The other day, I heard a disturbing statistic that suggested that at the height of our COVID-19 lockdown, some people were gaining .5lbs a week. Lightly called the COVID 19, it is indeed a real problem that some have had to deal with during this pandemic. This week, I would like to address this issue.
For many of those who work desk jobs, myself included, we have either moved to working from home or in some capacity are still working from our offices. The problem for many who may work from home, we are not moving nearly as much as we were pre pandemic. No trips to water cooler, no need to walk over to the copier, no need to get out of our pajamas really. The Boston Globe on April 9, 2021 pointed to the Gen Z and Millenials struggling the most with weight gain. Millenials were cited to have gained an average of 41 lbs while Gen Z’s gained around and average of 28lbs. “The American Psychological Association’s “Stress in America” poll, conducted in late February, found that 42 percent of people reported they had become heavier than they intended during the previous year. Those people gained an average of 29 pounds, with 10 percent gaining more than 50“(Boston Globe 2021). In an article from the University of Missouri, they present numbers that roughly corroborate with what the Boston Globe presented, appropriate to this discussion, the University of Missouri reached out to their social media folowers to see what their health habits looked like during COVID-19. They found that 68% were snacking more; 74% were cooking at home more;61% were ordering out less; 54% were exercising less and 54% had gained weight.
So what is going on? We are more stressed, our gyms were closed/ our routines were disrupted and we are not getting enough sleep. The University of Missouri offers this “Working a full-time job while educating your children and caring for (wrangling) other family members at home is stressful — period. You don’t need to feel bad about gaining a few extra pounds or apologize for turning to comfort foods (looking at you, pinot gris) to get by“.
In my practice as a clinician, I am often asking why and while the above seems pretty obvious, we are creature of habit and some who were really relying on their schedules to keep them holding on are falling apart. Over the last year, I have watched incidents of anxiety, depression, suicidality and anti social behaviors skyrocket in presenting sessions. What I have found in the last year that COVID 19 has been a physical health and mental health dumpster fire and we are all the worse for wear.
So what can we do?
In my practice, I always advocate for a client to see four Allied Health Professionals: Therapist, Nutritionist, Personal Trainer/Health Coach and a Doctor/Psyciatrist.
What you can do:
- Manage stress- If you are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to turn, turn to therapy. The reality that I see everyday is that noone has anyone to turn to and if the recent statistics are true, 54% don’t have the church or social organization they used to. Subjective observation has shown me that people further are not engaging in Moose, Elks, Masons or other social clubs like in years past.
- Get sleep and going along with this, get active – losing weight is not just a will power thing, it is real physiological problem that combines genetics, stress and a sedentary lifestyle into a huge problem that messes with sleep, mental health and physical health. Staying active and getting good sleep are two major factors in promoting longevity.
- Take medicine – It is not as bad you think. I hear it all of the time “I don’t like being on medicine, I don’t like how I feel”. The reality is that you sometimes cannot control your depression or anxiety with will power. Sometimes proper diet and exercise won’t even get you on point. With our pandemic, people are snacking more and probably are not snacking on carrots, greens and other serotonin producing foods. Many are at a point of serious deficiency. I tell my clients that medication is a tool that lengthens the fuse when you at a point of feeling hopeless helpless and worthless. Once the medication is working, you can work with your therapist on cultivating healthier coping skills and begin to work with your nutritionist and Personal trainer on healthier food and physical activity choices. To really know where you are at with your vitamin levels, working with your nutrtionist and your doctor will point you to the right blood tests to look at your hormones and many of your micronutrient levels.
You are in control of you, it is the one thing you can do in this time of uncertainty. I often tell my girls before they go off to school for the day, “Make it a good day or not, the choice is yours”. You only get one life, right now, circumstances suck. The choice is yours, in this instance, we can embrace the suck(not a good thing in this case), or we can look at what we CAN control. Some of the things you can control require a guide, so use professionals when you can. Other things are just choices, going for a walk, keeping a bottle of water within reach, setting a timer for 45 minutes when you are at your desk and getting up for 10 minutes(I have done this for years starting with my Masters program), prepacking healthy foods and snacks. This blog has been all about my food prep for the week so that I can just enjoy my life. THE CHOICE IS YOURS.
Pandemic Weight Gain — It’s a Thing. (n.d.). https://Www.Muhealth.Org/Our-Stories/Pandemic-Weight-Gain-Its-Thing. https://www.muhealth.org/our-stories/pandemic-weight-gain-its-thing
The COVID 19 is real: Weight gain has been a problem for many during the pandemic. (2021, April 9). BostonGlobe.Com. https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/04/08/nation/covid-19-is-real-weight-gain-has-been-problem-many/
This week’s menu
This week, my oven broke so my menu is a bit of mess, though I am still pulling it together. Sorry, no pics this week, I am a bit crunched for time.
- Breakfast will be my usual eggs and toast or protein oatmeal.
- Meal 1 will be a chicken anti pasta salad with grilled chicken and anti pasta fixings. I am using a Primal Kitchen Italian dressing that is free from seed oils.
- Meal 2 will be some meatballs cooked in my Insta Pot.
- Snacks will be
Cliff Bars – while these are not the best thing, my training schedule has dictated that I eat something with a bit more oomph during the day
Apple Cinnamon No Bake Energy Balls
2 Scoops of Body Tech Apple Cinnamon Cereal Protein Powder
135 g of Oatmeal
1/4 C of honey or Syrup
1 C of PB 2
1-2 servings of chocolate chips
Combine all ingredients into a bowl until well mixed (you may need some water)
Form into desired sized balls
Place in the fridge to firm up( I store them in the freezer)
Mid morning snack has been bullet proof coffee if I have time
What I am training for and my schedule:
Coming up, I have three events that I am training for:
May 1 – 30 mile Gravel Bike ride in Loudonville, Ohio
May 15 – Duathalon in Randolph, NY
June 19 – 50 k in Blue Knob, PA
Wake up at 0500 and eat breakfast and spin for 1 -2 hours
work for 8 -10 hours
Run 5 miles on M, T and W after work
Speed work and lift on Thursday after work.
Fridays are rest(ish) days until June
Bed by 2200
Weekends are 16- 20 mile runs and 40- 60 mile bike rides until after June.