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Weight gain in lockdown. How can we stop it?

Research conducted here at The 1:1 Diet has found that almost half of Brits (47%) say they have put on weight since lockdown began in March. A further 16% have put on five pounds or more in the past six weeks.

Our survey involved 2,000 UK adults, which revealed a troubling trend: Brits finding themselves more than a stone heavier by the time lockdown may be lifted.

The diets of 25-34 year olds have been most affected, with 59 per cent of respondents saying they have gained weight during lockdown.

Increased alcohol intake (35%), comfort eating (24%) and lack of exercise (17%) are key factors behind the weight gain, as people have socially distanced from everything but the fridge and food cupboards.

The research shows more than half (53%) of Brits surveyed stockpiled foods like pasta, chocolate and crisps, with only 13% stockpiling frozen fruits and vegetables, which are known to contain essential nutrients.

Check out our infographic for all of the stats!

Attitudes are changing due to COVID-19

The severity of the COVID-19 outbreak has brought about wider conversations around the nation’s health and the importance of a balanced lifestyle. 30% of Brits are unaware of the risks associated with obesity and COVID-19, which have been recognised in recent research by Edinburgh University and Imperial College London. 

However, the research shows that Brits are already planning to reduce their weight gain, with 30% intending to take immediate action – by either increasing their exercise (45%), changing their current eating habits (41%) and even reducing their alcohol intake (21%).

And while lockdown is causing lots of people to turn to food for comfort, its implications on our health is not going unnoticed. 48% of people say their overall attitude towards their health has been affected by the outbreak, with many previously taking their health for granted or are now planning to make considerable changes to their lifestyle as a result. 

Why are we gaining weight, and how can we stop it?

From anxiety to boredom, the top 10 reasons dieters have seen a weight gain during lockdown are:

  1. Comfort eating

  2. Exercising less

  3. Eating foods they wouldn’t normally consume

  4. Being bored

  5. Lack of routine

  6. Drinking more alcohol

  7. Feeling stressed or anxious

  8. Not being able to go to the gym

  9. Not being able to maintain a weight loss plan as easily

  10. A lack of contact with others

Mark Gilbert, Commercial Nutritionist at The 1:1 Diet, said: “The COVID-19 outbreak finds us in a time of uncertainty, with many turning to food and drink for comfort.

“The research we’ve commissioned shows that, while some find the change in their routine is impacting their weight, for others it is raising awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. At this time, it is essential to follow the Government’s current guidelines regarding exercise, and maintain a balanced diet, so as to avoid negatively impacting our overall physical and mental health during lockdown.”  

The research highlights that, while they are more likely to gain weight than men (48% vs 44%), women are also more likely (50%) to have their attitudes towards health impacted as a result of the outbreak.

Zoe Carter, 41, a dieter on The 1:1 Diet, from Surrey, said: “When lockdown started, my BMI was classed as obese at 14st 8lb and struggled to keep up with my children.

“The continuous news about the health implications of COVID-19, and how it can affect those who are overweight, made me seriously consider my lifestyle choices.

“Having no social plans meant I could dedicate myself to losing some weight and getting healthier. I started The 1:1 Diet and have lost an incredible 21lbs (one stone seven pounds) since lockdown began. The support I have received from my one-to-one virtual meetings with my Consultant, Donna Newbold, has been invaluable and she is spurring me on to reach my target weight.

I’ve still got a way to go to reach my target but I’m using these difficult circumstances to improve my health – for me and my family.”

Inspired to start your own weight loss story? Find a Consultant today!