining weight during the pandemic.
Exercise provides various benefits to your physical and mental wellbeing. In one study, the researchers mentioned that exercise may improve clinical outcomes in people with severe mental illness (SMI).
The authors of the study also mentioned that the desirable outcomes of exercise include improving mood, reducing stress, and losing weight.
However, depression, stress, and fatigue may restrict one’s participation in exercise. Addressing these barriers may be one solution to encourage exercise and physical activity.
In some cases, you may have to seek professional support to identify your exercise goals and create a game plan to achieve them.
Is your goal to increase energy? Do you need to build up your muscles? Are you trying to lose weight? A professional may help you design an exercise program specific to your goals.
The COVID-19 pandemic has restricted most people’s physical activities and forced them to stay in their homes. For many of them, this situation has led to a lifestyle that encourages weight gain.
However, there are solutions to address the factors that lead to pandemic weight gain. These solutions may involve some initiative and discipline on your part or may require the assistance of a professional.
Consult a therapist or psychologist if you believe you are experiencing depression or stress due to the pandemic.
Regarding food intake, consult a nutritionist or dietician for an appropriate diet plan that may also help with weight loss.
You can also enlist the help of a certified exercise or fitness trainer. They can create an exercise program to motivate you to get into a more active lifestyle.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s).
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