Working from home has become the new normal for most people around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us enjoy the freedom and flexible schedules that accompany working remotely. Having no boss looking over your shoulder and spending time with family is a welcome bonus.
Unfortunately, even as you enjoy the benefits of working from home, there are downsides to it – the most common one is that many people have developed a habit of overeating, and thus many gained weight during the pandemic.
In today’s post, we are examining the factors contributing to pandemic weight gain, also referred to as quarantine 15, and how you can stop it.
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Why You Are Gaining Weight During The Pandemic and Quarantine
- Easy access to food
Under normal conditions, you would report to the office every day and most times would only eat during your break time and at lunch, and sometimes you would probably skip meals. When eating, you are conscious not to eat too often or too much to avoid being judged by colleagues. While working from home, the food is readily available, and there is no one there to give you dirty looks when you give in to temptation.
Easy access to food is one of the main factors contributing to weight gain during the pandemic. Since the kitchen is just around the corner from your designated working area, without even realizing it, you find yourself headed to the fridge whenever you take a break from work.
Additionally, with the recommendations to stay safe and minimize trips to the grocery store during quarantine, we have learned to stock on food and snacks, thereby making them even more accessible. Most often, they will be non-perishable snacks that are sugary and unhealthy. Consumption of unhealthy foods could be one of the reasons why you are gaining weight during the COVID pandemic.
Working from home is not all fun and games. It is actually not that different from the office, except, it might be worse! Your employers expect you to attend the regular Zoom meetings, give reports, meet deadlines, and bring in results. You have to do all this while struggling to cope with the stress and anxiety caused by the ongoing pandemic.
On top of having to deal with that, if you are a parent, you have the added burden and distraction of family and kids at home. All this can become overwhelming for you and affect your productivity while working from home. Unfortunately, many people turn to food to cope with the pressure and stress of having so many responsibilities and these could lead to pandemic weight gain while working from home.
You eat when frustrated by a difficult task at work. You eat when you switch on the TV, and they are just showing news about the increase in the numbers of those infected by the coronavirus. You turn to your comfort food when your family tries your patience. Emotional eating becomes an escape from all these stressful situations as you try to maintain a work-life balance leading to pandemic weight gain.
Related Article: Emotional Eating: Types and How to Stop It Forever
- Social Influences
At the office, your colleagues might not necessarily be your friends; hence, you would have to watch what and how much you eat while dining with them. Unfortunately, while working from home, you are either alone or surrounded by family, and there is no embarrassment when you go for a second serving.
There is no one to judge you for taking particular foods or eating as much as you want, and this is another reason you for the weight gain during COVID. As a matter of fact, if you have your parents living with you, they might be the ones encouraging you to keep eating. They could bring you some snacks and other refreshments while working, which you could feel guilty to decline, seeing as they put effort into it.
Additionally, you can be tempted to take a snack just because a family member is having some, thus resulting in your gaining weight and becoming fat during quarantine.
Related Article: 8 Factors That Affect Weight besides Diet
- Lack of time management skills
While working from home, you have the freedom to start and stop working at any time you wish as long as you attend meetings, meet deadlines, and achieve your targets at the end of the day/month.
If you have no proper work plan and no boss looking over your shoulder, you will find yourself procrastinating until the last minute to finish your assigned tasks; thereby spending the rest of the time bored in front of the TV or sleeping.
Boredom is one of the most common reasons people tend to binge eat. Since there is not much to occupy your mind with, this leads to you eating mindlessly as you binge-watch some Netflix shows, Leading a sedentary lifestyle is one of the reasons you are gaining weight during the pandemic.
After this, work is still waiting, and if the deadline is near, in your rush to finish, you could end up submitting shoddy work. To make it even worse, you might have to work during your off hours to make up for the time wasted, thus, encroaching on time that you’d normally spend with family or exercising. With no time to do any physical activities, then weight gain will happen eventually.
If you wish to maintain a work-life balance, then time management is key. You have to organize and plan your tasks according to their order of priority and importance to start a new routine and make it the new normal.
- No access to the gym
Having no access to gyms has resulted in a lot of people gaining weight during the COVID pandemic. Very few people used to work out from home before the pandemic. Instead, the majority had gym memberships that would keep them motivated to exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight. Unfortunately, most gyms are closed now, and we have the perfect excuses to avoid being physically active.
- The gyms are closed
- We are working from home and have no time to exercise
- We need to stay indoors to be safe
- Too many distractions
And they are just that, excuses! Working out is not confined to the gym. You can do most exercises safely in the comfort of your home and you don’t have to own any expensive equipment to do it.
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- Spending too much time in your PJs
Your choice of clothes could be the reason you are gaining weight. Since we are working from home, there is no pressure on what to wear to work. It is so easy for you to roll out of bed, have breakfast, and start working immediately in your pajamas, and this has been the norm for most of us since March 2020.
It is no surprise then that one could be gaining weight during the pandemic without noticing it. You no longer have to wear suits, skinny jeans, or that cute tight dress to go to a function.
Pajamas are loose-fitting and most often have drawstring pants or elastic waists that will accommodate you at any size. Since you do not gain weight overnight, the subtle changes to your body might be unnoticeable, at first, until the day you decide to wear some of your old clothes or step on a weighing scale.
Working in your PJs is too comfortable and keeps you in a mental state of being relaxed at home and lazy. You will find yourself losing focus and wandering around the house and most likely ending up in the kitchen.
To stop yourself from getting sidetracked by pandemic weight gain, shower and dress up to stay in a professional mental state when working from home during the pandemic. You don’t have to be fancy, even jeans and a T-shirt will do.
Understandably, this is a difficult time for everyone around the world. However, the pandemic is not an excuse not to take care of yourself. Leading a healthy lifestyle by having a healthy diet and being physically active is still important, even though you have no place to go. Avoid overeating and any other habits that could be leading to your gaining weight during the COVID period as they might stick even after the pandemic.