University of Kent Occupational Health and Wellbeing Manager, Brenda Brunsdon
Have you heard of ‘Quarantine 15’? Or the ‘Covid 19 pounds’?
There appears to be a type of battle going on between two camps of journalists and bloggers. One section focuses on the importance of staying fit and being mindful of not snacking additional calories through the lockdown. The other section focuses on the importance of not putting additional stress on oneself over this period and not becoming anxious if you do a bit of comfort eating.
Undoubtedly, a heightened focus on weight, food consumption and body shape will not be a help to those who have eating disorders or body image dysfunctions and can trigger anxiety for them.
The easy availability of food when working from home is probably at the root of putting on additional pounds. Boredom is an even more inevitable trigger for casual snacking which leads to weight gain. This is even worse for people unable to work from home. Then you can factor in comfort eating; accessibility and consumption of food is a hard-wired solace to us when we are worried. It goes back to being part of a tribe of hunter-gatherers; if there is food in the store, we will survive, and eating as a family/group feels comforting to all involved and helps bond us together.
One article I read estimates that each of us is prone to eating an extra 300-350 calories daily throughout the lockdown period. In the long term, that will cause a slow weight gain. Is that so bad? If you are a good weight for your frame and are keeping up some sort of exercise routine throughout the lockdown, it is unlikely that it is. But it is possible that these additional kilograms or pounds could tip you into an unhealthy weight category, where it could start to impact on your health. With particular reference to the risk from Covid 19, there is a researched connection between heavier body weight and a worse outcome if you go down with the disease.
It’s good to be body positive and important to accept that women and men do not need to look like models and ‘A’ lister actors to be considered to be attractive and representative of humanity. Yet, I think I speak for a lot of us when I say we all dread the pounds creeping on because they are sooo difficult to shift later if/when you decide you want to do that. So, with an eye to the future, I think a level of eating mindfully is a good thing while we find ourselves bored and largely confined to our homes. And eating mindfully is seen as a positive thing for people with eating disorders as well.
So, without getting weighted down by the subject, lighten up and adopt a mindful eating approach to your relationship with food over the lockdown.
‘Stop Obsessing Over Quarantine Weight Gain and Cut Yourself Some Slack’: Christine Byrne; HuffPost
‘If Y’all Are Worried About the “Quarantine 15,” You’re Not Paying Attention’: Taylor Trudon; Cosmopolitan
‘We aren’t piling on pounds in lockdown, digital scale maker finds’: Geoffrey A. Fowler; Washington Post
‘Coronavirus: How to stop overeating and avoid weight gain in self-quarantine’: A.Pawlowski; Today
‘How to not gain weight during the coronavirus lockdown’: Doree Lewak; New York Post
‘How to eat mindfully in 8 simple steps’: Olivia Petter; The Independent
‘A Guide to eating Mindfully’: Harriet Smith; Surrey Dietician
Wellness Wednesday is part of Kent Sport’s #KentSportStayWellAtHome series of daily blogs and vlogs to keep you positive during these unusual times. To be sure not to miss our updates, Like us on Facebook and follow on Instagram and Twitter @UniKentSports
One response to “Wellness Wednesday: Weighing It Up”
Really helpful, thanks.