It’s probably not too surprising that most of us have gained weight during this challenging time. A doctor and licensed counselor talk about why that is.
DENVER — Have you gained the “quarantine 15?” or the “COVID-19?” Are you getting along OK with those in your home?
9Health spoke with 9Health Expert, Dr. Payal Kohli, and Jason Youngblood, a licensed professional counselor from Cigna, about the effects of the pandemic on our lives.
Kohli said that on average most people have actually gained about 12.5 pounds, so it’s more like the “quarantine 12.5,” citing a Weight Watchers survey.
There’s a difference in weight gain when it comes to gender too, “Women appeared to have gained weight more commonly than men,” Kohli explained, “If you’ve gained weight the first and most important thing is to admit that to yourself so you can then take steps to reverse that process,” she added.
Gaining weight can change a lot of things in your body including metabolism, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.
“All of those can have downstream effects and accelerate the onset of disease,” Kohli said.
To best way to see the impact of any weight you’ve gained is with a blood screening, like the ones being offered by 9Health.
There’s a mental health aspect as well to weight gain. It’s common when experiencing stress, for example, to gain weight.
“There’s definitely that connection between mind and body,” explained Youngblood, “Our body releases a stress hormone, cortisol, and cortisol can be associated with weight gain. It can actually cause you to store and hold onto things a bit more,” he added.
Stress can also cause many to eat richer, more high-calorie foods and drink more alcohol. All things that cause weight gain.
“You’ve got your chronic stress, storing things more, eating a little bit differently, and then you add in a lot of additional calories from alcohol. It’s no wonder we’re 12.5 pounds up,” Youngblood said.
For some, what is causing stress is not just the pandemic but also being home more with family members and trying to “keep the peace” in your house. Youngblood said that to deal with some of that stress it’s important that everyone in your family has a designated space they can retreat to, and also dedicated spaces for work, school and play.
He also said that it’s important on weekends or during free time to use that time to focus on your family and reconnect. Really work on planning things you can do to safely get away and spend quality time together.
It’s not just familial relationships, Kohli said the pandemic is creating strain and productivity issues with our work relationships.
“We have to work harder to maintain the integrity of our relationships. Whether it’s personal relationships at home or those professional relationships that we value and that career development,” Kohli said.
She advises that we try to not lose stamina, and come up with a routine and schedule as the COVID-19 pandemic will be going on for several more months.
9Health has partnered with Cigna to build out free, online mental health screenings, click or tap here for more.
If you have a health question you can talk to a medical professional through the 9Health Neighbors Program by calling 303-698-4455, ext. 2005. Leave a message and a 9Health Medical Volunteer will call you back within 24 hours
You can also now get preventive screenings and a COVID-19 antibody test through 9Health Fair at Quest Diagnostics Patient Service Centers.
9Health is a 501c-3 community nonprofit empowering people to put health in their own hands by providing tools such as preventive health screenings, evidence-based, objective health education, and eTools and resources for every day in your health journey.
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