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Lockdown weight gain - there is more to it than you think

In terms of trends during lockdown we heard manufactures reporting the initial surge in sales of comfort foods, followed by a six time increase in YouTube food and health watch time. So is the move to eating more food at home having positive or negative effects on our weight?

While working over Zoom with many clients during lockdown I found it’s more about how people are feeling in themselves and responding to the effects of lockdown. Some seem to be thriving, enjoying and putting to good use their extra time on exercise and cooking, while others report boredom and the stress of the pandemic as leading to more sedentary time and an increase in comfort food eating. What is going on behind the scene here is important and an understanding of how behaviour changes lead to weight gain can give really good insight to corrective actions.

Many aspects of weight gain, mood and motivation are linked as too are other lesser known connections such as the amount and type of sleep we get and the level of life stressors at play. During restricted sleep conditions hormone messengers that control appetite and tell us we don’t need to eat become muted making us want to eat more food. The reported (1) consequence of losing 3 hours sleep a night stimulates an additional average daily food intake of 300 calories, over six months this mounts up.

So to understand weight gain we need to understand the bigger picture and apply a lifestyle and nutrition programme addressing life stressors, the type and quality of sleep, exercise, the management of stress and of course some very practical guidance about food.

  1. Dr Eve Van Cauter, University of Chicago

If you have weight or health concerns please contact Henley Nutrition Tel: 07831 120423


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