• Dr Sally Norton


Updated: Jul 12, 2020

It's called the coronastone - the extra weight that has crept on thanks to the time we've been trapped in lockdown.

And we're now having to face up to it alongside everything else. And it's a bit miserable!

For some, the lockdown has been an opportunity to finally have time to aim for that elusive fitness goal. The huge surge in online exercise classes has provided support and the weather, at least initially, made getting out for a walk or cycle so much more pleasurable.

For others, sadly, the stress of lockdown, job uncertainty or even just boredom has taken its toll on waistlines as well as wellbeing. How many coffees and biscuits was it possible to have in a single day?! And a drink or two in the evening became a regular event that seemed justified when life was turned upside down.

But the coronastone isn’t just one more reason to feel fed-up, it’s a potential health risk going forward. It appears that the new coronavirus is here for a while yet. And, it seems that those who carry extra weight, diabetes and similar ‘metabolic’ problems are at more risk of a serious infection. So, it’s as good a time as any to get back on track with any healthy eating and other habits that help keep weight down.

Just cutting calories and relying on willpower is flawed, though - as I know from years of working in this field. We all know that our willpower fails us when we’re tired, hungry, stressed or miserable. It’s not our fault. We’re not simply weak-willed. There is a whole system of hormones and other chemicals that are involved in weight control that are pushing your behaviour in one way or another. And you can’t fight your body head-on.

We've messed up the complex weight-control mechanisms that should be managing our weight for us - like they do in animals and young kids. All these factors just aren't tackled with your standard fad-diet approach. It may work for a while then you lose the will to fight and the weight piles back on - and a bit more to give you that extra kick in the teeth that you really don't need when you're feeling like a failure. But don't blame yourself. Instead, you need to change the things that cause these hormonal and other shifts so that weight control becomes easier. There are lots of small tweaks that are needed - but here are a few easy ones you can start on now..

Focus on sleep – you can’t make healthier choices when you are exhausted.

Get outdoors – how we eat is partly influenced by our body clock so get it back in sync with natural light.

Eat proper food – not processed, chemical-laden concoctions that your body doesn’t recognise. How is it supposed to do its job of controlling your weight when it doesn't understand the fuel it is being given?

Just move – even standing more, rather than sitting, helps your weight and health so it's worth just getting off the sofa and doing something.

And forget about your weight. Yes, you heard me right! Focusing on your weight as your primary goal is just demotivating when your willpower fails you time after time.

Instead, try focusing on addressing these other factors that will make weight loss so much easier in the long run. Make them habits so you don't have to rely on willpower. You are far more likely to succeed. And, not only will those pounds start to come off in a more natural way, they will stay off. And you will feel healthier and happier too. So, change approach and wave goodbye to the coronastone - we just don't need that right now!

If you would like more support with your weight loss, check out my 12 week online Weight Loss For Life programme. It gives you a totally new, science-based approach to weight loss that will help you lose weight and keep it off for good, without the despair of repeated fad-diets.

Photos by Dovile Ramoskaite, Julia Kicova and Rayia Soderberg on Unsplash