During this period I have heard a lot of people complain about unwanted weight gain, but it is the opposite in my case. I have been losing a lot of weight and it took me a while to notice.
When I think about all the possible explanations, my weight loss makes perfect sense. My lifestyle has changed pretty drastically since I started shielding. I have new routines that have had a knock-on effect on my weight.
Pre-COVID-19 I had a very active lifestyle. I was never one to sit still and stay at home. I was always doing something, whether it was going to work, going out with friends, or going to the gym, and while I was going about my day, I’d end up burning between 800 and 1,000 calories. When I spent so much energy completing said tasks, my body needed more food to replace the energy lost.
However, now that I am stuck at home, I struggle to burn 400 calories in a day, as my movements are pretty minimal. I don’t have to travel far; I just go from room to room. Thus, my body does not need to consume a lot of food.
Food availability has also played a big role in my unwanted weight loss. Previously, if I was hungry, I’d be able to quickly soothe my craving by going to the shops or ordering a meal online where there is a range of food I can buy. Now that I am at home, I have to make pretty much everything I eat myself, and this requires a lot of effort. I enjoy eating food way more than I enjoy making food, so sometimes I opt for a quick snack as opposed to a nutritious meal that would fill me up. Also, I am not able to go grocery shopping, and when my parents shop they don’t always buy what I’m in the mood for, so at times my options are limited.
Additionally, it is not uncommon for people with sickle cell to have a naturally smaller appetite. So now that I understand the factors contributing to my weight loss, I am making intentional changes and doing what I can to gain it back.
So far I’ve:
- Started strength training exercises
When I exercised previously, I focused solely on cardio, skipping, and following YouTube challenges tailored toward weight loss. My intention was just to stay fit. I still intend to stay fit, but I aim to do so while gaining muscle mass, so I bought resistance bands and have tailored my exercises and challenges accordingly.
- Made changes to my diet
I make sure I eat at least three meals a day. It may sound simple, but I now make the conscious effort to eat three meals irrespective of my appetite and, trust me, this takes a lot of effort. The meals may be smaller in size if I’m not that hungry, but as long as I eat something I see it as progress.
- Increased my protein intake, which is needed for muscle growth
- Kept a healthy snack around me at all times
Hopefully I’ll start seeing a difference soon!
How has this lockdown affected your weight gain/loss journey? Do you have any tips for someone in my position?
Note: Sickle Cell Anemia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Anemia News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell anemia.
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