avoid weight gain working from home

How to Reduce Weight Gain When Working from Home


The need for social distancing to reduce the spread of coronavirus imposes a drastic reduction in physical activity for most individuals and this can lead to unwanted weight gain. Combine low activity with increased food intake and empty calories and we have the perform storm for weight gain.


It is estimated that due to the COVID-19 pandemic adults are walking 4000 fewer steps daily, this is equivalent to walking approximately 2 miles less each day.


Now more than ever it is important to maintain a healthy weight due to the relationship between obesity and COVID related deaths. The good news is that with the right habits and behaviors COVID-19 does not have to guarantee weight gain for you!



Tips for Avoiding Weight Gain While Working from Home:


1. Avoid Excess Sugar


Sugar is the foundation of “SAD” -the Standard American Diet and the reason that 75% of adults in the United States are overweight. Sugar is ingested in excess and can lead to addiction. Sugar instantly improves mood and provides a short-term energy boost; however, it is the stimulation of the fat storing hormone insulin in response to sugar that leads to weight gain. When sugar intake is coupled with low physical activity, it becomes easier to store fat because the muscles which usually uptake sugar are less stimulated, allowing sugar to remain in the bloodstream. Therefore, on low activity days limit or avoid added sugar.


Reduce sugar by:

  • Eliminating Sugar Sweetened Beverages
  • Reducing white flour containing foods
  • Avoiding candy, ice cream, cakes, jam, pies, and other sugary foods


2. Avoid high-processed or fake foods

Packaged and processed foods offer convenience and satisfy cravings, but also interfere with the body’s natural ability to recognize fullness and therefore lead to excess calorie intake. Processed foods are easy to overeat because they are low in fiber and nutrients and have added sugars, salt, and chemicals that make it hard for the brain to reduce inappropriate feeding behavior.


Processed foods increase cravings for more unhealthy foods and increase the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer (i.e. colon cancer), and diabetes.


When choosing foods, opt for whole foods high in nutrients, they will be more filling and less likely to cause weight gain or cravings.


3.    Eat smaller portions and more home prepared meals

Although the occasional bar or restaurant outing may be limited, meal delivery use has increased significantly during COVID quarantine. In comparison to home prepared foods, restaurant meals are typically higher in calories, larger portioned, and high in added sugar and salt. For example, a home prepared cheeseburger averages 260 calories where the same hamburger at a restaurant averages upwards of 800-1000 calories!


Preparing meals at home is healthier, more cost effective, and can be a fun way to explore new cooking ideas.


4.    Avoid excess alcohol

Alcohol is calorically “empty” meaning that it provides calories in exchange for limited to no nutrient value. This leads to weight gain in several ways but most notably due to increasing food intake by reducing dietary discretion and self-control. The body will also halt fat breakdown to detoxify alcohol when necessary, so this means if you are drinking alcohol, you are likely not breaking down fat.


While sedentary, limit or avoid alcoholic beverages mixed with syrups and sugar.


5.    Increase daily steps

As gyms temporarily closed it became much more challenging to find ways to stay in shape. Luckily, you do not need a gym to get daily steps. Steps count toward daily activity and can also help to increase basal metabolic rate. The adult recommendation for physical activity is 150 minutes a week. this is equivalent to 30 minutes 5 days a week (or as an alternative 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week).


There are a variety of ways to increase steps including walking indoors or outdoors, jogging, dancing, using a step or stair master, or a combination of HIIT exercises. Simply turning on music and dancing in place is a great way to increase steps while reducing stress and anxiety.


Here are a few easy ways to get more steps at home:


  • Cleaning
  • Gardening
  • Treadmill
  • Walking the dog
  • Walking in place during commercials or during virtual meetings
  • Join virtual workout
  • Enter daily or weekly step challenges with friends


Need more help getting daily steps?


Follow our FREE 8-week “Just Walk” Guide


Have you gained weight due to COVID-19? Do you need help getting back on track?


Call us at 704-997-9661 to Schedule an appointment

avoid weight gain thanksgiving

Tips To Avoid Thanksgiving Weight Gain

There are many articles online with tips for losing weight during the holidays, however, these are specific tips that Dr Covington has shared with her personal weight loss patients over the years. These tips have been tested and proven to guarantee success and keep you from gaining Thanksgiving weight.

Change your Mindset

Change your idea about Thanksgiving. Many people think of Thanksgiving as the day to feast without constraint, to overeat, to overindulge, to be glutinous, and let it all hang out! The reality is that many Americans unfortunately already do this every day. If you are on a weight loss program it’s because you want to change this mindset and change this behavior of overeating and lack of self-control. This requires changing the way you think of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a day of gratitude; make being thankful and grateful the focus and eating an afterthought.

Eat Breakfast!

I know what you’re thinking, why eat breakfast when you plan to enjoy an epic day of eating? Skipping breakfast will increase hunger and cravings and make it harder to make good choices for dinner. It also breaks the routine if you are used to eating breakfast daily. For individuals who suffer with overeating or anxiety surrounding food, skipping the breakfast meal can heighten these negative emotions. Eating breakfast will also provide a sense of control that you at least made 1 sensible food choice for the day.

One mistake that individuals make is assuming breakfast has to be dramatic or large on Thanksgiving. It doesn’t. A protein bar, protein shake, or simple protein breakfast i.e. Greek yogurt or omelet is a perfect choice and will help keep your glucose levels consistent throughout the day.

Go for a morning walk or jog

Starting the day with exercise will help you feel more energized and help the body process pending calories. Walking and jogging aids in digestion (reduces constipation) by moving particles along the gut. In addition, it feels good to make healthy choices, it improves self-esteem and makes us feel powerful. Start your Thanksgiving holiday knowing that you made a healthy choice.

If you’re pressed for time, walk a quick mile, it only takes 8-10 minutes and you can do it in your living room.

Load up on Protein

As your survey the Thanksgiving feast, make protein the priority. Turkey, chicken, ham, meatballs...whatever the protein source... add protein to the plate first and build from there. Protein is packed with nutrition, more filling, and leaves less room for the wrong foods. Choose baked over fried.

Avoid Sweet Drinks 

If you can avoid sugar sweetened beverages altogether that is certainly the goal. If you must have sweet drinks try to limit it to 1 eight ounce beverage, this includes alcohol as well.

Opt for any of the following beverages instead:

  • Water
  • Sparkling water
  • Unsweetened tea
  • Fresh squeezed lemon, no sugar added
  • Coffee
  • Crystallite or other powdered drink package


Make the Goal 1 Serving and A "To-Go" Plate 

If you apply the idea that the Thanksgiving meal must be consumed in 1 sitting, you will undoubtedly overeat and overindulge. This is because you are activating the “principle of scarcity” – the thought that food is scarce, and you must eat it now. The principle of scarcity creates anxiety and fear surrounding food and leads to unnecessary calories and binging. Instead, eat a sensible Thanksgiving meal and take the leftovers home for the next day or the next meal.

Portion Control for Desserts 

Enjoy Thanksgiving dessert but choose wisely! If you are sampling multiple desserts reduce portion sizes. If desserts are tempting don't take any home or limit yourself to 1 portion "to go". 

Get Active after Dinner

Avoid the Thanksgiving "food coma". Get up and walk around, go for a walk after dinner, play games with loved ones that require movement, do something active and resist the urge to sit or fall asleep in front of the television. 

Take a Break from the Food Diary

A quality life requires balance. Thanksgiving is 1 day that you want to relax from strict macronutrient and food monitoring. Enjoy the time with loved ones. However, go back to the food diary the day after Thanksgiving!

You may gain water weight

If you notice a large shift in your weight the day or weekend following Thanksgiving this is likely water weight. This can happen if you ingest more salt or overall food than usual. Water weight will resolve in a few days, so don't be alarmed. Don’t let water weight get you off course.

Thanksgiving is 1 day NOT the entire week! 

If all else fails, enjoy Thanksgiving, but remember it is only 1 day, not the entire week. One day is not enough to cause fat gain but 1 week certainly can.

Does Lyrica cause weight gain?

Does Lyrica Cause Weight Gain?

Medication induced weight gain is a well-known phenomenon in bariatrics and occurs with some of the most commonly prescribed medications, such as insulin, antihistamines, and steroids.

Does Lyrica cause weight gain?

Yes. It certainly can but as with everything in the medical field it depends on the individual and several other variables. Lyrica and its popular predecessor Gabapentin (Neurontin) have both been shown to cause significant weight gain. In a 2008 study, patients taking Lyrica for epilepsy, gained approximately 4 kg (8 lb) in a 3 to 6-month period. The amount of weight gained increased with escalating doses of Lyrica, with the largest amounts of weight gained with the 600 mg daily dose.

Are there alternatives for patients gaining weight with Lyrica?

It is important before stopping any medications that you first discuss your concerns with your doctor. There are side effects to not only taking medications but also stopping them abruptly. Next, it is important to understand that some medications are lifesaving and the risk of side effects such as gaining weight may outweigh the risk of a major medical event. In the case of Lyrica, it is indicated for several conditions such as epilepsy, neuropathic pain, and fibromyalgia, therefore, the burden of treatment depends on the reason for taking the medication. In the case of seizure treatment, for example, this decision will heavily depend on the best medication for managing seizure activity.

Have you gained weight from medication and need help getting it off?

Check out our blog article: How to Choose a Weight Loss Doctor 

Alternatives for Seizure Disorder

Lyrica is indicated as an adjunct to seizure therapy for partial onset seizures (also known as simple seizures). For individuals looking to lose weight, topiramate (or Topamax) is a reasonable alternative. This anti-epileptic medication has been shown to induce weight loss and reduce binge eating. In a study published in the Obesity Reviews Journal, individuals taking Topirmate for 16 weeks lost approximately 5 kg (10 lbs).  In addition, individuals taking topiramate continued losing weight for the duration of the trial. Due to the promise of effective weight loss the extended release version of topiramate was added in combination with phentermine in the FDA approved weight loss medicine Qsymia. Other alternative anti-epileptics that do not cause weight gain include Lamotrigine, Phenytoin, and Zonisamide. These medications are “weight neutral”, meaning they neither cause weight gain or weight loss.

Lyrica in Diabetes

Lyrica is often used in diabetes for peripheral neuropathy or nerve pain. Patients with diabetes have a propensity to gain weight due to changes in metabolism, the nature of the disease, and the physiological response to carbohydrates and exogenous insulin. Therefore, adding yet another weight gaining medication should be avoided when possible. For diabetic neuropathy, diabetes and blood glucose control are the most essential strategies for reducing neuropathy. The first step to managing blood glucose is eating a diet low in simple, refined, and processed carbohydrates and remaining compliant with anti-diabetic medications (at least until they can be titrated down or off). For diabetes, adequate physical activity aids in glucose control as well by increasing basal metabolic rate, moving glucose into healthy lean muscle, and lowering insulin resistance. The adult physical activity recommendation for individuals with diabetes is 60 minutes a day, 6 days a week.

Lyrica for pain and other neuropathies

The #1 cause for peripheral neuropathy is diabetes but it can also be caused by malnutrition, alcoholism, shingles, and B12 deficiency. Therefore, the alternative treatments for these conditions is managing the underlying issue. For example, in the case of vitamin B12 deficiency, individuals lacking B12 in the diet should ingest foods high in B12 such as liver, beef, tuna, pork chops, oysters, cottage cheese, yogurt, eggs, ready to eat cereals, and milk. For those unable to eat foods high in B12, such as vegans or vegetarians, they should opt for vitamin supplementation. For individuals with fibromyalgia, exercise and food sensitivity testing have been found to provide hope for long-term solutions.

Have more weight related questions? Read our section: Dr Covington answers your questions for more 

DeToledo JC, Toledo C, DeCerce J, et al. Changes in body weight with chronic, high dose gabapentin therapy, Ther Drug Monit 1997; 19:394-6.

Hoppe C, Rademacher M, Hoffman JM et al. Bodyweight gain under pregabalin therapy in epilepsy: Mitigation by counseling patients? Seizure 2008; 17:327-32.

Kramer CK1Leitão CBPinto LCCanani LHAzevedo MJGross JL. Efficacy and safety of topiramate on weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2011 May;12(5):e338-47. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2010.00846.x. Epub 2011 Mar 28.