Skip to content

5 Ways The Pandemic Wrecked Your Weight Loss Efforts

One study proves that stay-at-home orders and quarantining made it difficult for many to follow health goals.

Working from home, cooking most meals, and Zoom happy hours quickly became part of normal everyday life. It made sense that all the places people visited a lot had to close. Gyms, religious services, hair and nail salons, and other enclosed places are germier than others and even when the lockdown is fully over, you will need to be careful when you visit.

Some of these closings, though, made it harder for some to stick to coronavirus weight loss goals, and healthy habits in general, according to a study published in the journal Clinical Obesity. Here's what it found out.


Less exercise time and less intense workouts.

Asian women exercising in bed in the morning

The study, which asked participants to complete a survey, found that 47.9% of people had less time to exercise during the pandemic, even with the stay-at-home orders. Others did have time, but 55.8% said their workouts were less intense.

Related: 25 Easy Exercises That Boost Your Health Fast


Stockpiling food from grocery stores.

grocery bags sitting in back of car

Grocery shopping became a stressful endeavor for many. So, in order to make fewer trips, people bought more. Almost 50% of the 123 participants said they stockpiled food. The prices of one of the items, meat, increased by nearly 50%, causing some people to buy more to freeze and save.

But here's why Walmart's CEO told customers to stop buying in bulk.


Increased anxiety and depression.

Man stressed while working on laptop

The CDC says the virus spreads mainly from person to person, and this info not only led to all the closures and quarantine rules but also increased fear in many. The Clinical Obesity study found that 83.6% of the 123 who took their survey felt more depressed and 72.8% felt more anxious. These are linked to weight gain, because they make you lethargic, according to Harvard Health.

Related: These foods can help calm you when you're feeling stressed.


Stress eating.

Woman eating popcorn by TV

Comfort food is called comfort food for a reason, and snacking to ease some stress is normal. Just over 60% of people who answered the survey said they have been stress eating during the pandemic. This not only increases the number of calories eaten per day and diminishes your coronavirus weight loss but, according to some scientists, could hurt your focus.

If you can't curb the cravings, here are some snacks that are low in calories but still satisfying.


Increased alcohol intake.

Man relaxing with bourbon whiskey drink alcoholic beverage in hand and using mobile smartphone

Science shows that alcohol and weight loss don't mix well. Not only are you at risk of eating more when drinking, alcohol negatively affects the way muscles repair themselves.

Online alcohol sales went up over 400% and in-store booze purchases rose at least 27% in April after stay-at-home orders were put into place, according to data published by Nielsen.

There are ways of enjoying fun drinks without the harsh side effects of alcohol. These are 13 of the best non-alcoholic beers for zero-proof drinking.


Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
Amanda McDonald
Amanda has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in digital journalism from Loyola University Chicago. Read more about Amanda
Filed Under