weight mental health

COVID-19 has disrupted lives around the globe and created a new “normal” that many have had to adapt to. And that probably includes the number on the scales.

From baking banana bread to cancelled activities, many of us have gained weight during lockdown.

People all around the world have been confined indoors. So, it’s inevitable that some of us have put on a bit of timber.

When the kitchen is only a few feet away from the couch, exercise regimes go out the window.

Many of us have turned to baking to pass the time. So it’s no wonder we’ve piled on the pounds.

For those who feel guilty, and especially to those suffering from an eating disorder, we should see the quarantine weight gain as an opportunity to learn how to accept and embrace our body.

Why is food so comforting?

Food is not just fuel, but is something to be enjoyed when we’re happy, sad, stressed, and even bored. Eating is a recognised coping mechanism, and reaching out to foods that are familiar to us can be reassuring – especially during these uncertain times we’re living in.

Scientific research has indicated that eating delicious food activates certain chemicals in the brain that makes us happy. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30595479/).

Considering as well that traditional forms of self-care, such as therapy or exercising at the gym, are either too expensive or out of reach with the second lockdown, food is also easily obtainable.

If it’s McDonald’s, ice-cream, or the greasiest pizza alive, if that’s what you need to cope and make you feel better, then it’s entirely fine to indulge.

What do food cravings mean?

Do food cravings actually mean anything? Yes. In fact, it’s better known as eating intuitively. This might feel like uncharted waters for some who are used to diets, or eating within a certain caloric framework. But the pandemic has given an opening, especially to those with an unhealthy mindset, to establish a better relationship with food and your body.

What’s important is to pay attention to the cravings and signals your body sends to you and give it what it needs, whether that’s more food or a few cookies. Our bodies are smarter than we think.

Strictly eating foods with minimal calories and restricting might feel like the best course of action at the time, but in the long run will only make things worse.

Staying fit at home

Depending on what the situation is like where you live, gyms might be closed once again, forcing you with no other option but to work out at home or jog around the park.

While it feels like a setback, it’s still worth moving around. Even if it’s not as intense as our normal exercise regimens, staying fit at home or going for a walk is still effective in channelling that restless energy, and getting those amazing endorphins that our brains love. Luckily, we live in an age where there’s plenty of home workout videos or programs to follow on YouTube.

During this time, it’s also worth to assess our relationship with exercise.

Do we find ourselves depending on it to achieve a certain figure? Is it a way to punish ourselves for having that Krispy Kreme last night? If so, this break from our normal routine might be valuable to realign our priorities and thinking.

Think of the Bigger Picture

At the end of the day, lockdown weight gain is just as inevitable as weight loss. Like the pandemic, it’s only temporary.

Although controlling what we eat and the number on the scale is recognised to give us some semblance of control during these unsure times, this rigid way of thinking will only serves to severely hurt our relationship with food – well after the pandemic goes away.

What’s also worth mentioning is that if all we got out of the pandemic was a couple of kilograms, we should consider ourselves lucky.

How SupportRoom can help

SupportRoom is a digital behavioural technology healthcare company.

SupportRoom platform connects individual clients with a network of licensed therapists through an easy to use and HIPAA compliant, web and mobile platform.

With SupportRoom clients can send text, videos and voice messages anytime and from anywhere. All our therapists are fully qualified and offer confidential, convenient online therapy. Get access to therapy, wherever & whenever you need it. SupportRoom’s mission is to make therapy available, affordable and  provide ongoing support for all.

We also offer a digital behavioral technology healthcare platform for businesses and EAP. SupportRoom connects employees with therapists in the moment.


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