COVID Weight Gain? You're not alone.

Updated: Apr 7

  • Physicians say they are seeing more people reporting unexpected weight gain during the pandemic.

  • Stress eating, snacking out of boredom, challenges finding healthy food, and more time spent sedentary are contributing to weight management challenges.

  • Additionally increased stress from the pandemic and recession can make it difficult for people to focus on healthy eating and working out.

  • Exercise facilities closed.

Strategies for shedding pounds

Dr. Morton and Dr. Viana provided several tips to support a weight management program: (

  • Create a daily routine.

  • Set a daily wake-up time and bed time.

  • Plan your meals ahead, if you can.

  • Dress up for work every morning—if you wear sweatpants or other loose-fitting clothes every day, it’s easier to ignore weight gain.

  • Renew your interest in food and cooking. If you are home more than usual, you might have time to learn more about cooking healthy foods. “When you are eating foods you like, you can learn to get a taste of fullness from taste as opposed to only the quantity of food,” Dr. Morton says.

  • It might be helpful to cook a week’s worth of meals (or at least the protein parts of the meals) in one session.

  • Be sure to include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.

  • Think about how you are eating.

  • Control your portions. Try using a salad plate instead of a dinner plate. You can also drink a big glass of water before you eat, then wait about 15 minutes to see if you're still hungry.

  • Eat proteins first, because they will make you feel fuller. Too many carbohydrates can cause swings in blood sugar and leave you feeling like you have less control over your hunger.

  • Shop carefully. If you think you’ll eat a whole package of cookies in one sitting, don’t buy them.

  • Schedule regular exercise. If social distancing keeps you from your usual gym session or exercise classes, try other forms of activity, such as hiking or an online workout class. Exercise is not the main factor for weight loss, but it plays a role in keeping weight off once you lose it, Dr. Viana says. Weight loss can also help with mood and joint pain, adds Dr. Morton.


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