The pandemic was a difficult time for the world. We are still feeling the effects. Life as we know it was turned upside down and many aspects of our lives suddenly changed. Many have found that they gained weight either during or after the pandemic and struggle to deal with it.
This weight gain can be a major catalyst in the development of eating disorders after COVID-19. The pandemic brought a lot of uncertainty, exposing the fragility of humanity and systems we have in place. COVID-19 has left many feeling as if they do not have as much control over their lives as they had thought before.
With the prevalence of social media and technology in our lives, it can be hard to have a moment of peace. We are bombarded everyday with not just photos of others, but photos of ourselves and what we were doing years ago on the very same day. This can spark negative feelings about oneself as there may be differences in the way you looked before and after the pandemic.
Eating disorders may provide a sense of relief to these feelings of lack of control and body image issues. However, it is important to not slip into unhealthy, disordered eating habits! Remember that weight gain during and after COVID-19 is OKAY. Here are some things to remind yourself whenever you feel yourself slipping into toxic dieting culture or negative self-talk.
You are more than your body - think about all of the non-physical traits that make you awesome and special
Acknowledge that you made it through a very difficult time - be proud that you were able to make it through one of the most difficult period humanity has ever experienced
Appreciate yourself and your body for getting through the pandemic - COVID-19 affected the health of many; have gratitude for your body for keeping you healthy and safe during a time of extreme health risk
You are currently experiencing the aftermath of the pandemic - the world is still adjusting and getting back to a “normal” life post-pandemic
Weight fluctuates and changes with the seasons of your life
Do not place too much emphasis, focus, and value on the way that you look - it’s what's on the inside that matters!
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Jack is an intern at Beanbag Health. He is a senior at the University of Connecticut, majoring in Management. Jack states that he has already learned so much during his time at Beanbag Health and feels excited to be a part of a company that is working towards making eating disorder recovery support more accessible. He is looking forward to a future where everyone will be able to access affordable and effective mental health care.
Clinically Reviewed By:
Iain is a consultant psychiatrist with postgraduate training in medicine, psychiatry, complexity science, and healthcare informatics. He's fascinated by the relationship between physical health and mental health and has extensive experience with eating disorder patients in inpatient settings. He's an honorary senior clinical lecturer at University of Oxford. His passion is making psychological strategies for recovery available to all.