The pandemic has brought with it stress, anxiety and uncertainty, and people have done what people do best when they get stressed: eat.
As a result of quarantine, many people have noticed weight gain during the pandemic with people calling this weight gain “The Covid Stone”.
The restrictions placed on everyday life have altered and interrupted our day-to-day routines. Aside from driving so many of us to stress-eat our feelings, the pandemic also made healthy eating more difficult. Home life has also changed as for many, it has become an office and a classroom and planning healthy meals has become more challenging. For some, the anxieties, stress and in many cases the boredom of staying at home has sunk in, which caused people to snack more.
Most of us probably got a shock when we tried to put our favourite pair of jeans on after months of wearing leggings and tracksuits. Quarantine weight gain is real but it’s not something to be ashamed of. Whether you were not as active as you used to be or eating unhealthy due to stress from working from home and home schooling children, there is no need to feel shame. Show yourself some self-compassion over any weight gain you may have had over the past year. The pandemic took our freedom and if you want to eat the entire banana bread loaf that you baked, then you do that!
Writer and podcaster Roisin Ingle summed up the Covid stone perfectly by saying “Yes, that’s right, I have performed seismic acts of calorific self-care involving slow-cooked shoulders of lamb and fried chicken and instant noodle sandwiches. What of it?”
If you ever feel guilty over the weight you have gained, you’re not alone. The National Covid-19 Food Study was published by the UCD Institute of Food and Health in collaboration with DCU, and includes statistics on peoples eating habits over the past year.
The online survey gathered information on the changes in food and drinking behaviours among people in Ireland during the lockdown. Adults, aged 25-44 years old showed more change in their snacking, home cooking, baking and alcohol habits than originally anticipated. The study showed that people have been exercising less and drinking more alcohol during lockdown.
Dr Eileen Gibney, deputy director of the UCD Institute of Food and Health stated: “While we saw some positive elements – with people engaging in home cooking and baking and exercising more – a significant proportion reported eating more than usual, exercising less, and weight gain”.
Celebrities have also turned to comfort eating during the pandemic with some stars sharing their weight gain over social media. Actress Shay Mitchell posted an image of herself on Instagram sharing that she turned to comfort food in order to ‘”feel normal”.
Love Island star, Olivia Bowen, posted a hilarious clip of her struggling to put on a pair of jeans, captioning the post “Lockdown done me dirty”.