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Pandemic Woes: How to Manage Lockdown Weight Gain

Being in isolation is not an excuse

By Azra Shuib | March 3rd, 2021

Quarantine weight gain shouldn’t be a surprise to a lot of people. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, our routines have been disrupted, causing stress and mindless habits. But now most of us have managed to understand and practice the new norm better each day, so with some lifestyle shifts, there are ways to get back on track and reverse the scale.

Causes of weight gain can be plenty, but some factors can largely affect your lockdown pounds:


Living with COVID-19 has altered our lives in a major way. We have been isolated for longer than what we’ve been through before and it’s uncertain when things are going to be normal again. These changes can cause stress even when you don’t realize it. And all the stress can lead to weight gain.

When we are stressed, though we might not realize or even ignore it, the body still senses stress, and the fight-or-flight response is activated. This stimulates the body to not give up any calories in order to use it when energy is needed to fight or flee. Learning more about this physiological response can help you to learn when to relax and manage stress.

Mindless Snacking

If you love to snack during work, then the work-from-home lifestyle has probably amplified that habit. You’re at home longer, the kitchen is nearer, and a growing number of people are cooking meals at home too. Previously, on-the-go lifestyle means eating breakfast and lunch that could fit easily in our schedule. But now the options are endless. If we let loose on our eating habit, weight gain is expected.

Less Sleep

The body needs enough sleep to recover and balance the ‘hunger hormones’. When we are deprived of sleep, the body makes more ghrelin (the hormone that tells your brain that you’re hungry and have to increase food intake), and less leptin (the hormone that tells your brain that you are full and inhibits hunger). 

Being sleep deprived can lead to hormonal balance, making you feel hungrier and more tired. Therefore, getting enough rest and quality sleep will definitely improve your appetite.

No Exercise

A lot of us may find that exercising activities have reduced during this quarantine season since we can’t go out. If you have always associated exercises with outdoors, then it may have been difficult to maintain an active lifestyle. Some people even have a hard time to maintain good mental health, let alone a good workout routine.


So How To Reduce The Pandemic Gains?

The first thing you should understand is that weight loss during this pandemic season is completely possible. A good mindset is necessary to shed excessive pounds.


Do you need to lose weight? Well, as a general rule, a healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 25. And if your BMI is between 25 and 30, it means you are overweight and it’s a good time to adjust your diet and routine before your weight increases. When BMI reaches 30, it will get more difficult to lose weight. In all cases, commitment, discipline and a strong will are necessary to achieve your ideal weight.

And do not chastise the weighing scale and mirror as you would need to track your progress. Take the opportunity to be away from people and all hustle and bustle of the city to really focus on managing your weight.


Inch Loss Strategies

Manage Your Stress and Allow Emotional Breaks

In the midst of so much uncertainty and saddening news, allow yourself to take a break and indulge in relaxing activities. If you need to take a day off, please take it to re-plan your life or clear up your mind.

Meditation, light exercises, a good sleep or a digital detox for a period of time can be beneficial for your mental wellbeing. Explore your unaddressed issues and internal pain, pressures or tension. This can help you to cope better with your emotions.

Besides that, it is a good idea to set up a daily plan to ensure a productive day that can enhance how you feel about your day. Set a daily wake-up and bed time, plan your meals ahead and more importantly, take breaks when you feel overwhelmed or tired.


A Healthy Food Regimen

Now is a good time to learn new healthy recipes and rethink your relationship with food. If you are cooking at home more often now, include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. It’s time to focus on getting the fullness from the taste rather than quantity. 

What could be more difficult is controlling your portions. It’s so easy to indulge in excessive amounts at home since you have nothing else to do. Take these steps:

  1. When you are hungry, try drinking a big glass of water before you eat. Then wait for 15 minutes to see if you’re still hungry. This can help to ‘fill up’ your tummy a bit.

  2. Eat proteins first as they make you feel fuller. Avoid too many carbohydrates that can cause swings in blood sugar.

  3. Avoid snacking with unhealthy foods that are high in sugar. 

  4. Try to slot in exercises in between your daily routines, such as in the afternoon or in the evening after work. Shift your activities to distract yourself from unproductive activities that can lead to snacking.

  5. Shop carefully and responsibly. If you know you will eat a whole package of biscuits in one sitting, then don’t buy it. If you don’t have it in your kitchen, you won’t eat it.


Regular Exercises

Just because you are physically distancing from the gym, it does not mean you should stop exercising. Cleaning the house, a simple jog up and down the house can help you get it going as well. Plus, online workout class is abundant online. You just have to schedule regular daily exercise sessions and stick to it. Furthermore, it boosts your immune system and improves your mood.


Good Night's Sleep

What is more important is getting enough rest. If you want a high quality sleep, stop staring at screens at least 1 hour before bed. Schedule a daily wake-up time and bedtime, and stick to it. Allow your body to recover and balance out your hormones so that it could function better.


You Can Do It!

A lot of people fail at weight loss, but a lot of people win against it too. Believe in your own journey and ensure that you take care of your health in the process. It’s a tough time to live in currently, but it also means a good time to make the best of what’s already available. Strive to attain your goals and remember that you can definitely do it!

Visit to explore weight management help or interventions you can take to ensure a safe and effective weight loss journey. Or simply direct yourself to our list of Slimming Treatment pages.