Pack on the pounds during pandemic? You aren’t alone

Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 10:47 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - If you’ve stepped on the scale or tried to put on some pants and wondered what’s going on, you’re not alone.

Many people are dealing with weight gain over the last year with working from home, having access to food all day, not exercising and stress eating.

“I did put on some weight due to not being in my job and being active,” Louisville mom Jami Cutbush said.

It takes courage to get in front of a camera and talk about gaining weight, but Cutbush agreed to do it because she wants others to know they aren’t alone. Cutbush is a hairstylist and is used to being on her feet all day. When COVID hit, that meant a lot of time at home.

”There were a lot of days where there was not much to do but be entertained with Netflix and snacks,” Cutbush said.

Researchers from the University of California at San Francisco last year tracked about 270 adults across the country from February to June. They found the participants gained an average of one and a half pounds every month, regardless of where they lived or any underlying health conditions.

”It is concerning to me because not only are patients gaining more weight but, I’m also diagnosing more hypertension, pre-diabetes, diabetes, as well as high cholesterol,” said Dr. Crystal Narcisse, from Norton Healthcare.

Working from home, depression and closed gyms also played a role, Narcisse said.

“Know why you are overeating,” she said. “If you are stressed, maybe it’s a good time to see a therapist.”

Dieticians say to get on track, focus on diet and exercise, and give yourself grace.

“The one thing you don’t want to do is go to a quick-fix type of solution,” registered dietician Emilie Berry said. “You don’t want to try any of these shakes or detoxes or fad diets that aren’t extremely healthy for us.”

Berry said it’s important to focus on adding one thing at a time.

“Try to make sure you are getting in enough water, then maybe a fruit or vegetable in each meal,” Berry said. “Make sure you are spreading out some protein throughout the day, (and) go for a daily walk. Soon as you build upon those small habits, you can make bigger and bigger goals.”

Narcisse said getting adequate sleep is critical, too. It can help with stress and weight loss. She added that it’s never too late to improve your health.

Cutbush said she’s getting back on track to lose the weight; she said she joined InShapeMD. And since everyone’s weight-loss journey is different, what works best for one person might work differently for someone else.

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