Quarantine Weight Gain
Many people have found that they have gained weight during COVID-19.
The restrictions that the quarantine has placed our daily lives has been a heavy burden on our functioning in life as a whole. We haven’t been able to move around as much as we’re used to and, to boot, for long periods of time people haven’t been able to work on their fitness.
With the closure of gyms and other recreational facilities it’s been tough. Moreover, sitting at home while stressing about the future and not even being able to go to work hasn’t had the best effect on our appetites.
With so many people struggling with increasing work demands, health and safety concerns and unforeseen hardships like the loss or illness of loved ones, it’s understandable that weight management has not been at the top of our priority lists. All this stress caused many of us to lose way too much sleep and we ended up feeling more tired than usual as the days went by. Mental health also became a great concern and for people with depression, this could have easily led to overeating.
Another phenomenon that reared its ugly head was that we started to seek comfort from things that, in the past, would have been much easier to avoid. We started eating more junk food and watching a bit more television than is (probably) healthy for us. People started giving in to their food cravings and many couldn’t stay away from sugary snacks, sweetened drinks and foods that are loaded with unhealthy fats.
It is clear to see from many individual’s constantly increasing waist measurements that the sedentary, indoor lifestyle didn’t do people much good.
An online survey comprising 1,516 Canadians found that one-third of participants had experienced weight gain during the COVID-19 crisis. That’s very troubling, as weight gain can lead to both physical and mental health problems.
However, there is always the opportunity to start fresh and get into a fresh exercise routine. We know that exercise has so many benefits.Here’s how getting into a new exercise routine can help to improve your mindset.
The Excitement of Starting Something New
The philosopher Lao-Tzu is credited with saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
It can be daunting to consider the long journey of exercise. However, it can also be exciting. You can shift your thinking away from the “what if I fail” mindset to one that’s “I am starting a new journey that’s better for me.”
It’s exciting to start something new. Especially if that something means putting you in a better direction towards better health.
Regular exercise is certainly one of the best things that you can do to boost your health. In fact, you’ll start seeing and feeling the benefits of regular physical activity on your physical and mental wellbeing quite soon.
If you’re serious about taking this exciting step, it’s important that you remember it will take some determination from your side and you’ll need to stick to the plan.
The great news is that exercise will lift your mood, improve your sleep and boost your mental health. Exercise will also help you regain your energy, and it will bring a powerful change to your life.
Exercise and Weight Loss Goals
Another way exercise can help with improving your mindset is through goal setting. Lots of people make it a goal in the New Year to lose weight. But they quickly drift away from that goal. Why is that?
The reason is often because the goal is too vague. You can easily say, “I want to lose weight.” But without being specific about it, the goal is often unattainable. The solution then is to make clearer goals! You can use the SMART goal format that’s:
Consider setting several goals for yourself. One that you can accomplish daily/weekly (such as hitting a certain number of workouts), one that’s monthly, and a goal for the end of the year. This way, you will find it will be much easier to lose weight and stay healthy.
The Physiology of Exercise and Mental Health
As mentioned above, we know that there is a connection between physical exercise and mental well-being.
One reason is physiological. According to the Canadian Psychological Association, exercising encourages the production of endorphins and endocannabinoids. These neurochemicals can help you feel better and more relaxed in general.
Another way in which exercise contributes to mental health is through the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the workout. Of course, while exercising you might not feel so accomplished! However, once you’re done, you can say, “I did it!” and that’s really encouraging.
Feeling in Control
Besides the health risks associated with the pandemic and COVID-19, people have also felt this feeling of not being in control. This disease has been a reminder that even when we try to control everything in our lives, something can always come along to disrupt that mindset.
While you cannot make COVID go away, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk, and that includes exercise.
Exercising isn’t an indulgence. It’s one more thing that you can do for your health.
When You Need Additional Support
Sometimes there are deeper reasons you gained weight during the pandemic, such as pandemic-induced depression. Or maybe you just want to get healthy. However, you might feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the process.
For these and other reasons, it can help to have a counsellor by your side to help you understand these issues. A counsellor will support and encourage you. For instance, they can help you with setting goals that are suited to your specific circumstances.
The pandemic may have been the catalyst for your weight gain. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Now is the time to get into an exercise routine and take a step towards a healthier you! Also, if you need support, ask for help from a counsellor at Virtuous Circle Counselling, Calgary Counselling.