Over the past year, most of the people I know have gained weight during this pandemic. In a poll of more than 1,000 WebMD readers, nearly half of the women and almost one-quarter of the men said they’d gained weight “due to COVID restrictions.” This trend is no surprise, as routines have been disrupted, stress has increased, and it’s mostly been unclear when things will ever return to normal.
The restrictions that quarantine places on everyday life have interrupted many people’s daily routines. The rise in unstructured time, the closure of gyms and recreational centers, movement restrictions, and the enormous stress of the pandemic affected people’s sleeping patterns, eating habits, and levels of physical exercise. All of this contributed to weight gain. People struggled to focus on weight management due to increasing work demands, unforeseen hardships, and safety concerns.
Since I was young, I’ve always struggled with my weight. Until I was 6, I was considered too thin and given milkshakes to gain weight. Sadly, that worked too well, and I learned that I loved food. Stress has almost always caused me to gain weight. I had a workout partner for a while in graduate school, and I lost enough weight to get down to a healthy size. However, my workout partner moved on, and I fell back into old habits. The weight came back. Over the years, my weight has continuously fluctuated. I’ve gained weight, lost a few pounds, gained some back, and so on.
Over the past year, I have been fortunate not to gain weight as many of my friends have. I have lost over 30 pounds, but I need to lose more. While many people have begun wearing pants with elastic in the waist, I’ve had to buy pants with a smaller waist. Wednesday, when I had to go to the museum, I put on my dress belt, which I have not worn much over the past year. It was too big. I tried to cinch it to the next hole but realized there wasn’t another hole to use. I realized I had to buy a new dress belt. I had already purchased a casual belt that fits better, but I thought my dress belt would be okay.
Some people might be like me and have lost weight. Others have gained weight during the pandemic. However, we have to realize that we will get back to normal eventually. If you have gained weight, you can get back into a routine to get you back to a healthier weight. I will have to work not to fall into bad habits and regain the weight I have lost. In a time when more than 530,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and in the face of the devastation caused by this pandemic, the anxiety, and the sadness, it is important to remember that simply being alive and healthy is a blessing.