You've all seen the memes – 'I'm going from Barbie to Carbie', 'who else is gaining the Quarantine 15?', 'I'm either losing 50 pounds or gaining 100 over the next three months' etc etc… Plus the at-home weight-loss bootcamps that constantly pop up on our Instagram feeds. Anyone else get the impression some are more scared of weight gain than catching COVID-19?!
And it's not their fault – weight gain goes against what society has told to do from the moment we were able to absorb the message… We are conditioned to celebrate weight loss and treat it as the most incredible thing humans can do, and conversely, we're conditioned to fear weight gain and consider it as a failure.
But weight loss is NOT us failing. It's never an indicator of failing, but especially not during these current circumstances – weight fluctuations are an entirely normal response to our lives being very different right now. We are not in our usual routines – far from it, in fact – our anxiety is most likely heightened and we are prioritising other things than what our bodies look like.
For many of us, that equals weight gain. And, once again, that is OK. But if you need a little extra encouragement, here are some tips on how to handle it:
Accept this is where you're supposed to be right now
You're in the body that you're supposed to be in right now. Acknowledge that, accept it and show yourself some kindness. You don't deserve to be punished for a very normal response to changing circumstances.
Read: 7 of the best free apps for your fitness and mental health during self-isolation
Choose your clothes wisely
I’m not suggesting you hide your frame in baggy clothes, but be sensible about what you choose to wear – don’t reach for the skinny jeans that have a habit of making you feel bad about yourself. Don’t torture yourself with tight-fitting clothes, just go for what makes you feel comfortable – you deserve to feel comfortable and confident at any size.
SHOP: The best loungewear sets to wear while on lockdown at home
Focus on how you feel – not how you look
It's easy to focus on your body when you gain weight but try to just shift your attention anywhere else. Do things that increase your energy and overall wellbeing, rather than things that change your body. For example, if I'm having a not so good day with my body, I will do whatever exercise I can – currently, that’s yoga at home - and remind myself of how strong my body is. That helps me take the emphasis away from how it looks.
Curate your social media feed
If anyone that you’re following triggers you in some way to feel bad about your body, unfollow them or mute them. And on the other hand, try and search out a whole diverse range of body-confident people to follow. The more diversity you see on your feed, the better you will feel. Side note: anyone who posts anything like the above memes deserves an immediate mute.
Read: You need to follow these body confidence heroes on Instagram
Confide in someone
Feeling rubbish about the weight gain? Tell someone! A problem shared is a problem halved and that person is most likely going to tell you – truthfully – that you look great and you don't need to worry about the few extra pounds.
Visit BEAT for free online support.