The Top 5 Reasons Men Gain Weight During Lockdown
By Space Coast Daily // September 15, 2020
Finding new ways to stay fit at home
If you gained a few pounds while navigating the challenges of life under lockdown, you certainly aren’t alone.
The abrupt disruption to our daily routines brought the heath and fitness routines of millions to a screeching halt. Plus, with so many distractions, it can be challenging to prioritize personal health.
In this article, we’ll explain the top 5 reasons men gain weight during the lockdown and offer simple solutions that can help keep off that dreaded ‘Quarantine 15’. Through understanding the reasons behind quarantine weight gain and how to avoid them, you can create a healthier life at home.
Here are the top 5 reasons men gain weight during a lockdown:
■ Lack of Exercise
The Problem: After lockdown brought your morning gym routine to a screeching halt, you’re feeling unmotivated and unsure of how to stay fit at home.
While there’s a number of factors affecting weight gain, some things remain true for everyone. Weight gain is caused by your calorie intake is greater than your calorie expenditure. Since you’re staying at home more and moving around less, you’re likely burning fewer calories than you did pre-pandemic.
The Solution: Find new ways to stay fit at home.
With most gyms, parks, and recreation facilities closed, you’ll need to find new ways to stay active. While you’ll have to get a bit creative with your workouts, you can still get in a good sweat at home. Create a consistent home-workout routine or head for a stress-relieving run before your workday.
■ Added Calories from Snacking
The Problem: Comfort eating and mindless snacking due to boredom increase your daily calorie consumption.
Unprecedented times can lead to an unprecedented urge to snack! Whether you’re eating out of boredom, stress, or simply because your fridge is now 10 feet away from your “desk,” snacking can feel a little too easy. Plus, your new habit of binge-watching Netflix has led to lots of mindless eating late at night.
Having more food around— particularly foods you aren’t used to having in the house— can make it difficult to have self-control. Coupled with decreased exercise, these added calories can quickly lead to added pounds.
The Solution: Fill your fridge with healthy foods and stick to a normalized eating schedule.
Stock up on healthy snacks, so you’re better prepared when the munchies strike. Sticking to a regular eating schedule– a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and dinner— will help you resist snacking between meals and reduce unhealthy cravings. Eat during a set window of time during the day (such as 8 am-8 pm) to prevent late-night eating.
While comfort eating is a totally normal response during times of high stress, it’s essential to keep it in check. If you find yourself turning to the fridge every time you’re feeling anxious, it’s time to reexamine these behaviors and find new ways to keep your stress in check.
■ Higher Stress & Anxiety Levels
The Problem: Higher levels of stress hormones leave you with less energy, less motivated, and strong emotions.
Between feelings of isolation and looming stress about work, finances, and health, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
In response to stress (like that caused by an unprecedented global pandemic), your brain naturally releases cortisol. Unfortunately, high levels of cortisol over long periods of time have been linked to weaker immune systems. High cortisol levels are also linked to several factors that contribute to weight gain in men, such as increased appetite and lowered metabolism, brain fog, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
The Solution: Find ways to manage anxiety and reduce stress levels, such as meditation or teletherapy.
Mindfulness meditation is one of the best ways to find a sense of calm in our chaotic world. Studies have proven that meditation decreases anxiety, helps treat depression, and reduces distraction. If you’re new to meditation, start with a guided meditation on an app like Headspace.
As you adjust to life at home, it’s important to fit time for yourself into your schedule. Something as simple as squeezing in a walk between Zoom meetings, calling a loved one, listening to relaxing music, or simply putting down your phone for a few hours can reduce stress and boost your mood. If you’re experiencing extreme stress, teletherapy may be the right answer.
■ Poor Sleep Habits
The Problem: Disruptions to your daily routine have led to later bedtimes and restless nights.
For most of us, adjusting to socially-distanced life has meant more screentime. Anxiety from staying up late binge-watching TV, scrolling through social media, or watching the news can make it harder to fall asleep. Plus, blue-light exposure can disrupt your circadian rhythm and reduce your natural melatonin.
The Solution: Leave devices outside the bedroom and get back on track with a set sleep schedule.
Restore order to your chaotic life by sticking to a set bedtime and time you wake-up. Keep devices out of the bedroom to avoid distractions and restore your natural circadian rhythm. If you’re having trouble staying asleep after it’s light outside, invest in a pair of blackout curtains or an eye mask.
■ Increased Alcohol Consumption
The Problem: Empty calories from alcohol have you packing on the pounds.
Alcohol sales have reportedly risen 27% during the pandemic. While an evening glass of wine or a few cold ones while you play video games may help you relax, it can quickly pack on the pounds.
Alcohol is filled with empty calories—mostly carbs and sugar— that lead to weight gain. Nighttime drinking also contributes to late-night eating and excess calorie consumption, not to mention decreased energy levels and a hangover-induced lack of exercise the next day.
The Solution: Limit your number of drinks per week and choose low-calorie beverages when you do drink.
The simplest solution is to reduce how much and how often you drink. Cutting out a few drinks per week adds up over time. When you do drink, drink smart. Avoid sugary mixed drinks and carb-filled beers in favor of red wine or low-calorie spiked seltzers.