And according to a JAMA study, adults in lockdown gained more than half a pound every 10 days, which is about two pounds a month.
But now, with the light at the end of the tunnel, summer on the way, and pants with actual waistbands making a reappearance, you may be ready to take control of the bad habits that cropped up over quarantine.
While experts have different theories about the best way to lose weight, celebrity nutritionist Haylie Pomroy believes it’s all about keeping your metabolism fired up. Here are her tips.
Give yourself grace
The stress and fear of the past year — worry about the virus, remote learning, job loss, ill loved ones — made it hard to stay fit. “We had hormonal shifts in our bodies that we didn’t have control over,” Pomroy tells PEOPLE. “Stress and fear create a spike in hormones that slow your metabolism.” Add to that disrupted routines, closed gyms, less movement and more takeout, and it’s no wonder people gained weight.
But don’t feel bad about it. “Guilt and shame are fattening,” says Pomroy, adding that our bodies did what they were supposed to do. “Let everything go that was in the past — start fresh from today.”
Pomroy’s approach is to eat within 30 minutes of waking up. The author of the bestselling The Fast Metabolism Diet says a good meal includes 10 to 15 grams of protein, a vegetable, a whole fruit and some sort of healthy fat such as organic eggs, coconut, avocado or a tablespoon of olive oil over a sweet potato. “You want to turn on your digestion and support proper blood-sugar based hormones.”