How to Handle Pandemic Weight Gain

Whether it was from ordering more takeout food during the lockdown, increased daily stress, or an inability to go to the gym, many people have experienced weight gain over the past year and a half. While weight fluctuations are certainly normal at any time of life, the pandemic-related disruptions to our regular routines compiled with stress and anxiety may have led you to gain more weight than you’d like. Fortunately, there are plenty of small tweaks to your day-to-day life that can help you get your weight or fitness goals back to where they were in the pre-COVID and face mask days.

Make Small Changes
Regardless of your goals, it’s best to look at weight loss in a “long term” lens. That is, instead of subscribing to fad diets or “get thin quick” programs, or severely restricting calories or food groups, smaller daily changes can be more sustainable. Plus, this method will help you keep the weight off for good, whereas fad diets tend to lead to a quick rebound of weight gain once you’ve “finished” the diet.

Small dietary changes can look like swapping out your nightly glass of wine for a cup of tea, adding in more vegetables to your lunch and dinner each night, or cutting in half your amount of oil-rich dressings and sauces. Many people find long-term success with weight loss by just cutting out 200-250 calories per day.

Find Movement That Sparks Joy
We’re not all cut out for running marathons or doing intense spin classes (or maybe you are!). The moral is, finding the type of exercise that makes you feel the best and that you enjoy can make activity feel a whole lot easier. If you’re not sure, test out free intro classes at a gym, or search for workout classes online that you’ve never tried.

Cut Yourself Some Slack
If you’re not seeing results as quickly as you’d like, be sure to cut yourself some slack. After all, the past almost-two years has been hard on everyone, and you’re no exception. Give yourself grace and practice self-compassion for how far your body has taken you.

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