Gaining weight during a pandemic

November 16, 2020
Lisa Newburger, LISW-S
Lisa Newburger, LISW-S
Lisa Newburger, LISW-S

Lisa Newburger, a master's level social worker supervisor, helps audiences find humor in talking about tough topics. Her "in-your-face" style of presentations and writing will make you smile or just shock you into taking some action. Either way, she is very effective at empowering others to reach their goals and feel better about themselves. Her entertaining workshops are available for national and international audiences. Writing for the dental industry since 2010, she uses an alterego (Diana Directive) to illustrate her points in a sarcastic but effective way. Presentations can be scheduled by contacting Lisa at www.discussdirectives.com/dental.html.

Maintaining a healthy weight is important, even in the midst of a pandemic.

It is slowly creeping upward. You know what I am talking about…your weight. When will it stop? Your clothing fits a little more snugly. Ok, a lot more snugly. I know this is not a critical topic for a dental professional, but it is important. Your health matters. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is causing more health problems than you may realize. It is time to look at weight gain and compulsive overeating as bigger challenges. Are you coping with stress by overeating?

The gyms were closed for a while. I have not gone back. I miss using the exercise machines, but I do not feel it is safe. An environment that has sweat flying and people breathing hard makes me think it is a petri dish for the virus to thrive in. So, I pivoted, looked at what I could do, and turned to the internet. What an incredible resource for any type of exercise you can imagine! And many of the exercise videos found online are free to view.

I shifted to hiking. Do not get me wrong, I was never an outdoors kind of girl. (I don’t like the cold or the heat.) My husband is a member of a ski club, a mountain bike club, and a cycling club. And he does his bench aerobics live-streamed. Give me dancing, Zumba, my elliptical machine, and speed walking. I now enjoy nature more because hiking is something we do together.

Then there is all the time we spend in the house, working, playing, and hibernating. Our movement has slowed down quite a bit. I miss getting in my car and going places, seeing things, meeting people. I miss concerts, outdoor festivals, volunteering; the list goes on and on. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember being bored before the pandemic. There was never time for that. Now I wonder how often boredom is making me head for the kitchen. It’s something to do. I know I am not hungry, yet there I am opening the door, looking for something to excite me. Let’s face it, this is a struggle many of us are dealing with right now.

People are cooking more. Going to the grocery store becomes the high point of our week because there are so many people to look at. Are we buying food to cheer us up? Or is it giving us something to do, cooking?

We are facing a crisis. Nearly 40% of adult Americans are obese.1 This is putting us more at risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Obesity is a major risk factor for catching COVID-19. We need to look at this from the perspective of what can be done to stay healthy.

Have you gained weight during the pandemic? Are you comfortable with the weight gain? Is it time to act so that the scale does not climb higher?

My objective is to draw your attention to this issue with a call to action. Track what you eat for a week as well as how much you exercise. If you are happy with the results, then that is that. But if you want to make changes, make a plan. Go on a walk once a week. Then go more than once. The key is to do something—anything—different from what you were doing. After all, this is the first step to take some control of your life during a time when it may seem out of control.

Email me at diana2@discussdirectives.com and let me know your thoughts on weight challenges during a pandemic.

References

1. Obesity Facts in America. Healthline.com. https://www.healthline.com/health/obesity-facts#1.-More-than-one-third-of-adults-in-the-United-States-are-obese. Published 2017. Accessed November 1, 2020.