8 Things To Remember If You’ve Gained Weight During COVID-19 Quarantine

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8 Things To Remember If You’ve Gained Weight In Quarantine

Weight gain in quarantine seems to be a hot topic these days.

Being in quarantine due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is testing the strongest of wills. Many people cannot stop eating.

In addition to being fed up with the closed quarters, they feel compulsive. Staying inside is hard for most, although some loved their needed time at home. For others, the quarantine brought a lack of freedom and relationship problems.

But for most people, the main issue is their bodies. Some fear they will never be able to stop bingeing. The personal sensation they kept reporting was feeling out of control — the emotion, fear, and even panic.

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Several clients and friends tell me they've gained weight. "How do I return to work with this body?!" they argue, sounding ashamed.

To sort it out in my head for my clients, patients, friends, and myself, I came up with three intuitive categories in order to understand why people were feeling so despondent about their bodies.

(Note: I am not a researcher. My groupings are only an intuitive attempt to make sense of what I was seeing as a friend and clinician.)

Three ways most people responded to wellness in quarantine. 

The first group responded to COVID-19 isolation by developing an exercise routine similar to the one they had before the pandemic. For the most part, they felt relaxed with their movement routine and also ate more or less as before.

The second class was not exercising or stopped their routines when COVID-19 hit the ground. For a while, it was such a relief! Some of us are allergic to sports or physical efforts. As time went by, quite a few people that stopped their practices reported feeling out of shape and compulsive around food.

The third group vowed to finish isolation in better shape than they were when confinement began. These people trained every day and seriously.

But then again, my made-up mental groups did not stay tidy within their boundaries. Being or feeling fat is not necessarily related to your real body nor your eating or exercising customs.

In other words, you could be in groups one, two, or three and still feel good or crummy about yourself. If you feel inferior or substandard, chances are, you will find fault with your looks, no matter what.

Suppose you have indeed gained weight. You have not worked out, and now you feel lousy. What should you do?

Here are 8 things to remember if you have gained weight during coronavirus quarantine. 

1. Do not be judgemental.

Being judgy is useless and makes you feel even worse than before.

2. Do not start exercising or dieting like crazy last minute.

It may backfire.

Why? Because if you do not get the results you wish, you will end up feeling worse about yourself.

3. You will go back.

"Oh my gosh, how will I go back to work with this body?" The answer is easy.

You will go back to being proud of who you are, because you are alive.

4. Trust your body.

Remember bodies go back to what is more comfortable to them. When you start your regular life again, your body will follow you.

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5. You needed to relax.

All human beings need to relax, and you may have taken the quarantine time to do so. Nothing wrong.

6. Make a relaxed plan for yourself.

Define yourself as a mind-body unit, not just as a machine who must exercise and eat a certain way. Defining yourself as a holistic being may bring you to the need to look deeply into how you relate to your body.

Do you have a problem? Do you need help? Being fat does not give you the right to treat your body or yourself poorly. Quite the contrary!

7. Bring up empathy.

Feel it.

Feeling empathy for having survived shelter-in-place orders or for working during the pandemic is not just important but necessary.

8. Summon your compassion.

It is the only name of the game when it comes to feeling despondent about your body.

Mental health professionals know that the key to health is the lack of rigidity, the presence of flexibility, and the ability to chose. These bring happiness.

Strive for them, more than for shedding pounds, no matter your weight.

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Iréné Celcer is a psychotherapist and an author working and living in Atlanta, Georgia and in Buenos Aires, Argentina. For more information, visit her website.