Nutrition: How to avoid overweight due to corona

Nutrition: How to avoid overweight due to corona

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How to prevent excess "corona pounds"

Many people have gained weight as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Lack of exercise when working from home, changed daily routines and changed moods can have a massive impact on eating behavior. A nutritionist gives tips on how to get food that has gotten out of hand under control.

Dr. Leslie Heinberg is a psychologist and weight management specialist at the renowned American Cleveland Clinic. In a recent contribution from the clinic, the expert explains how to counter weight gains during the pandemic through nutritional interventions.

Interrupted eating routines

"There are a multitude of factors that cause nutrition to get off track," explains Heinberg. However, putting yourself under too much pressure is not an effective strategy to get rid of those extra pounds. Especially in the corona crisis, there are many good reasons why nutrition can get out of balance.

For example, many people have broken routines that help them stick to habits that ensure regular eating. "The lack of routine and structure makes it difficult to stick to your usual diet," explains the psychologist. In addition, the long stay at home provides constant access to dining options. At work, it was easier to avoid food cravings. "It is more difficult to ignore desires when your own kitchen is only three meters away," emphasizes the nutrition expert.

Emotional food

In addition, a large number of people are emotional eaters. Those who belong to this category eat more when certain emotions such as stress, grief, worry or simply boredom are felt. "If you add these aspects to the changes in our environment, it is a perfect basis for problematic eating behavior," says Heinberg.

Tips for healthy eating during the pandemic

There are a number of good reasons why the usual diet has gone off course in the Corona crisis, but there are also ways to get it back on track. Dr. Heinberg gives nine tips to help you eat healthier and lose weight better.

Tip 1: Don't put weight loss at the center

Articles with "Coroan diets" flood the Internet and magazines. But the psychologist warns that such measures often fuel false expectations. Instead, you should set realistic goals. “Do not concentrate on losing weight, but on keeping your weight for the time being,” recommends Heinberg. Those who master the crisis without gaining weight have already won.

Tip 2: quality instead of calories

According to Heinberg, it is particularly important to eat healthy foods that boost the immune system, such as lean protein and fruits and vegetables with antioxidants. "Instead of worrying about the calorie count or carbohydrate content of a food, you should think about how you can provide your body with good nutrients," says the nutritionist. This also helps to stay healthy.

Tip 3: Set small goals

Since the routines have become confused, it is difficult to change the lifestyle fundamentally. Now may not be the best time to overturn your habits and become vegan or carb free. "Start with smaller, achievable goals, like adding another serving of fruit or vegetables to every meal," the psychologist advises.

Tip 4: Check the stomach before each snack

To prevent emotional eating, according to Dr. Heinberg to be clear about his feelings. The principle of mindfulness can help here. Before a snack is thoughtlessly taken, you should ask yourself whether you are really hungry or maybe just bored, lonely, or scared.

"If you are bored, you can watch a movie or play a game with the kids, if you feel lonely, call a family member and if you are actually hungry, think about what a sensible, healthy meal can be could, ”the weight manager advised.

Tip 5: No "all or nothing mentality"

The diet doesn't have to be perfect. Macaroni and cheese may also be served on the table for lunch instead of a salad. Anyone who makes a healthier diet choice should therefore not have a guilty conscience. This decision just shouldn't become the standard.

Tip 6: keep your routine

If you have eaten too richly on one day, you will often try to compensate for it on another day by eating extra little. According to Heinberg, the next craving for food is lurking here. "If you skip breakfast and eat yogurt for lunch, you will only jump for sweets again later," says the expert.

Tip 7: avoid triggers

Do you know that you can't stop eating after consuming the first cookie or chips? Heinberg recommends that those who are triggered by certain foods should avoid them consistently and not buy the corresponding foods or sweets in the first place.

Tip 8: Do nothing else while eating

When we're distracted, it's surprisingly easy to eat a larger portion than usual. "Avoid eating in front of the laptop or in front of the television," said the nutritionist. The food should be served on a plate and eaten at a table. The senses should be focused on the taste, smell and consistency of the food.

Tip 9: Don't be too hard on yourself

If you fail in your project, don't go too hard on yourself. "This is an extremely challenging time and we should all be a little forgiving," Heinberg concludes. (vb)

Also read: If you do not answer these 7 questions, you will fail with any diet.

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Cleveland Clinic: Stop Beating Yourself Up About Your “Corona Diet” (published: May 18, 2020),

Video: Does avoiding saturated fat help Covid-19 outcomes? (May 2022).