The Germans have invented a word for the weight gained during the Corona Virus lockdown of 2020. This word is “coronaspeck”, which translates as “corona fat”, or “corona bacon”.
If you have gained weight during lockdown then you will see why this name is appropriate.
So, what has caused you to gain fat during the lockdown, what are the dangers associated with this extra weight, and finally what can you do to lose this extra weight? Read on and all these questions will be answered.
How Much Weight Has Been Gained During Lockdown?
“The UK already had an obesity problem before the pandemic and what our latest data shows is the lockdown has made it worse.” – Lead researcher Professor Tim Spector from King’s College London
According to research obtained from the COVID Symptom Study App , those surveyed have experienced weight gain between March and July 2020.
The data suggests that the average body weight across the UK has increased by 0.78 kg (1.6 lbs), with those reporting to an increase in snacking seeing a 3 kg (6.5 lbs) jump in weight.
Why Have People Gained Weight?
There are a number of reasons why people have piled on the pounds during the lockdown. The two main reasons are a lack of exercise (resulting in fewer daily calories being burnt), perhaps due to the restrictions put in place at their gyms, and that people are consuming more calories than before.
Even if you were not a regular gym-goer, if you have been forced to work from home or have been unable to work then you will not be getting as many steps daily as you would have before.
For those who commute to work you could be getting quite a few steps in walking back and fore from your car to the office.
With the restaurants and fast food places closed during the lockdown, you may think that you may be consuming fewer calories, but as the research has shown this is unlikely to be true.
Take away restaurants have still been open, which will account for plenty of extra calories being consumed. Also, as we have stocked up with frozen meals and processed foods with a long shelf life, these meals are often unhealthy and full of additional calories.
Potential Health Problems Associated With Weight Gain
Weight gain and becoming obese can lead to a whole host of potential health problems and serious diseases .
“The more weight we gain and the longer it's maintained, the more it affects our health.” – Dr. Hensrud, Medical Director of Mayo Clinic's Healthy Living Program
These health problems include:
- Increased risk of death
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea and breathing problems
- Various types of cancer
- Low quality of life
- Mental illness, including depression, anxiety, and other disorders
- Body pain and difficulty with physical function
Along with the general health problems associated with weight gain, this extra weight also puts you at a higher risk of becoming hospitalized with COVID-19.
Research has found that those with a BMI of over 30 were at least 20% more likely to be sent to the hospital with the symptoms of the Corona Virus.
Tips To Help Lose The Lockdown Fat
To lose weight and to burn fat you need to make sure you are burning more calories than you are consuming. This is known as creating a calorie deficit.
The following are a few tips to help you achieve this goal (each one is scientifically proven):
#1: Drink More Water
Do you usually reach for the soda when you are thirsty? If so then you are consuming what I would call “empty calories”.
These are calories that have zero purpose and are mostly made up of sugar.
A better option would be water. It has zero calories and has been shown to boost metabolism , which will help burn off a few extra daily calories.
Research has found that consuming half a liter of water half an hour before a meal will also ensure you consume fewer calories during the meal itself. This will result in you losing more weight than those who did not drink any water beforehand .
#2: Drink Black Coffee
Who here loves their morning coffee? Many of you reading this need the caffeine hit to wake us up from our slumber, but if you are adding sugar and cream to it you could be consuming unnecessary calories.
Black coffee is the better option, as you are getting the caffeine boost, which not only boosts your energy levels but also your metabolism too.
Research has found that caffeine can boost your metabolism by as much as 11% , with an increase in fat burning seen too.
#3: Drink Green Tea
For those who are not a fan of black coffee, an alternative would be green tea.
Green tea is also a source of caffeine, but also contains catechins too, which are a type of antioxidant that helps burn fat .
#4: Try Intermittent Fasting
This is a popular type of dieting where you will cycle between periods of fasting and eating.
Research has found it to be an effective way of losing weight , without the loss of muscle mass you would usually associate with a low-calorie diet.
#5: Cut Down On Added Sugars
Nowadays many of the foods we eat contain added sugars. Unfortunately, these sugars will increase the risk of becoming overweight, and the associated health risks.
To cut back on these added sugars you will need to pay closer attention to the food labels when shopping.
#6: Eat Fewer Refined Carbs
Refined carbohydrates are those foods such as white bread and pasta that have had the fiber removed.
The problem with refined carbs is that they can cause your blood sugar levels to spike. This can lead to food cravings and an increase in food intake. Unsurprisingly, they have been linked with obesity .
A better option would be to choose unrefined whole grains such as multigrain bread and brown rice.
#7: Choose Healthy Snacks
If you are out and about and have no healthy snacks to hand then chances are you will end up buying yourself a chocolate bar or a pack of crisps to curb your hunger.
For obvious reasons eating these unhealthy snacks will not help your weight loss efforts.
Healthier options for you, and ones that are easy to prepare and portable, are:
- Whole fruits
- Baby carrots
- Hard-boiled eggs
#8: Get Regular Exercise
Exercise is incredibly important for weight loss and fat loss.
Personally, I would not rely solely on cardio, nor would I rule out cardio entirely. Cardiovascular exercise helps to burn calories and is proven to improve your overall health.
I would also suggest some resistance training or weight lifting. It will help build muscle, which will help increase your resting metabolic rate . Regular resistance training can also help prevent the loss of muscle mass (catabolism), a common issue that occurs when people are dieting.
#9: Consume More Fibre
The reason why you should be eating more fiber-rich foods is to help increase satiety. This will help you to keep control of your weight.
Fiber is also important for a healthy digestive system, which offers numerous health benefits in its own right.
#10: Eat More Fruits And Vegetables
Fruits and veggies are a good source of fiber, and as they are full of water they are also incredibly filling too.
If you value your health then you should increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. They are essential for good health as they contain many of the necessary daily vitamins and minerals.
#11: Get More Sleep
You should be aiming to get at least 7 hours of good quality sleep each night.
There is plenty of research available showing that a lack of sleep is a risk factor for obesity, with a 55% increased risk in adults .
#12: Eat More Protein
Another important macro you should try to hit each day is your protein intake. This is especially important if you are trying to build muscle as it helps to repair the damage caused when performing weight training.
Your protein intake has also been shown to increase your metabolism. With research showing that eating a high-protein diet could result in an extra 80-100 calories burnt daily .
If you have gained weight during lockdown you should consider taking steps to lose a little of that excess weight. As we have stated, this extra weight (or should I say fat) can lead to a host of health issues.
The key to losing weight is creating a calorie deficit, and hopefully, the tips provided will give you some ideas of what you can do.
Good luck! If you have any questions, leave a comment below.