The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to change our lives completely. We’ve been staying home. We’ve been struggling with fear, anxiety, depression, and isolation. We’ve been spending more time in front of screens and less time outside. We’ve been eating more comfort food and exercising less. It’s a perfect recipe for weight gain.
Given the circumstances, the “quarantine fifteen” may be an understandable outcome, but it’s still dangerous from a health perspective. Excess weight increases our risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic diseases including osteoarthritis, liver and kidney disease, sleep apnea, and depression. And a recent study found that, before the age of sixty, obese individuals have twice the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization as non-obese people (measured by a body mass index below 30).
Successful and sustainable weight loss requires addressing all of the underlying factors that caused weight gain in the first place. Diet and exercise are important, but so are stress, sleep, and even the way we use electronics. Medical conditions and medication side effects can also contribute to weight gain, and you’ll need your doctor’s help to know for sure. But there are things we can all do right now. Here are five ways to address the root causes of weight gain and reverse the quarantine fifteen.