Post-Pandemic Health

As COVID-19 vaccinations continue to roll out across the country and life slowly starts to return to normal, many have found themselves feeling pressured to lose weight in anticipation of post-pandemic life.   The average weight gain during the COVID-19 pandemic has been 3 to 15 pounds, mainly due to less movement, more snacking and convenience foods, more stress (which means an increase in stress-eating, binge-eating and disordered eating) and derailed routines.   So, the prospect of seeing people in person after being isolated for so long has created a type of “post-pandemic body” pressure.   But it’s definitely possible to get in shape the healthy way without succumbing to any extreme measures.  Here are some tips to help you jump start your way to a better post-pandemic body.

  • Base your diet on whole foods.  Avoid packaged and processed foods.  Whole foods (fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, beans, low-fat dairy and whole grains) are not only more nutritious, but more filling and much less likely to cause overeating than processed foods.
  • Eat a high protein breakfast. Eating a high protein breakfast could help reduce cravings and excessive calorie intake throughout the day.
  • Avoid refined carbs and sugar. Sugar’s impact on obesity and diabetes is well documented.  Empty calories from sugar aren’t useful to your body and can hinder weight loss.
  • Control your portions and eat slowly. Try using a salad plate instead of a dinner plate. Eating slowly helps you feel fuller before you have a chance to overeat.
  • Drink more water.  Many studies have shown that drinking more water may benefit weight loss and weight maintenance.
  • Drink coffee or tea.  Caffeine consumption (in moderation) can boost your metabolism.
  • Get good quality sleep. Sleep is important for many reasons, and poor sleep is one of the biggest risk factors for weight gain.
  • Move your body.  Walking, jogging, running, cycling, or swimming are very beneficial for weight loss and general health.  Lifting weights has particularly good benefits to prevent your metabolism from slowing down, which is a common side effect of losing weight.
  • Consider supplements.   Although supplements won’t cause you to lose weight or get in shape, they can help aid your weight loss and exercise goals in many ways such as helping to support a healthy metabolism, promoting lean body mass, and ensuring you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs.  Some helpful supplements include:  L-Carnitine/Acetyl L-Carnitine, Conjugated Linoleic Acid, Turmeric, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Green Tea, Branched Chain Amino Acids, L-Glutamine and Fish Oil.

 

References:

(1) Gilmerm. “How to Shake Pandemic Weight Gain and Get Your Health Back On Track.” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 30 Apr. 2021, health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-shake-pandemic-weight-gain-and-get-your-health-back-on-track/.

(2) Hendler, Sheldon Saul, PhD, MD, Physicians Desk Reference for Nutritional Supplements, 2nd edition,  PDR Network, 2008

(3) How Drinking More Water Can Help You Lose Weight. www.healthline.com/nutrition/drinking-water-helps-with-weight-loss.

(4) Murray, Michael T. , The Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements, Three Rivers Press, NY,NY, 1996

(5) Northwestern Medicine. “How to Lose Pandemic Weight.” Northwestern Medicine, www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/how-to-lose-pandemic-weight.

(6) Spritzler, Franziska. “21 Reasons to Eat Real Food.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 11 Aug. 2020, www.healthline.com/nutrition/21-reasons-to-eat-real-food.

(7) “The Sweet Danger of Sugar.” Harvard Health, 5 Nov. 2019, www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/the-sweet-danger-of-sugar.

(8) Trepany, Charles. “As Vaccines Roll out, More People Want a ‘Post-Pandemic Body,’ Experts Say. But Is It Healthy?” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 29 Mar. 2021, www.usatoday.com/story/life/health-wellness/2021/03/26/vaccine-covid-19-pandemic-inspire-post-pandemic-body-trend/6991522002/.