Welcome to this Covid 19 column addressing what you (and your patients) can do to take control of your health during these crazy times. I’ve included relevant news briefs as well as findings from our telehealth practice (and from more than 30 years doing Medical Nutrition Therapy.)
In the news: Data suggests little weight gain during pandemic
“Withings has analyzed data on about 450,000 of its users in the US and found that from March 22 to April 18 the average weight gain was 0.21 pounds, while 37% of people gained more than 1 pound. Stanford University professor Christopher Gardner said limiting grocery store trips for safety during the novel coronavirus pandemic is an opportunity for people to be more intentional about what they eat”. Full Story: The Washington Post
My response? That wasn’t much different than the previous year where gain was .19 lbs in that same period. And 0.21 lbs every 27 days would result in an annual weight gain of under 3 lbs a year. But more importantly…
This info is coming from an electronic scale company, so those who have purchased and used their scale may not be representative of the general public.
>>> Who’s buying these scales, which sell for $60-$150? They are not likely purchased by the Americans working 2 jobs, or with no time on their hands to take up learning a foreign language and study the classics, like our dear Ivanka. So this data just might not be representative of what the majority of people are experiencing.
>>> When you are overeating do you hop on the scale? I didn’t think so. Averaging scale readings may distort things. For instance, those who are dieting and restricting tend to weigh themselves more frequently, while those who feel that they’ve fallen off course want nothing to do with the scale—or with their body for that matter. So this “average weight change” may wash out the range of change that people are seeing during life not reflect what individuals under quarantine are really seeing.
Most importantly, don’t let your weight determine your value. It rarely has a positive impact on your eating; if you are restricting, it reinforces inappropriate undereating. And if you are feeling you’re doing well, and then hop on the scale for validation and the weight didn’t go as planned, then you’ll be bummed and tend to be destructive in your eating. Sound familiar?
So please ditch the scale! Focus instead on your behaviors. How are you doing with sitting and eating without distraction? Have you hit your fitness goals for this week? Are you taking the time to plan for balanced meals that satisfy?
These make a lot more sense that focusing on weight—which fluctuates with hydration, constipation, food intake, clothing, and PMS. See my point?
Please reach out if you have any questions!