Pandemic Pounds? 4 Ways to Get Back on Track

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Did you know the average weight gain during the pandemic for adults was 29 pounds? The global pandemic brought us lockdowns, quarantines, and a lot more people working at home. Along with a lot more stress.

And it tipped the scale in the wrong direction for a lot of people, according to data recently published by the American Psychological Association.

For some people, it’s been especially rough. About 10 percent of people have gained more than 50 pounds. It’s been harder on men than women (37 pounds vs. 22 pounds on average). And for millennials, an average weight gain during the pandemic was more than for older people (41 pounds vs. 16 pounds).

So let’s say you step on the scale and notice you’ve gained some weight. How do you get back on track and get rid of these pandemic pounds?

Your gut reaction might be a crash diet, extreme exercise, and swearing off all the comfort foods you’ve come to love during the pandemic. But it’s a recipe for failure and feeling miserable.

It’s been an unprecedented time for everybody. If you’ve gained a little weight during the pandemic, you’re not alone. Instead of doing something drastic that won’t last, here are more sustainable ways to lose your pandemic weight gain.

1. Start by making small changes

Let’s be honest. The wipe-it-clean approach to dieting usually doesn’t work. It usually ends up being a yo-yo style crash and burn of weight loss and weight gain. But you want a sustainable way to lose weight and keep it up.

  • Start by making small and positive changes to your diet.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Prepare more home-cooked meals.
  • Eat less junk and fast-food.

2. Sit less, move more

During the peak of pandemic lockdowns a lot of people were at home. No commute. No gym. No walking a few blocks to grab lunch. And often no place to go, because so many places were closed. If that got you into couch-potato mode, you’re not alone. But you can change that.

Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day.

  • Go for a walk.
  • Pick a fitness video and follow along.
  • Do bodyweight exercises at home (push-ups, crutches, squats, lunges).
  • Or get to the gym (most have reopened).

3. Plan ahead

It’s late afternoon. You don’t have anything planned for dinner. And now you don’t have enough time to put a meal together. So you order pizza...again. That ever happen?

When you don’t have a plan to eat healthy, it’s pretty easy for this to happen. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

  • Carve out some time to write a meal plan
  • Make a grocery list and go shopping
  • Prepare some meals in advance and store in the freezer
  • Keep your fridge stocked with health snacks
  • Or make it really easy, and pick your favorite Portion-Controlled meals from the menu

4. Go easy on yourself

If you’ve gained a few pandemic pounds, you’re not alone. But instead of focusing on the negative, go easy on yourself.

It’s been a stressful time for most people with lots of changes, emotions, and isolation.

Take a closer look at your diet, exercise habits, and lifestyle, and look for ways to make small changes...starting today.