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How Has the Pandemic Affected Your Weight and How Will You Fix It?

Pile of masks for COVID-19 protection scattered around after enduring the pandemic for over a year and many have gained unwanted excess weight

There was a stunning statistic from February 2021 about the Covid pandemic and how it has affected people’s weight. It was estimated that upwards of 40% of US adults had gained unwanted weight – an average of 42 pounds! But why? Our weight is directly correlated to several life events and their emotional effects, like:

  • Stress. During the pandemic many of us were decidedly more stressed out. Stress can release additional cortisol into the blood which, in turn, can make us eat more. The result is often weight gain.
  • Diet. Many of us liberalized our diets and drinking habits during the pandemic. While the memes of increased drinking during the pandemic made people laugh across the Internet, it represents a very serious concern both to mental and physical health.
  • Exercise. There was a definite loss of motivation to exercise during pandemic time. Not only did many of us not even want to (or could) leave our homes, but there were fewer reasons to “look good” – no weddings or get-togethers, no in-person work, and Zoom calls from the shoulders up.

What Is the Solution?

As we start to return to normal life, we can see that the landscape of what is normal today is quite different from what we thought before. However, we must train ourselves to rethink and reshape those environments that create fulfillment and perspective.

The solution requires a stepwise approach. In fact, going full-bore in the gym, starving ourselves and other extreme measures are detrimental to our long-term health and weight loss. Start small by eliminating just one overindulgent food that you really shouldn’t be having every day. Maybe it’s the desert you have after dinner or the soda during the day.

You can then move on to reducing your portion sizes and then start a brisk walk each day, slowly moving up to a jog or run. Most importantly, do not deprive yourself of the things you enjoy, rather moderate the least helpful habits that you may have developed or redeveloped. We can worry about eliminating them next.

You may also wish to restore your formerly healthier life by enlisting a friend or a loved one in the same position. It’s very difficult to make significant changes in your life alone, especially during stressful times. Therefore, having friends or family members join you on this journey makes it more effective and more enjoyable as well.

Of course, if you are a bariatric patient, use your bariatric surgeon and their practice as a resource for getting back on track. Remember that their success is tied to yours, and they want to help. They’ve also committed to you for a lifetime of support. Use that resource to help ensure you keep up with your health and weight.

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