Worried about having gained weight over Covid? Hey, you are not alone, you are also completely normal and not doing anything wrong if you have gained weight. People are being shamed and made feel guilty because since the pandemic they have put on weight. We are expecting everyone to have kept up with their exact routines and lifestyle habits without considering, for a lot of people, their lives were really flipped upside down. There was an adjustment period to make, much of the world has changed and not to mention constant ongoing stress daily, over a long-term period, while this pandemic is still going. That final part is important to remember, this pandemic is still going, you may be somewhat used to it being a part of your life, however, the way it needs to be factored into everyday life, still has an underly of stress impacting you.
My career is to specialise in building healthy habits, yet, for whatever reason, I have been gaining weight over the last few months too. I could not tell you how much because I do not weigh myself, I see no logic in placing my self-worth or identity on a number on a scale, I would encourage a lot of people to stop weighing themselves too and go more by how your clothes feel and how you feel.
There have been times over this pandemic where my mental health has not been at its best and as a result, I lost a lot of motivation for healthy eating and regular exercise. At those times, my self-care was to nurture my mental state and if that meant getting a lot more rest than usual and not keeping up with my usual exercise routine, then I chose to be okay with that. It is always important to remember that you will go through ebbs and flows, if healthy habits are important to you and you love how they make you feel, it is almost a guarantee that you will eventually find your way back there if you are patient with yourself enough. Here is where I want you to understand the key difference between being a weight neutral/body acceptance coach. I have not guilted myself into thinking I am somehow failing at life because my clothes are too tight. I have not started throwing self-hate and cruel words towards the mirror just because my figure is changing. I have not fought the need to go out and buy bigger clothes so that I can feel more comfortable. So, what have I done? I have sat with myself and asked what emotions am I not dealing with because I know that weight can be held onto as a means of suppressed emotions. I have been more kind to who I see in the mirror because I know that throwing hate at myself will help me in no way shape or form. I have reminded myself regularly my body is not just its shape, it gets me through the day, it carries me through all the great experiences of life. It is important to be aware that many, many factors contribute to a change in weight. So what has been my approach to be sure I am taking care of myself physically and mentally? I am noting how food makes me feel,than if it fills me with energy or makes me want to go have a 10-hour nap, if my stomach agrees with it, and also do I actually enjoy it. I am focussing on what brings me joy. I am making a conscious effort to keep on top of self-care activities, this is not the time to dismiss taking care of yourself and feeling like you do not deserve to feel good just because your body has changed. I am not focussing on calories, good or bad, I know this approach only adds guilt and shame, takes the pleasure out of food, and is not sustainable. I am focussing on nutrition, what foods are going to fuel my body to function at its best? I am focussing on finding movement I really enjoy rather then what I think I should be doing. I am consistently trying to tune into my body, ask it what it needs. I am seeing a doctor to make sure all my bloods are okay in case something else is going on. I recognise that I am feeling fatigued and that could be a number of factors, diet yes but also stress, burnout, poor sleep quality, not feeling inspired by things in my life, poor mental health. I am considering all of those areas of life and working to tending to them. Do you see the difference? I have not spiraled into a hole of self-hate, into thinking I failed as a person because my body has changed. How much love and care I give myself has gone up, not down because I know my body needs it more now to feel safe and appreciated. Your relationship with you and your body does not need to be a battle, it needs to be a collaboration, treating yourself like you would your best friend. Looking after your health is about listening to what is going on, factoring in all of the contributing factors. You can be for body acceptance and still want to address why your body is changing if it is acting out of character of what it normally does. If you feel ashamed because you have gained weight over covid. I really encourage you to remind yourself that weight gain is a very normal response to these stressful times. What can you start doing this week to prioritise your mental and physical health instead of berating yourself for gaining weight?