The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down and affected practically every life on the planet. Mental health services have been hit particularly hard, and many people have experienced COVID weight gain. The trending hashtag #COVID20 implies that a lot of people have experienced pandemic weight gain.
Catching the disease and getting hospitalized have been the primary fears and concerns. The mental strain has also created serious problems, which have not received as much attention. Mental strain can impact your health in many ways. It can make you depressed and anxious, and these are bad enough by themselves. But they can also lead to bad nutrition choices, worse sleeping habits, and can even make you less likely to take important precautions.
Keep reading to find out more about health and nutrition in a post-COVID world.
- COVID and Mental Health
- Reframe Your COVID Weight Gain
- Eating Habits and Weight Gain
- Embrace Change as a Way of Life
COVID and Mental Health
It’s okay if you gained a little weight during the lockdowns. Most people stayed inside more, and eating is a common response to stress. Don’t sweat it if you’ve gained a few pounds. Try to keep your focus on positive things until the pandemic is over. An upbeat attitude will also help you lose weight. Maintaining proper mental hygiene has a positive impact on your immune system, sleep, and personal outlook, in addition to helping you lose weight. Staying safe and healthy is always important, but even more important right now.
Reframe Your COVID Weight Gain
Many doctors and health specialists are concerned about COVID and mental health. Many people have gained weight over the last year. If this describes you, don’t get down on yourself. You’ve probably experienced some positive changes over the last year, too. Many have taken advantage of the downtime to learn new skills, get a new job, or learn new ways to cope with stress and difficult situations. It’s also been an opportunity to spend more quality time with family. Let’s focus on the positive and try to build off of the good changes we’ve made.
Instead of trying to fit into old clothes, now is a good time for some retail therapy. Feeling good about yourself is one of the best facilitators of building good habits, so consider buying some new clothes that will flatter your new appearance. As you adjust to the new you, you’ll be in the right position to embrace change and look to the future.
Many Americans have experienced weight gain amid COVID-19. It’s okay if you didn’t use the lockdowns to get into the best shape of your life. There was a lot of uncertainty and fear about the future, and a lot of people got really sick. Some of them are still experiencing symptoms, and while the epidemic is fading, it is still going on. So if you went up a pant size, that’s okay.
Eating Habits and Weight Gain
One of the most common questions I get about workouts is: why do I gain weight when I exercise? Many factors can lead to weight gain, even if you’re exercising more. Exercise can stimulate your appetite and lead to more eating, or you may simply feel like you can eat more because you’re exercising. Also, after the first few weeks, you will start to build muscle. This can result in you adding a few pounds. But don’t despair! Muscle is much more compact than fat, so if you’re gaining weight from muscle, you can still slim down your waistline. And over time, your muscle gain will slow down but your fat loss will not. So just keep at it and you’ll get stronger and make progress toward your ideal body composition.
Some people are concerned that eating at night will cause weight gain. The phrase “eat late, gain weight” is commonly heard in weight loss circles. The good news is that eating at night doesn’t by itself increase the amount of weight you may gain. But at night you are more likely to be tired or bored, which can decrease your willpower. Distracted eating can add a large amount of calories to your daily intake, and this kind of behavior is more common at night. Heavy foods can take three or four hours to digest, and sleep slows down digestion. Your body temperature also rises during the digestion process. All of these side effects of eating can reduce the quality and duration of your sleep.
Embrace Change as a Way of Life
Long-term stress from the pandemic can make it harder to stay in control. Tools from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help you manage your fears and stay on top of your life. Dealing with the effects of COVID-19 emotions is no small task, but when you manage your expectations and focus on the next step, you can reduce your anxiety and increase your mental wellbeing.
Understand that you are not alone in this and that today is a new day to make small positive changes, but hey, you are here and survived a pandemic! That’s the most important thing to remember. Focusing on your total wellness is the best way to stay healthy, and staying healthy will help you reach all of your other goals. Life should be fun, exciting, and full of rich experiences. That’s why I use the wellness wheel to keep myself balanced and moving forward.
There are a lot of great resources that can help you stay organized and feeling great about your life. Noom is one of my favorite apps that I use to keep track of my diet and nutrition. It’s got powerful tools and a proven track record of success. Using it can help you create good habits that will improve your health and get you back to normal in an easy and pleasant way.
Now that summer is here, I recommend you focus on your mental health. Be kind to yourself, and remember that you’ve made it through the worst of a global crisis. Take some time to feel good about yourself as you are right now. Life is about enjoying every step of the journey.