Editorial

Worrying about weight gain in a pandemic

watching their weight
Weight watching during a pandemic. Source: Alan Cleaver (via Flickr)
The UK has an obsession with weight, which has been exacerbated during the pandemic, causing a negative impact on the way we view our bodies.

Disclaimer: This article addresses subjects some may find distressing, such as disordered eating.

By Tirion Davies | Editor-in-Chief

By March 23, we will have officially been in a year-long lockdown period. The word ‘unprecedented’ gets thrown around a lot, but it seems hard to describe this period in any other way; none of us quite saw a global pandemic coming.

This year has been hard on everyone, and the constant pressure and anxiety put on us all from this pandemic has meant fluctuations in weight. A joke we hear often now is “well, they’ve enjoyed their time off during the pandemic”. But the reality of the situation is that it’s a difficult time, and fluctuating weight isn’t the biggest issue we’re having to deal with.

We’re taught by society from a young age that in order to feel confident in our bodies, that we must fall under a ‘skinny’ category. The 1990s and early 2000s saw a wave of extremely thin models as the norm in fashion, with many of them, we now know, going to extreme and dangerous lengths to maintain a size 0.

The world is obsessed with weight and being skinny; how many television programmes are made each year talking about weight and dieting? There is an understanding that in order to be loved and in order to be beautiful no matter your gender identity, that you must weigh a certain amount and be below a UK size 10.

Weight loss is seen as a ‘success’ and rarely do we check that someone is doing so healthily or why someone is losing weight. The constant talk about scales and sizing can cause an environment filled with obsession, which is no help in times like these.

It can be dangerous to consistently associate health with weight; they are often two separate factors and can cause distress when they are considered synonymous. One persons’ healthy weight can make another person underweight or overweight – it’s usually dependent on individuals and their lifestyle.

All this obsession with weight has caused more concern for many over the lockdown period. For people suffering from eating disorders, online trends and discussions of dieting to ‘lose lockdown weight’ can be harmful.

Most of us have gained weight over this lockdown period (myself included), and there’s nothing wrong with that – we’re in a global pandemic where anxieties are high. Yet, this constant discourse around weight can cause us to develop negative views of our bodies.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, eating disorder charity Beat said, according to the BBC, it had seen an 80 percent increase in Wales in the number of people contacting them via social media, and an additional 35 percent increase in calls.

The Guardian noted that in England, a significant number of patients – including young people – were being admitted due to eating disorders as a result of a lack of control over the lockdown period. Dr Agnes Ayton, chair of the Eating Disorder Faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists told The Guardian that in Oxford, where they would usually see about 20 percent of people admitted with urgent referrals for eating disorders, the number has since peaked at over 80 percent since the beginning of the pandemic.

A large proportion of the articles we see about weight gain during lockdown are negative, with articles such as ‘How your brain tricked you into gaining weight during lockdown’ and ‘Kate Winslet: My a*** is massive – I feel like a full mattress after lockdown bingeing’ dominating headlines.

Making jokes about having to lose weight to participate in ‘hot girl summer’ or saying ‘they’ve got a lockdown body’ isn’t helpful. Being healthy isn’t synonymous with being skinny, and someone’s clothing size doesn’t define them.

We worry a lot about the way other people look. Whether someone is overweight, has the ‘perfect’ body, or is underweight. Yet, we don’t know about people’s lives, whether they are doing regular exercise and if they are worried about their body image during the pandemic.

The body positivity movement is one that deserves attention, but it’s worrying that even during a time when a deadly virus should be at the forefront of our minds, this movement can do little to stop the UK’s obsession with weight.

You have the right to feel confident in your body. Look after it and try to do at least a little exercise each week if you have the time (yes, dancing in your bedroom counts!). Eating healthily is good for you, but make sure you are doing research on the subject; don’t restrict yourself – if you are feeling hungry it is because your body is telling you it wants food.

Everyone has gained weight during lockdown, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of; we’re in a pandemic! Gaining weight is never something to be ashamed of.

Try not, however hard that may be, to succumb to the voices and the people telling you how you should look or that you are not enough. You are not defined by your weight, and you most certainly aren’t what you eat.


Erbyn canol Mawrth, byddem wedi delio gyda blwyddyn o gyfnod clo. Mae’r gair ‘unprecedented’ yn cael ei ddefnyddio’n gyson, ond mae’n anodd defnyddio gair arall am y cyfnod yma; doedd neb yn disgwyl pandemig rhyngwladol.

Mae’r flwyddyn hon wedi bod hynod o anodd i bawb, ac mae’r pwysau cyson a’r pryder arnom ni gyd wedi achosi amrywiad pwysau. Jôc mae nifer wedi clywed eleni yw “mae’r person yna wedi mwynhau’r cyfnod clo, do?”. Ond y gwirionedd yw, rydym ni gyd wedi gweld y cyfnod clo yn anodd, ac nid yw amrywedd pwysau’r broblem fwyaf mae’n rhaid i ni boeni amdano ar hyn o’r bryd.

Rydym yn cael ein haddysgu o oedran ifanc gan y gymdeithas bod rhaid i ni fod yn denau er mwyn teimlo’n gyfforddus yn ein cyrff. Yn y 1990au a’r 2000au cynnar, gwelwn ni modelu hynod o denau fel yr arferiad yn y byd ffasiwn, gyda nifer ohonom, fel ydym erbyn hyn yn gwybod, yn wneud pethau erchyll i gynnal maint 0.

Mae gan y byd obsesiwn gyda bod yn denau a phwysau; mae nifer o raglennu teledu am golli pwysau’n cael ei chreu’n flynyddol. Mae fel petai fod yna rhyw fath o gydymdeimlad bod rhaid pwyso dan rif penodol a bod dan faint 10 i fenywod i chi gallu bod yn hapus yn eich corff.

Mae colli pwysau’n cael ei weld fel ‘llwyddiant’, ac yn anaml ydyn ni’n gwirio bod rhywun yn colli pwysau mewn ffordd iachus, neu’n gofyn pam bod rhywun yn penderfynu colli pwysau. Mae’r drafodaeth gyson am bwysau yn gallu achosi byd llawn obsesiwn, all ddim helpu yng nghyfnod fel hyn.

Peryglus yw hi i fod tro cysylltu pwysau gydag iechyd; maen nhw’n dwy ffactor mae’n rhaid i ni drafod ar wahân a gall achosi problemau pan eu bod yn cael ei drafod yn gyd-destun cyfystyr. Mae iachus i un person yn gallu bod yn wahanol i eraill; gall meddwl ei bod dan-bwysau neu dros bwysau – mae’n dibynnu ar y person a’i bywyd.

Mae’r holl obsesiwn gyda phwysau wedi achosi problemau dros y cyfnod clo. I bobl yn delio gydag anhwylderau bwyta, mae trafodaethau ar-lein am ddietau’n gallu bod yn anffodus.

Mae’r rhan fwyaf ohonom wedi rhoi pwysau ymlaen dros y cyfnod clo, a does dim byd yn bod gyda hynny – rydym yn pandemig. Ond, mae’n rhaid i ni wrthod y drafodaeth barhaus am bwysau sy’n gallu effeithio’n negyddol ar ein teimladau am ein cyrff.

Ers dechrau’r cyfnod clo, yn ôl y BBC, mae’r cwmni Beat wedi gweld cynnydd 80 y cant yn y nifer o bobl yn dechrau trafodaeth gyda nhw ar gyfryngau cymdeithasol, gyda chynnydd yn ogystal o 35 y cant yn bobl yn ffonio Beat.

Nododd y Guardian bod canran uchel tu hwnt o bobl, gan gynnwys pobl ifanc, yn mynd i’r ysbyty yn dioddef o anhwylderau bwyta yn Lloegr. Yn ôl y papur, yn Rhydychen, gwelwyd cynnydd o 20 y cant o gleifion anhwylderau bwyta ar ddechrau 2020 i dros 80 y cant yn ystod y cyfnod clo.

Nid yw gwneud jôc am golli pwysau i fod yn hardd dros yr haf, neu ddweud ‘mae ganddyn nhw gorff cyfnod clo’ yn helpu. Nid yw bod yn iachus yn gyfystyr â bod yn iachus, ac nid yw maint dillad rhywun yn golygu ei werth.

Rydym yn poeni lot am y ffordd bod eraill yn edrych. Os ydyn nhw dros bwysau, gyda’r corff ‘perffaith’, neu dan bwysau. Ond, nid ydym yn gwybod am fywydau eraill, os ydyn nhw’n wneud llawer o ymarfer corff, neu os ydynt yn poeni am ei edrychiad corfforol yng nghanol y pandemig.

Mae’r symudiad positifrwydd at y corff yn un mae’n rhaid derbyn ymateb, ond mae’n broblem ein bod ni’n poeni’n fwy am y ffordd ein bod yn edrych tra bod afiechyd hynod o ddifrifol yn ei le.

Mae gennych chi’r hawl teimlo’n hyderus yn eich corff. Edrychwch ar ôl y corff, a gwneud yn siŵr eich bod yn cadw heini’n fach o leiaf unwaith yr wythnos (ydy, mae dawnsio i ABBA’n cyfri!). Mae bwyta bwyd iachus yn dda i chi, ond wnewch yn siŵr eich bod chi’n talu sylw i’r hyn eich bod yn bwyta, ac eich bod yn gwrando ar yr hyn bod eich corff yn ei ddweud.

Mae pawb wedi rhoi pwysau ymlaen dros y cyfnod clo, ac nid yw hi un rhywbeth i boeni; rydym yng nghanol pandemig! Ni ddylai bod rhoi pwysau ymlaen yn rhywbeth i boeni amdano.

Rydych werth mwy na chi’n pwyso.

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