How the Pandemic Has Led to Weight Gain
It’s been nearly six months since COVID-19 shifted Americans’ sense of normal. Here at Dr. Kells’, we haven’t been immune to the ever-changing “normal” of this year and neither have our clients. Now, many people are working from home. College students are taking classes from their parents’ houses; children are learning to socialize with each other through Zoom meetings. Many people haven’t left their homes except for essential shopping trips since early March.
With such a shift in daily routine, it’s no wonder that many people are struggling with weight gain right now. If you’re spending most of your time at home, it’s easy to eat that extra brownie after dinner or sip on a soda at lunch. While there hasn’t been an official assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected weight gain across the nation, anecdotal evidence, such as from Dr. John Morton at Yale New Haven Health System, suggests that many people are struggling with weight gain during the pandemic. In a July interview with Kathy Katella of YaleMedicine.com, Dr. Morton says, “[W]e are definitely seeing weight gain. You can put on 30 pounds really quickly– you can do it in three months.”
Stress Affects Weight Gain
The COVID-19 pandemic has been and continues to be stressful for many people across the United States. Gym and park closures make it harder for people to exercise the way they’re used to. Parents who work full time and also have to help their school-aged children with virtual learning are under escalated amounts of stress as well. On top of that, current events around the globe certainly affect stress levels and that stress can disproportionately affect members of the population, especially marginalized groups.
Many people turn to food to cope with stress. However, your body also reacts differently to food when under stress. Any time your body is in “fight or flight,” your metabolism is affected. If you’re under a severe amount of stress, your body can sense that and starts to conserve calories. Your body literally thinks it needs to conserve energy to either run away or combat the threat. This conservation of calories can lead to weight gain.
Stress Can Cause Inflammation
While the cause and effect relationship between inflammation and weight gain can be difficult to define, it can possibly work both ways. Whether inflammation leads to weight gain or weight gain leads to inflammation, the key is to eat foods that reduce inflammation.
Weight Gain is Due to Multiple Factors
Of course, weight gain is more complicated than just stress and inflammation. There are multiple factors that contribute to weight gain, even in a pandemic. For example, people may have postponed medical checkups and other appointments. Those appointments could have revealed information about blood pressure and cholesterol measurements. That information can motivate individuals to eat better or think about their weight.
Why It’s Important to Lose or Control Weight Now
A big reason that you should look after your weight right now is the serious complications associated with obesity and COVID-19. According to Dr. Morton: “We know obesity is a big risk factor– not just for COVID, but it also caused problems in people with H1N1 and severe acute respiratory syndrome.” The CDC states that severe obesity increases the probability that a patient will have a dangerous breathing problem called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). ARDS is a serious complication of COVID-19.
Not only that, but the effectiveness of a vaccine may depend on your weight. Historically, traditional flu vaccines do not work as well in people with obesity. Dr. Morton says that “[t]his probably has a lot to do with the fact that the immune response is altered because of the weight and the inflammatory changes that occur.” Losing weight can help you feel better in the event you receive a vaccine: a little peace of mind and the fact that your body will feel better and healthier if you participate in a weight loss program such as ours here at Dr. Kells’.
Weight Loss is Difficult During the Pandemic: You’re Not Alone
In a recent interview with KOAA News 5 in Colorado Springs, Dr. Kells explains that many people are struggling with weight gain during the pandemic. Dr. Kells said, “If you are feeling down about your health and you’ve gained weight you are not alone. 47% of women and 22% of men have gained weight and 70% of those people say it’s because they’re stressed and there is a real physiological reason for it.” One of the benefits of working with Dr. Kells, DC, is that she intimately understands the difficulties with losing weight. She says, “I face many of the same challenges myself, but if we can have that conversation now that this (pandemic) is really going on and what do I do? What am I in charge of? What can I control? The first thing we can control is becoming a critical thinker.” At Dr. Kells’ Weight Loss, we give our clients the tools to take control over their own health.
How Can Dr. Kells Help You?
This year has been extraordinarily stressful for everyone. If you’re struggling with weight gain during the pandemic, call us here at Dr. Kells’ Weight Loss in Salt Lake.
At the age of 33, Dr. Kristen Kells weighed over 200 pounds and was stressed, burned out on ineffective diets, and starting to feel hopeless. She realized that something had to change for her and her family. That realization began her journey back to vibrant health and a subsequent 80-pound weight loss. The science and secrets that she used to get well became the backbone of her weight loss program. Dr. Kells’ Weight Loss was born out of over 18 years of clinical experience and her own personal health crises. Now her mission is to help others regain their health and their life! Now serving clients in Salt Lake City! Call today to find out more and to start feeling better today!