Why Your Weight Has Been Creeping Up
Have you noticed that your pants are a little snug compared to the start of the year? Noticed your weight creeping since lockdown kicked in?
You’re not alone. Many people have experienced a modest amount of weight gain or had a plateau while losing weight. There’s even a term for it – the ‘quarantine 15’, which refers to a weight gain of up to 15 pounds or 6-7kg.
With the restrictions and changes to our lifestyles, there are several reasons why you might be struggling with the scale. Let’s take a look at some of the factors and how you can get back on track.
There has been a big jump in snacking recently, particularly for those who are working at home or out of work. This is mostly due to higher stress and more boredom.
Adding in extra snacks alone can contribute to weight gain, as it can tip the energy balance. But for many, it also comes down to the types of snacks and the portion sizes of said snacks. People are reaching for processed snacks such as chips and lollies, and they are often buying bigger packets because they are cheaper.
Having the occasional treat is fine. But if you are finding yourself snacking regularly, try swapping at least one snack a day for a fresh piece of fruit or a handful of nuts.
You’ve been drinking more alcohol
Another habit that has increased under lockdown is alcohol consumption. Many people are drinking more frequently for a few different reasons – because they can, to cope with stress and anxiety, or simply because everyone else seems to be.
But alcohol is also a concentrated source of energy – it contains a lot of kilojoules that offer few or even no nutritional benefits. This means an extra glass of wine every night can quickly add up to weight gain.
The solution to this one is fairly simple – watch how much you are drinking, and minimise it whenever possible. If it’s something you don’t want to give up entirely, consider reductions or substitutions to reduce the additional energy.
For example, switch your sugary 'quarantini' cocktails for a glass of red wine. Or you could set yourself a limit of one glass of wine 5 nights a week instead of having 2 glasses every night of the week.
You’re moving less than usual
As we have been restricted to their house and essential errands, this has meant everyone is moving less. This is particularly true for those who relied on regular gym sessions to make up for their sedentary work hours.
Even if you’ve been hitting the home workouts or walking around the block, you’re probably moving less than you used to. Incidental exercise adds up throughout the day when you’re not stuck in the house!
This is where it can be good to focus on getting in incidental movement as well as scheduled workouts. Aim to bump up your steps throughout the day by going for a walk each day or playing with your kids in the backyard.
You’re under a lot of stress right now
Have you noticed yourself feeling overwhelmed, brain fogged or just wanting life to return to normal? Whether you're working from home, been stood down or are at work as per usual, the global situation is causing increased stress for everyone.
Why does this matter? Stress makes it harder to lose weight. Increased levels of cortisol affect your energy production, your fat storage and your thyroid hormones. Stress can also affect your sleep, which can further affect stress hormones and blood sugar regulation.
This is just one of the reasons why finding a way to manage your stress levels is crucial right now.
Your thyroid isn’t happy
All of the previous factors can lead to weight gain. But they can also cause issues with your thyroid, especially if you already have a thyroid condition. They may affect your production of thyroid hormones, or even the conversion into the active thyroid hormone.
If your thyroid levels or conversion rate are low, it is much easier to put on weight. The good news is that your thyroid can benefit from lower stress levels, a wholefood-rich diet and regular movement.
You may also want to include plenty of thyroid-supportive nutrients and work with a practitioner who understands thyroid issues.
Reminder: if you have gained weight, be kind to yourself!
A modest amount of weight gain isn’t a big deal for the majority of people over the short term. So if you have gained weight, don’t be too hard on yourself!
However, if getting back to your preferred weight is a priority right now, Tara is here to help. Click here to book your appointment with Tara.