BY NIKEE GAMAGE
Students studying from home are voicing their stress and anxiety over potential weight gain during the COVID-19 isolation period.
Monash University student Melinda Koh said she is worried about gaining weight because there is “[not] much we can do” during self-quarantine and she “[doesn’t] have space at home” or equipment to exercise.
“I have a bad habit when I’m bored, I just start eating,” Ms Koh said.
She said that as a regular gym-goer and participant in the sports offered at Team Monash, she feels lost without an outlet for physical activity.
“Now that gyms are closed, I feel like my life is a little unstructured … I don’t know what to do.”
Dietician and director of Nutrition Health & Wellbeing Leanne Azzopardi said weight gain is a common concern for many due to the disruption to work and exercise habits in line with ‘stay at home’ restrictions.
“Some of the challenges some of my patients are having is being at home, being around the pantry, not [having] much to do around the house and obviously snacking,” Ms Azzopardi said.
“They’re not feeling great, they’re low in energy.”
Monash University student Emili Spartalis said the ready access to food, along with the physical unavailability of gyms and general practitioners, has tempted her to relapse in her Binge Eating Disorder.
“Lately I’ve been feeling kind of trapped,” Ms Spartalis said.
"I was diagnosed with a Binge Eating Disorder a few years back, so it's made it especially hard I guess," she said.
"I've always struggled. I was diagnosed formally about three years ago and for the past few months or so I've felt like I've been kind of on top of things.
"But now that therapy is difficult to access since we can't actually physically see our GPs, and combined with the fact I can't exercise and I'm surrounded by a tonne of food, it makes you want to relapse."
Nutritionist Tara Leong from The Nutrition Guru and The Chef said the anxiety and stress of self-quarantine weight gain can be especially triggering for those who have or are currently suffering from eating disorders.
“Hearing a lot about food and hearing about the dangers of weight gain can be very worrying for them,” Ms Leong said.
“It’s not the worst thing in the world if someone puts on some weight during the pandemic.”
Ms Leong said it is also important to be mindful of who we follow on social media.
“If we get so bogged down with having to be this perfect eater, this perfect figure, this perfect exerciser, that could have really long-term impacts on our mental health,” she said.