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Apr 07, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdown periods in South Africa have had many implications for us. Not only were jobs lost, but family members also passed away due to the virus, and there were many unable to fend for themselves because of the inability to be as mobile as they usually were.

Life changed and so too did our daily routines. We got used to working from home, doing house chores like washing clothes, while working. But one effect of the COVID-19 lockdown that we do not talk about that often is the fact that most of us grown bigger during this period. We gained weight!

Opinions about employees’ fears and preference in terms of whether their employers expect them to return to work from the office have become one of the most written about topics in the media. One can understand the fear of being expected to be work from the office, five days a week, especially after adapting to a new routine at home. The other reason for fear of going back to the office full-time is having to get a new wardrobe because our clothes just don’t fit anymore.

A national survey, conducted by Pharma Dynamics during 2021, involved almost 2 000 South Africans, revealed an increase in the weight of half of the respondents after the first two COVID-19 waves. The respondents of this study reported that their eating habits changed and blamed it on increased stress and anxiety over what the future may hold, snacking more often and incidents of impulsive eating, or merely eating more out of boredom.

Thinking back to the beginning of lockdown in 2020, and seeing and smelling all the baked goods, delectable meals and scrumptious snacks that were prepared and shared on social media, sometimes as a means to pass time, may have been enough alone to lead to binge eating, especially when all you could look forward to during the day was your next meal.

You may recall the increased activity levels seen on social media once the lockdown was reduced to level 3. You may have started a bit of an exercise regime, walking and jogging around the house and proudly sharing your accomplishments on social media. 2020 ended with more or less good fitness vibes, but then 2021 came knocking… and for many This was the turning point. You may have started to gain weight again...

According to Bestmed Tempo dietician, Bronwen Stokes, we need to return to how we behaved and how we lived pre-COVID-19, especially in terms of our health-related behaviours and lifestyles. The answer is to make minor changes, take small steps and not become impatient with your progress, but take it day by day.

Bronwen also states that there has been an increase in patients, visiting their dietitian since January 2022, all wanting fit into their work clothes again. However, most of these patients want to be able to return to their previous size within a brief period and want a ‘quick fix’. There is no ‘quick fix’. We all need to go back to the basics: eating more fruit and vegetables, drinking more water and preparing healthy meals. Planning and preparing healthy meals (even snacks and meals one can take to work) are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

Next steps?

  1. Visit any of the Bestmed network pharmacies (Dis-Chem, Clicks, Van Heerden, Alpha Pharm) to complete your Health Assessment.
  2. Book an appointment a Bestmed Tempo dietician to get a personalised eating plan.
  3. Book an appointment a Bestmed Tempo biokineticist to get a personalised exercise plan.
  4. Stick to both the eating and exercise plans and maintain your discipline.

Consider sharing your progress with us via any of Bestmed’s social media platforms, so we can cheer each other on. We are all in this together to live our Best lives!



  1. https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2021-05- 04-half-of-south-africans-gained-weight-as-they-stress-ate-through-all-the-covid-19-bad-news/. (Accessed July 03, 2021).

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