Tumultuous. That seems like a reasonable word to describe the last 18 months since COVID-19 disrupted our lives. Our habits and routines shifted in response to the change around us. For many of us, our bodies changed as well. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the Freshman-15, but Quarantine-19, that seems new. According to a report by Agrifoods Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, 42.3% of Canadians unintentionally gained weight during the pandemic.
I think sometimes we’re too harsh with ourselves. We blame our lack of self-control or our weak-will for our inability to fully control our food intake or maintain a perfect exercise routine. We are quick to forget that unplanned changes in our environment and feelings of intense overwhelm can contribute to our body changes. Consider these potential scenarios you may have endured:
That’s a lot of hard stuff to deal with and there is no shame in acknowledging that perhaps food or alcohol was used as a coping mechanism. Food is such a beautiful thing – it not only nourishes our bodies, but it also connects us with others, comforts us when lonely and soothes us when we’re stressed. It’s OKAY to use food as a coping mechanism at times. Should it always be our primary means of receiving comfort or managing our stress? Probably not, but sometimes it needs to be, and that’s okay.
Weight gain is not a moral failing. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t make you a failure. Weight gain in response to stress is completely normal, to be expected. Think back to prehistoric times where the increase in cortisol, your fight-or-flight stress hormone, got us ready to fight or run from imminent danger. Your body was designed to store energy to be ready for when danger arose. And now, in a world turned upside down, that same cortisol response has contributed to the way your body may have changed. And it’s okay. Be kind to yourself, be kind to others. Perhaps instead of focusing on the weight, consider what has been endured over the past 18 months. You are more than your weight, more than the number on the scale.
As our lives *hopefully* return to some semblance of normal, and stress levels are reduced, perhaps it’s a good time to ensure that the habits you have make you feel your best, regardless of the number on the scale. Consider meeting with our Registered Dietitian or joining our Best Weight program to support you in your journey to be the best you that you can be.
To book an appointment or to register for our Best Weight program, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 403-675-3000.