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Infectious Diseases

Updated 22 April 2020

Can you avoid unwanted weight gain during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Being cooped up at home with easy access to food can lead to overeating. These tips will help you to avoid piling on the pounds.

Beware of your fridge, pantry and couch during the coronavirus pandemic.

Being cooped up at home with easy access to food can lead to overeating. Couple that with routine housekeeping, working from home, home schooling your kids and tending to loved ones, and it's a sure-fire recipe for weight gain, experts at the University of Georgia in Athens warn.

"These tasks have been added to our many other responsibilities," said Emma Laing, director of dietetics in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. "So, if something has to give as we strive to find our new normal, routines surrounding eating and physical activity might go out the window."

To stay on track, get up off the couch. Try to set times during the day for physical activity you enjoy, and to eat regular meals and snacks that provide adequate energy and hydration.

Avoid mindless snacking

"In creating this schedule, do so while maintaining flexibility," Laing said. "It's important to trust our bodies' cues for hunger, so listen to those first."

Try to avoid mindless snacking.

Physical distancing during the coronavirus pandemic doesn't mean you have to stop exercising. In fact, physical activity is a crucial stress management strategy.

Ali Berg, a Cooperative Extension nutrition and health specialist, pointed out that "physical activity is good for maintaining immunity, in addition to adequate nutrition. Being active is also good for mental health."

Even though gyms and yoga studios are closed, you can find other ways to be active, said Tracey Brigman, a clinical assistant professor.

"I start each day with a 2-mile walk," said Brigman. "Anytime I cook, I dance (and embarrass my kids). Music also lifts my spirits, so I don't stress eat. If I have down time waiting for a timer, I jog around the rooms in my house while I wait."

Other simple ways to stay active include playing with your pets, finding workouts online or through free apps, playing games with the family – and even cleaning the house.

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