07 March 2022 – 13:32 The clock
by Anja Sokolov
The scale shows a few kilos more than before the start of the pandemic? Nutrition experts reveal why you shouldn’t judge yourself so harshly – and how you can finally successfully fight the pounds.
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“Survival reflex”: why pandemic fears make us gain weight
If the corona kilos just don’t want to go away, some people rely on nutritionists like Urte Brink from Bergisch-Gladbach in North Rhine-Westphalia. “Sometimes it’s two, sometimes 15 kilos. There’s a lot of extra weight overall,” says Brink, a member of the professional association Oecotrophologie. But this is probably only the tip of the iceberg: “Many have not yet devoted themselves to the subject, the big wave is still to come”, she is convinced.
An updated study that the Robert Koch Institute plans to release in March, a spokeswoman says, could show how many kilos people in Germany have actually put on. A study published in the “Journal of Health Monitoring” from the first year of the pandemic already indicated a trend of increasing weight: the approximately 23,000 people surveyed nationwide aged 15 and over took an average of 1 .1 kg between April 2019 and September 2020. An online survey conducted by the Technical University of Munich in April 2021 showed that around 40% of participants had gained weight since the start of the pandemic. On average, it was 5.6 kilograms.
Nutritional psychologist Christoph Klotter from the University of Fulda understands that people are currently gaining weight. The corona pandemic is a fundamental crisis and poses a constant threat to the unconscious. “Historically, when we feel threatened, we eat more – for fear of starving. It’s a survival reflex,” says Klotter.
kilo factor home office
Particularly difficult for many: working from home linked to the pandemic. Cake tricks with colleagues are no longer necessary, but so is the way of working and thus the frequent exercise in everyday life. But now always nearby: refrigerator, stove and supplies. It is faster to have a snack or to have a chocolate.
“Working from home means I don’t see my colleagues anymore. It’s a blow, I try to deal with it somehow,” says Klotter. For some people, food is the manager of emotions. The limbic system, one of the oldest brain regions, crave rewards unconditionally. And in a society of plenty, food is the simplest form of reward. However, there are also people who lose their appetite in crisis situations, says Klotter. The latter are rewarded differently or are in permanent stress mode. “Some people forget to eat,” Klotter says.
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Do not give up in case of setbacks: “You have to forgive yourself”
However, consultant Brink has also observed that some people now have much more opportunity to cope with weight loss: “Those on short-time work, for example, have more time to go out and exercise or to cook consciously”. One of them is his client Sandra R. from Bergisches Land, who lost twelve kilos in six months.
“Thanks to the nutrition counseling, I finally learned how to turn bad eating habits into better ones,” the 51-year-old said. In combination with many kilometers of cycling, gymnastics and aquajogging, the pounds quickly dropped. She also learned not to give up immediately after minor setbacks, but to always think positively and act accordingly. From Klotter’s perspective, it’s also important not to judge or devalue yourself for the extra pounds: “You have to forgive yourself and understand that we’re just in crisis mode,” he says. He advises those affected to say to themselves, “Yeah, it’s like that right now and I hope it’s over soon” and see how they can regulate their feelings differently.
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Nutritional Psychologist: How Rewards Help You Lose Weight
“I recommend looking at the weekends to see how I can reward myself the week ahead. What calms my nerves if it’s not supposed to be food?” continues the psychologist.
For some people, the daily walk is a reward, for others it’s relaxation training or just relaxing while listening to music. It is also useful to keep a diary and to document and reflect on eating habits: “In what situations should I go to the refrigerator?”
Antje Gahl from the German Nutrition Society has a tip that should help target just the fridge: she advises preparing meals for the home office as they were prepared for the office and putting them in the fridge.
The issue of obesity is not entirely new. In Germany, many people were already overweight before the pandemic. “The problem will continue to concern us after the pandemic,” says Gahl. (dpa/dhe)
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