This post is pretty different from what I am used to writing because it is based on the actual situation related to the coronavirus pandemic and increasing numbers of infected people throughout the world. To our concern, many new cases and deaths in the US per day as well as in my home country Mexico. Thank God in Piedras Negras and Eagle Pass there has been no type of health crisis due to the coronavirus.
Before delving into this delicate topic, I would like to let you know that I am completely aware that every person is different. Therefore people confront difficulties and setbacks differently, so I completely respect and honor any type of response to this pandemic as long as it regards your local and health authorities. Please do not take it personally if you feel like thinking about weight loss or gain during these difficult times is just too much!
Coronavirus and weight gain, A hot topic right now
These past weeks I've seen all over the social media jokes and memes related to weight gain due to coronavirus, there's different postures, either people hating the idea of speaking about anything related to weight loss due to the quarantine or people joking about the fact on how much weight they have picked up since they started their isolation.
In my honest opinion, there is no correct way to face this situation, there are healthy and unhealthy ways to face the coronavirus pandemic concerning body weight, and of course, my suggestion would be to try to focus on doing it the healthy way.
A reason for picking up some extra pounds is the fact that nowadays when we go to the grocery store, we tend to buy much more food than usual to avoid having to go out that frequently. This overload of food options available at home also represents an added temptation to eat more and more regularly.
There is nothing wrong with binge-watching your favorite Netflix series, but if it is essential to have a snack aside, then try a healthy snack, whichever you like, but try it instead of the ice cream and popcorn. According to Bloomberg, sales of popcorn, pretzels, and chips rose around 48%, 47%, and over 30% respectively* during these last few weeks
You should also keep in mind that the stress this pandemic has generated on individuals, society, and the world is an enemy for weight in terms of the tendency of our bodies to increase body fat during stressful situations in which cortisol levels spike up. So this is another explanation for picking up extra weight, but it is also an excellent reason to try to stay as healthy as possible. Use these cortisol spikes to be more active, which is why your body produces it, and it enters the state of “fight or flight.”
People who are reluctant to take care of their body weight during this pandemic do it with the excuse of anxiety and need of some kind of comfort during these difficult times, and I agree entirely, but why should the focus be food? Why not something that besides helping with those anxieties and stress also brings a positive effect on the medium and long term?
Exercise is your best ally
So instead of going to the fridge to see what you can eat because of boredom and anxiety try to do some physical activity, there is nothing specific to be done. Even less when considering it is hard to go outside. Still, at home, in your garden or vicinity, you can try to do some exercise, walking, jogging running or even cycling, it is the best moment to dust off our towel hangers aka elliptical!
Why not, isn't one of our most common complaints about not exercising lack of time due to work, kids, school, etc.? Well, now most of us have extra time to do this kind of activity, so lets put aside the excuses and stay at home but stay or become active!
Homemade food to the rescue
We need to keep in mind another factor that we can take to our advantage, and that is home cooking instead of restaurant and fast food-based meals since the availability of fast food is not as easy as usual this plays to our advantage to prepare our own meals more healthily, we can actually know precisely what and how much calories and carbohydrates are eating on each meal so let's use this to our favor. It is said and predicted that the tendency of eating at home might outlast the pandemic.
If you ask yourself why it is relevant to try to eat healthy during this pandemic, the most important reason is to have an immune system that is working as good as possible and healthy eating is one of the many ways to try to achieve this. And another equally important reason for staying healthy or even losing weight is that it has been demonstrated that obesity is an independent risk factor for complications in COVID 19 infected patients. Read more about this in our article.
Tips for a healthy quarantine
Finally, we share tips to stay healthy and avoid gaining weight during the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine:
- Avoid binge eating or snacking if you are watching your Netflix series, and you want to snack then try something healthy (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc. Note: don’t forget that they won’t stack up calories if you overeat them, check their nutritional value properties in this article: Can I have gastric sleeve surgery if I am vegan or vegetarian?
- On the same topic, avoid eating anything out of the bag if you can't resist the temptation of having some chips, place them on a plate, and leave the bag in the pantry. If you ever feel it is just too little, I suggest you check the calories per portion of the product, and you'll be surprised.
- If you feel anxious, bored, or stressed, find any physical activity that you would like to try. This is a much more effective way to deal with these mental challenges.
- You can even share your plans with the rest of the family and make it a family moment.
- If you have any type of video game that involves physical activity, it is also a great way to stay active and enjoy with the family. There are several options from different platforms like Xbox Kinect, Nintendo switch, etc. (There are plenty of options out there like just dance, punch out, Wii fit, etc.) I'll leave a link as a reference.
- Make sure to sleep properly, the fact that you do not have your regular work/life schedule should not be a reason to change your sleeping habits, make sure to sleep at least 7 hours per day. Remember that sleep deprivation also increases cortisol levels and, therefore, body weight by fatty tissue storage.
- Since you might be buying more food than usual, try no to have it all in your pantry, only place what you will use/need for the week, and the rest leave it somewhere else in your house.
- Last but not least, cut or do not increase alcohol consumption, this has been apparently also a tendency during this coronavirus pandemic.