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Study looks at weight gain during pandemic

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 1:53 PM CDT
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(CNN) – At the beginning of the pandemic, when a majority of states across the U.S. issued shelter-in-place orders to slow the spread of COVID-19, many people became more sedentary, may have turned to food for comfort, and, according to a recent study, may have gained weight.

In a study published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open, researchers looked at weight measurements of nearly 270 participants from Feb. 1 to June 1 of 2020.

On average, those studied gained around 1.8 pounds per month during shelter-in-place orders that were issued in March and April, said one researcher involved with the study.

Researchers said the weight gain in those studied happened regardless of where a person lived or whether they had other medical conditions.

“Weight gain during the pandemic is so common,” said Stephanie Mansour, a health and fitness expert.

If you’re in the same boat, four simple things can help you get back on track.

First, pump up the protein.

“By eating more protein, you’re going to help stabilize your blood sugar levels, which is going to cut down on that mindless grazing throughout the day,” Mansour said.

Next, drink lots of water.

Mansour said many people mistake being thirsty for being hungry. Before you eat anything, she said to have a glass of water.

Third, make movement more fun. It may make you more likely to want to exercise.

“Something that’s attainable: It could be a 20-minute walk,” Mansour said. “It could be yoga stretching at your desk. It could be an ab routine in the morning to wake up your core and fire you up to start the day.”

Finally, Mansour said to get your head in the game, and to give yourself some grace instead of criticizing yourself.

“Whatever you can say to yourself each and every day to foster a positive relationship with yourself is going to make you want to make healthier food choices and get in a workout,” she said.

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