When is the right time to lose your “pandemic weight”_-80

When is the right time to lose your “pandemic weight”?

Jul 6, 2021, 11:35 AM by Sam Shovlin

The world is healing from the pandemic. And as the world heals, so does your body – both physically and mentally.

As we enter the next phase of “the new normal”, some of you may have noticed that you may have put on some weight, which others may call “pandemic weight”. In fact, a study by the University College Dublin reported that one in three gained weight during the COVID-19 lockdown.

We are sure a lot of you are eager to get rid of this excess fat but should you dive in straight to weight loss tactics and programmes? Is it the right time to run towards the nearest gyms?

How did COVID-19 affect our physical and mental health?

In Ireland, though studies have shown that there was no notable rise in mental health concerns at the onset of the pandemic, further research saw significantly difficult struggles for those already seeking mental health services. 

As people rejoin society, psychologists are now saying that many are suffering from “Post-COVID Stress Disorder” and this makes it harder for anyone to simply go back to their normal routines. It is similar to how prisoners or soldiers find it difficult to adjust to their old life after their traumatic experience.

What this also means is that while in lockdown, we may have picked up unhealthy habits such as food addiction as a coping mechanism. The fear of outside may have forced others to stop going out for their daily walks too. These examples illustrate the strong link between the physical and mental aspects of our lives.

While our body may be willing to start doing the work to lose weight, our mental health should be the priority. Without the right attitude and head space to start working on our body, our efforts may go to waste.

Consider how athletes prepare for a tournament. They need to pace their training, so they don’t peak too soon or too late for optimal performance.

What we’re trying to say is it’s okay not to feel okay. When we’re mentally at our lowest, focusing on our physical health is expectedly difficult as well. So, we need to fix the mind to increase our chance for success.

Allow yourselves to recover while drawing a line or having a plan to work on your physical health in the future. For example, give yourself two to three months to recuperate without the guilt, then get back to a fitness programme right after.

pandemic weight loss

What can you do about your post-COVID health in the meantime? 

Manage the things that are within your control

You cannot control the situation, but you can control how you react to it. For example, when going out, you can decide to practise all sorts of precautions, like wearing face masks, carrying sanitisers, and washing your hands. Or, you can decide to just stay indoors and order online. There is no wrong choice—only own it. Find your comfort. 

Develop your routine

If you’re feeling lost, come up with a plan, a routine you can fall back on when you don’t know what to do. This gives a semblance of structure back in your life. Here’s an example. 

  • 7:00 Wake up

  • 7:15 Quick stretches and light exercise

  • 7:30 Breakfast and shower

  • 8:00 Work 

  • 9:30 Outdoor Break

  • 9:45 Work

  • 12:00 Lunch

  • 13:00 Work

  • 15:30 Stretching Break

  • 14:00 Work

  • 18:00 End Work

  • 19:00 Dinner

  • 20:00 Personal Time

  • 22:00 Sleep

You might think you’re too old for a wake-up call or bedtime, but this is essential in establishing boundaries between your home and work life. You need to rest. You need to find time for yourself, even when you have to schedule it. 

Count your blessings

This is easier said than done, but looking at the positive side of things can help pick you up from your slump. Find something to be grateful for every day, whether it’s for the excellent pasty you had for dessert or simply being able to live another day.  

Find time to unwind

We’re all continuing to recover. After all, just because we’re starting to gain a semblance of our former life, doesn’t mean everything is going to be the same. Social scientists from various universities have warned against new anxieties that might arise with the reopening, such as the realisation of more uncertainty and the return to a pre-pandemic system where mental health is swept under the rug and work was measured in quantity and not quality.

You don’t have to jump into efficiency right away. Kudos to those who can do that, but find your own pace. Relax. Pick up a hobby that won’t make you feel compelled to post on Instagram. Learn something new. Do something purely for yourself. 

Renew connections 

Like we said, find time for connection beyond social media. This could be as simple as having a quick socially distanced affair with a few friends or finding a professional to talk to. Air out your thoughts, emotions, and plans. Just take in that feeling of finally being able to talk to someone. 

According to the study “Changes in social connection during COVID-19 social distancing,” if anything, the pandemic only confirmed the importance of quality relationships over quantity. You only need at least one person to be able to be yourself with, someone who won’t judge you for staying on the couch during the lockdown and for the pandemic weight gain you might have experienced. 

Stop comparing your progress to others 

Focus on your life and don’t use others as a standard of how you should live yours. Consider cutting down your social media time especially if you feel being stressed out watching other people. 

Once you have a solid plan for how you want to recover from the pandemic, that’s when you can sign back in, knowing you won’t be easily influenced or pressured by others. As for connecting, grab that phone and call! Remember when you used to ask people how they were doing?

Continue staying safe 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, continuing to wear face masks, washing hands, and pursuing other sanitation practices will help you ease your way back into outdoor life. Being safe will make you feel secure and can help you manage any anxieties you might feel about catching the virus. 

beat pandemic weight

Know that you have support 

When you’re finally ready, know that you don’t have to do it alone. If you can’t seem to find the groove to start your post-pandemic workout by yourself, you can apply to fitness programmes such as BodySlims to direct you when you’re feeling lost. 

We at BodySlims know and emphasise the importance of being in the right mindset before getting into any fitness regimen. Our programmes put together physical, psychological, and social activities that will help you find the right mental incentive to push through with a wholesome life.

Here at BodySlims, we’ll work with you to find not your pre-pandemic body, but your new, stronger self that can get through any of life’s obstacles.

Be good to yourself, be kind to yourself, and allow yourself to heal. Come September and we’ll be ready with you to work on your physical health! 

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