Lose weight: how to get rid of the corona pounds

Lose weight: how to get rid of the corona pounds

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Weight gain through home office and lockdown: How to take countermeasures

If you've gained a few pounds since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, take comfort: you are not alone. So that the additional pounds do not lead to health problems, we should take countermeasures as quickly as possible. Dr. Donald Hensrud, an expert in healthy living at the Mayo Clinic, explains how it works and explains the medical and psychological background.

Causes: Less exercise, more calories

Due to the restrictions during the Corona pandemic, most of us are at home much more often than usual. Home office, closed gyms, fewer opportunities for active leisure activities: Many of us are currently spending a lot more time on the sofa. The normal movement in everyday life, however, has decreased significantly.

In an interview with the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Donald Hensrud the consequences: The reduced exercise reduces the calorie consumption; at the same time, many people still increase their calorie intake.

One factor that most underestimate in terms of calorie consumption is, according to Dr. Hensrud's lack of physical activity due to everyday activities: “Even if we have a desk job, we at least have to walk to the car to get to work. We can do walking on foot; we can go for lunch. "

And he sums it up: "If we spend time at home, it may be that this low activity means that we burn fewer calories overall."

The changed shopping behavior during the pandemic can also contribute to weight gain. Many people go shopping less often in order to reduce contact with others and thus reduce the risk of infection. As a result, they tend to use durable food: According to Dr. Hensrud, these are often higher in calories and less healthy.

Instead, fresh, vitamin-rich products such as fruits and vegetables are currently consumed less by many people because they do not last as long.

In addition, it often has a psychological component when we gain weight. For example, stress and boredom can result in us eating healthier foods with higher calories more often. The logical consequence: weight gain.

Health effects of weight gain

For most people of normal weight, weight gain during the corona pandemic is likely to be temporary and have no serious health implications. However, one should be careful that the unhealthy behaviors do not creep in permanently and lead to obesity and associated health problems in the long term.

Dr. Donald Hensrud emphasizes that for people suffering from diabetes or high blood pressure, for example, even a relatively small weight gain can make an important difference. Both diseases could worsen if you only gained a few pounds. So be careful here and the extra pounds should be removed as soon as possible.

Weight gain is particularly dangerous for children. For them, it is extremely important that unhealthy habits such as poor nutrition and lack of exercise do not creep in at all. Otherwise there is a risk that they will continue to do so into adulthood.

In children, for example, it has been shown that the weight in childhood leaves traces to a certain extent in adulthood. If children develop unhealthy habits and a lack of healthy habits as well as weight gain, this could continue in adolescence and adulthood, according to Dr. Hensrud.

So you take countermeasures

The antidotes are the same that promise the greatest success in the case of obesity, even outside of pandemics: a healthy, low-calorie diet and lots of exercise are the best way to get the excess pounds under control.

It can also be helpful to learn how to deal with stressful feelings such as fear or boredom in a healthier way, instead of using chips and chocolate as a distraction. If you often compensate with food, it is worth starting here.

Establish new habits

Dr. Donald Hensrud emphasizes that the introduction of new habits is the key to healthy weight. The faster we get rid of unhealthy habits such as little exercise and a lot of unhealthy eating, the sooner the new habits can consolidate and lead to positive results.

According to Hensrud, even small changes can have a big impact. You don't have to do without enjoyment either. Even “comfort food”, ie food that primarily nourishes our soul, does not have to be unhealthy with the right preparation. Even pizza can be healthy if you use fresh ingredients, for example.

According to Hensrud, it is also important to have the right planning and be prepared to prepare the food yourself: “Invest some time. Planning is a real key here if you plan ahead and do not reach for something at the last moment. Try to improve your culinary skills and cook a little more. ”This could even turn the crisis into an opportunity to establish new, healthy habits.

Learn more

If you would like to find out more about the origins and health risks of obesity, you can find further information in our article "Obesity: Myths and Facts".

Our article "Lack of exercise - consequences, causes and symptoms" informs you about the negative effects of lack of exercise.

In our reports on exercise and “nutrition”, you can find out how you can actively counteract this with exercise and make your diet healthier.

Since stress can also be involved in the development of obesity, a look at the article "Stress reduction: Stress reduction made easy" may also be worthwhile. This explains how you can target stress. (kh)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Magistra Artium (M.A.) Katja Helbig


  • Balzer, Deborah: Packing on pounds during COVID-19 and how to turn it around; (published on May 11th, 2020), Mayo Clinic



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