Carly Woodfield, Staff Writer

During the pandemic, comfort foods have been here for everybody during this tough time of quarantine. The fridge and pantry are close and inviting, ready to help release the stress of people in such uncertain times. Many people are gaining the “COVID 15,” otherwise known as adding some extra snacks to the diet as well as putting on extra pounds, due to gym closures and a lack of motivation to workout during quarantine. How are the lockdowns really affecting people’s health concerning weight gain and lack of working out? Also, what is this doing to people with eating disorders such as obesity? 

To start, COVID-19  has affected many people’s eating habits due to being so close to food, and from being at home all day. As a result, this could lead to a lot of weight gain and lack of motivation to stay in shape. However, this is not the case for everybody, as people have made healthy changes to diets as well. When asked teens if quarantine has affected their diet answers varied which was somewhat pleasing. Negative answers in diet were “easy access to food 24/7” Issaquah High School junior Madeline Terry says, as well with IHS sophomore Ella Birrel-Levine stating, “I ate a lot more candy which affected my skin.” For positive changes in diet, Mount SI. High School freshman Scarlet Riden answered:“I began eating what I should have been eating, since certain stressors were relieved because of quarantine.” It is good to know that not everybody caved into the treasures inside their pantry and were able to create better and more consistent eating habits, but that still is not realistic for everybody. 

Exercising habits were also greatly affected when COVID-19 caused gyms, dance studios, high school sports, and many other exercise locations to close. Even though workout locations closed and prevented normal activities from continuing, this did not stop everybody from staying in shape. Sammamish High School senior Anja Bullen, Ridden and Terry all stopped dancing but began other types of exercise. Bullen “started doing workouts on Youtube” while Terry “went on walks with family” and Riden did “yoga and abs from Youtube.” This shows that even through a pandemic, you can still stay motivated to keep up with healthy habits to maintain a good shape. 

During the pandemic, many people tried supporting local businesses by ordering take-out. This is not necessarily a bad thing but definitely could have affected your health if ordering food all the time, “once every two weeks” Birell-Levine’s family ordered take-out which is a well-monitored amount. Spanish teacher Kay Vazques had a different approach to avoid take-out, and began to “cook more at home.” Cooking at home tends to be more healthy because oftentimes, take-out can make people want to splurge and order something that cannot always be made at home such as a tasty milkshake or your favorite fast food. Both cooking at home and ordering take-out can both be healthy options as long as these meals are balanced and not too greasy. 

Eating habits tie in with your weight and how the food you are eating is affecting the body. Being at home all day can be very difficult and especially for people with eating disorders. One in particular that is impacting many during quarantine is obesity. Math teacher Julie Hartel believes “being stuck at home could have intensified the disorders and make it very difficult.” Other people interviewed also agreed, Terry exclaimed, “People who already struggle probably got more obese and might have made it harder to fight against it.” These statements are very reasonable considering how gyms also being closed makes motivation to lose the weight very difficult to face. 

Following just some opinions on how being in quarantine has been affecting weight gain and how this impacts obesity, doctors also highlight how to keep the weight off and some people’s excessive weight gain over quarantine. For instance, “One reason to keep your weight from getting too far out of control is that obesity is associated with serious complications in people with COVID-19, according to  Dr. Morton.” Knowing that obesity is affecting people more with COVID is just another incentive to keep motivated with healthy eating. Dr. Morton also expresses concerns about weight gain after seeing “patients in telehealth appointments who have gained five, ten, and even thirty pounds.” Knowing that people have been gaining varied amounts of weight over quarantine is concerning and would be considered unhealthy for many. 

With weight gain being an apparent issue during the pandemic, what is causing people to have increased weight during this time? Certainly people do not want to eat unhealthily  on purpose; therefore this is not the sole issue leading to weight gain. In the manner that an inviting pantry or fridge causes weight gain, “research ties depression and anxiety to long-term weight gain,” which are other factors adding to weight gain over quarantine. Not to forget “social isolation and loneliness may be linked to a higher risk of weight gain,” which is very understandable for people to be undergoing those emotions in this pandemic. Overall, being at home for quarantine has caused weight gain, which in turn, can lead to obesity. 

In all, the pandemic, or snack-a-demic, has caused people’s eating habits to either turn for the better or for the worse. It is important in these times to stay motivated to eat healthy and stay away from the snacks in order to retain a healthy body for when life returns to normal. Working out even if it is just a walk around the neighborhood is also beneficial to keep your body in a routine of health and good habits. It has been shown to be difficult for obese people in these times to keep striving for healthier habits, but it can all be done. Overall, eating habits and working out is very important to maintain, even in a pandemic.