Even before the Covid pandemic, the cold/darker months of December through mid March present a challenge for controlling weight, as to some extent, these months provide a “lock-down” period of time when we are often in our homes for many more hours than usual. The pandemic took hold of us starting last March, enforcing more time at home, but the impending spring, summer and fall months in 2020 afforded us the opportunity to get outside and walk, hike, bicycle, etc. Yes, our vacations were much different than the usual but at least in those 9 months we were not as “locked down”.
The start of 2021 has not been much different than 2020 in terms of being locked down because of the virus. If anything, things are a bit worse as the number of hospitalizations, deaths and illness seem to be spiking. And as mentioned, the cold and dark is further adding to us being “locked down”.
There are a number of reasons why being “locked down” negatively impacts our weight control efforts. Here are a few:
- The stress of having our children still at home and trying to navigate around work and family responsibilities leads to seeking immediate gratification food items.
- Being at home places us right in front of our pantries and refrigerator that at times, beckons us to partake of the “goodies”.
- Boredom will lead to eating and drinking alcohol
- There is not much “fun” going on so baking and preparing fun meals/desserts will further derail our weight control efforts
- Sadness/depression will lead to being less active and perhaps seeking alcohol as a “treatment”
We cannot change the course of the pandemic or magically make these months warmer and brighter. However, what we can do is this: Change the mind-set to look at this as an opportunity to jump-start your weight control efforts. With no commuting to work, there is more time for exercise, planning meals, shopping for the right foods etc.
A big joke has been referring to the weight gain that is occurring during the pandemic as the “Covid____ (fill in the blank with the weight gain that occurred during the pandemic). This is akin to the “Freshman ____” which is the weight gain that first year college kids experience due to the drinking and partying that occurs in college.
Let’s all try to change the narrative to the “Covid NEGATIVE ____”, meaning how much weight we are losing during the lock down. Being at a healthier/happier weight will make life lots better when we are all able to come out of hibernation and enjoy our old lives again.