Research has shown that some people may have gained more than 3 pounds during quarantine last month when the American government decided to go into lockdown to slow down the spread of covid 19.
A research team reviewed nearly 7,500 weight measurements of 269 participants between February 1 and June 1, 2020, according to a letter from the researchers published at the JAMA Network Open. (1)
Participants were part of the Health eHeart Study, and their weight was measured using smart scales connected to Bluetooth.
‘On average, they gained about 1,3 pounds every 10 days or 3,9 pounds per month during the lockdown,’ said cardiologist Dr. Gregory Marcus, one of the study’s authors and a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
Why do people gain weight during the pandemic?
This weight gain had nothing to do with location or comorbidity, research has shown.
The authors of the study said that being locked in a house had the effect of reducing the number of steps during the day and increasing overeating.
These two relevant factors agree with what experts think is the reason for the increased obesity during the pandemic.
CNN’s health and nutrition associate Lisa Dreyer cites as a problem that many had food at hand during this stressful time.
During the lockdown, many turned to high-calorie foods such as sweets or pizza to relieve stress when little else can be done or when they have nothing to look forward to, and working from home allows easy access to food all day long.
Just as the pandemic changed eating habits, it also affected exercise habits, says Dr. Carolyn Epovien, co-director of the Center for Weight Management and Wellness in Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Many relied on gyms, and they were closed. In addition, people have lost out on daily physical activities – such as walking from the parking lot to the office, which is why people simply do not have the same level of physical activity as before.
If you’re reading this and thinking about your own habits you’ve acquired over the past year, Dreyer says it’s not time to blame yourself.
‘Definitely take a break. Eating is one of life’s pleasures, and the pandemic was so stressful, it’s understandable that we ate more of our favorite fast foods – more often and in larger quantities.’
However, it is important to recognize the unwanted health consequences of quarantine, the study authors said. They noted that their results show that there is a need for strategies to mitigate fattening, while local authorities are considering their responses to covid 19 and future pandemics.
What’s worse, obesity or being overweight can increase the risk of severe covid 19 disease, and obesity, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, potentially triples the risk of hospitalization because of the virus.
With all this in mind, Dreyer said there are ways to speed up your metabolism, correct bad habits, and lose weight – even during the pandemic:
How to Lose Weight During Pandemic:
1. Eat smaller meals, more often
Have three meals and three snacks each day, three to four hours apart.
Never skip meals; have something on hand that you can ‘bite’ on when you’re too busy to stop and eat.
Try to be consistent with meal times and snacks.
2. Eat foods high in proteins
Aim to have at least 85 grams of protein per meal.
3. Start lifting weights
Gradually start lifting weights. Light weight lifting will help you maintain muscle mass, increase metabolism and tone while losing weight.
4. Walk more
Start walking. A brisk walk of at least 30 minutes each day boosts your metabolism and helps you burn extra calories.
5. Reduce stress
Find alternatives to relieve stress. Sometimes you may want to indulge in sweets, but a hot bath or a walk around the block can equally relieve stress.
And don’t eat while watching TV.