Lockdown came with sweatpants, Netflix and a whole lot of baking, which in return welcomed weight gain jokes like, ‘Covid 15’. While this seemed like a harmless joke at the peak of lockdown, a way to connect and laugh with friends, these funny quips are more damaging than originally thought.
When we joke about weight it shifts our focus to what your body looks like opposed to how it feels and what it does for you. They make people feel worse rather than better and layer on that food guilt, not to mention setting the body positive movement back by miles.
We have a new way of living that we are being forced into. It has created a high stress environment and with it comes changes to our lives, our health and our wellbeing. From living, working, exercising and even schooling from home, this is our new normal.
How long will this be our new normal? Who knows? But in this strange time, we need to take the pressure off where possible and reduce the workload. Do small things for you:
- Get out for small amounts of ‘sanity’ exercise – this can just be a walk around the block.
- Create moments of enjoyment – create a cheese platter to enjoy with a glass of wine or drink of choice.
These little things might not seem ‘health inducing’, but that is exactly what they are – they are for our mental health which at the moment is just as important as our physical health.
With this new normal comes a high stress situation, and in high stress it is very common for weight to fluctuate. While diet culture tells us, we should still look the same as when we were 18yrs old, this is not achievable or healthy for most. The female body is an amazing thing, and it needs to be nourished not restricted. We need to accept our bodies for what they do for us and not what they look like.
When the lockdown weight gain jokes start up, this refocuses our attention onto the way our body looks and creates an unhealthy relationship with food and the small things that might be bringing you joy during this time. This mental load can cause you to overthink food choices and actually lead to you craving them as you restrict them even more.
Instead we need to start shifting the language and the way we talk about our bodies and our food during lockdown. This conversation especially needs to shift in front of children who are only just beginning their journey to understanding and loving their body and making healthy food choices. Their little brains are a lot more vulnerable than ours and the language and actions we use around them can affect them for years to come.
From what starts as a joke can lead to body shame, food guilt, dieting and restriction.
This lockdown makes a conscious effort to look at the way you view and the language you use to describe your body, especially in front of children. This lockdown try to focus on doing something that brings you joy and makes your body feel good! We have to come out of this feeling proud of our bodies that got us through this, not ashamed of it.
If you’re struggling to find joy in lockdown, write a list of all the things you enjoy doing and go from there. You’ll soon find that your shift from food guilt fades away. Remember that lockdown baking is completely healthy and a great activity to enjoy in lockdown.
Shelley Judge is an expert nutritionist and food scientist for children. She is on a mission to debunk kids’ nutrition and diet culture by helping small children develop good relationships with food.