Quarantine 15: Local health experts talk pandemic weight gain

Local health experts say although weight gain for most people isn't ideal, it is okay to listen to your body's needs and indulge during these stressful times.

Posted: Apr 13, 2020 9:02 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Although weight gain for most people isn't ideal, it is okay to listen to your body's needs and indulge during these stressful times, local health experts say.

“You know as long as it is not an eating disorder behavior or turning into binging, or things like that I think, even I am eating more fun foods right now 'cause sometimes it makes us feel a little better and makes us more at ease with everything going on,” said Regan Peterson, a nutritionist from Eugene. 

Research shows that glucose must be replenished after we deal with stress. So the more glucose we release in reaction to stress, the hungrier we’ll be after the stressful situation.

“I think we’re all anxious right now and I think a lot of people are stress eating right now or maybe anxious eating. I think that there’s some normalcy to that. I think we can all use food at times to cope with things like that,” Peterson said. 

Ed Collins, personal trainer and owner of Simply Strong, said the majority of his clients are elderly, and he said he is more concerned they are losing muscle mass rather than gaining weight. 

“Our facility is geared more towards people staying strong and healthy,” said Collins.

Collins said since Gov. Kate Brown's stay at home order was put in place, he has closed Simply Strong's doors and is worried about the future. 

Although experts predict stress from the pandemic and isolation could cause an increase in weight gain for the population, Collins and Peterson both said they don't think a few pounds will hurt anyone. 

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