TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Have you kept track of your weight during the pandemic quarantine? The stress of self-isolation may be one of the causes of disruption in eating habits, or simply the stresses of confinement pushes you to eat more which eventually reflects in your weight.
Across the globe, some identify this phenomenon as the ‘quarantine 15’ which refers to the 15-pound or 6.8 kilograms weight gain during self-isolation. An examination of this issue gave us three possible reasons why being isolated at home may have contributed to you gaining weight.
- Stress Eating Cycle
We as humans are more likely to revert to sugary food, filled with fat, and carbs for a quick energy boost. This may be the reason why we crave junk food and snacks at home as these ‘comfort foods’ act similar to a tranquilizer that calms down our nerves in times of peril.
However, in a short term, these choices of food may turn into a bigger problem for the long run as comfort eating may trap us in an eating cycle - that is hard to break - which adds to the stress levels that may result in serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity as well as emotional issues like depression and anxiety.
- Stress Hormones
As we get stressed our brain produces stress hormones in the form of cortisol and adrenaline and to counterbalance it, muscles and our liver will produce glucose which is felt as energy by our body. According to several pieces of research, glucose must be refilled after the stress passes. This causes the craving to consume sweet foods, high sodium, and fat.
In the long run, the accumulation of fat and sugar that we consume may stack up in parts of our body, most easily the stomach, and cause metabolic syndrome.
- Lack of Physical Activities
Being confined at home for months would often cause someone to undergo fewer physical activities compared to pre-pandemic times. Opportunities to conduct healthy activities at home such as the usual exercises may be hampered by demands of remote working or working from home. This aspect added with the aforementioned aspects may drive someone to gain weight.