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Share Your Experience: Pandemic Habits & What Comes Next

AlexAlex Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium Posts: 10,048 MFP Staff Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium Posts: 10,048 MFP Staff
We Want to Hear From You!

How has the pandemic affected your habits?

The past year has challenged and changed us all in different ways, health and fitness habits included. While stress has led many people to experience undesired weight or sleep changes, the change of pace and perspective has also sparked healthy lifestyle habits.

As we look back on the year, and begin to imagine the possibilities ahead, we’d love to hear about YOUR experience.

Share in the thread below!
  • How has the pandemic affected your nutrition & fitness habits?
  • Which habits do you want to keep or change as we inch toward “normal”?
  • What do you look forward to most?

We look forward to hearing from you!
edited March 22


  • JeromeBarry1JeromeBarry1 Member Posts: 10,182 Member Member Posts: 10,182 Member
    Before, I was home retired. After, I am home retired. Our anniversary is in July. We did not go anywhere in 2020 as we had in the 4 years before.
  • CarnhotCarnhot Member Posts: 367 Member Member Posts: 367 Member
    How has the pandemic affected your nutrition & fitness habits?

    I am a teacher of English to visting international students, so you can imagine how much work I have been getting in the UK in lockdown. All of the extra time has, however, really enabled me to ramp up my walking and I am averaging 5 miles a day. Nutrition? Less good at that./i]

    Which habits do you want to keep or change as we inch toward “normal”?
    I want to keep on walking.

    What do you look forward to most?
    Seeing my kids and having a sit down coffee in a coffee shop.
  • laurenspector1laurenspector1 Member Posts: 2 Member Member Posts: 2 Member
    1. How has the pandemic affected your nutrition and fitness habits?

    I was in great shape right before the pandemic. Quite lean, working out all the time (often twice a day) and with nutrition dialed in. I didn’t track my food religiously at that point but had become decent at portion control and estimating macros and was seeing the results.
    Honestly, everything went off the rails for me after the first couple months of lockdown. Mostly a motivation issue. Aesthetics and performance are frankly stronger motivators for me than health. When the world basically stopped, I couldn’t see the point any longer in getting up at 5am to go for a run outside alone wearing a mask that made me run slower as I tried not to inhale my own sweat... I also found the gym a very motivating environment and my gym has been closed since March 2020 (with the exception of one month in the fall). Like pretty much everyone, the pandemic upended my routine and harmed my mental health and for me that also meant turning to junk food for comfort. So I have some extra fluff now, and have been really struggling with that.

    2. What habits do you want to keep or change as we inch towards “normal”?

    I would like to go back to my old habits. So far under lockdown I have not been capable of sustaining a healthy routine despite trying a few different strategies. I’m really happy for those who improved any habits during the pandemic but sadly I can’t count myself in that group! I wasn’t tracking my food everyday before but I would like to start that too.

    3. What do you look forward to the most?

    Going to the gym each day, running without a mask, and socializing. Feeling fit and confident again would be great. I don’t even recognize myself anymore and just want my life back.
  • clairedroseclairedrose Member Posts: 113 Member Member Posts: 113 Member
    My year has not been as difficult as it was for others. The hardest was the difficulty seeing friends safely. It was easier when the weather was good and we could meet outside masked. We had a spike here around the time it got colder. Since I have health issues, we locked down at home with grocery deliveries. My husband beat boredom by baking and cooking. Oh dear! My gym had closed and I wouldn't have gone anyway. I decided to call a former trainer and ask if he would train me on Zoom. He had left training a couple years ago for another job but now was laid off so he was happy. I forgot how just good he was! 3 sessions weekly kept me sane and probably prevented me from gaining a lot of weight from my husband's hobby ( He is too good a cook and a better baker). Now I want to lose weight that has been hanging around for years. I am looking forward to seeing friends, walking into a store uninhibited, and traveling. Oh and a haircut. We both look like sheepdogs.
  • wendyswords4240wendyswords4240 Member Posts: 5 Member Member Posts: 5 Member
    COVID inspired me to start my weight loss journey. I am a business owner, so when it came to food choices, I chose convenience over healthy. That meant burgers, quick foods I can microwave, and regular sodas. That changed in late December when I-and every other member of my household-was diagnosed with COVID. The symptom of changes in your sense of taste really hit me. Regular Mountain Dew tasted like seltzer water, my breakfast burritos I'd make before leaving for work felt like wet mulch in my mouth, and stuff like breaded chicken sandwiches tasted like heated plywood. I ended up with viral pneumonia in addition to the COVID, and needed to be prescribed steroids for it. I was able to reopen my business January 11th.
    Since my usual food choices were now marred by COVID, I decided that this would be my chance to really start a healthier diet. As of today, I have lost 34 pounds.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 19,474 Member Member, Premium Posts: 19,474 Member
    As context, I'm retired and live alone, don't have children, siblings. So, my context is different from many people.

    How has the pandemic affected your nutrition & fitness habits?

    When the pandemic and related restrictionss started, I was already in year 4ish of maintenance after loss in 2015-16, and several months into an effort to (re-) lose a few vanity pounds within the healthy BMI range, and intentionally do that super slowly. Having fewer social events, and restaurants and such limited to take out, reduced temptation and made that easier. I'm down around 9 pounds or so since last March, down more like 12-13 overall since I started the slow loss.

    On the fitness front, I've been quite active for 18 years or so, since my mid-40s, during much of which I was still obese. Because my preferred activity is on-water rowing, I usually go through lowered exercise volume, and more desultory schedule, in Winter (when the river freezes, basically). In 2020, the Winter lasted until around August, because the rowing club was closed. Also, the twice weekly spin classes, which I'd done for years, were shut down.

    As a result, my exercise was uneven. I did more walking and biking, rowed once the club was open, did some lifting and machine rowing at home, did some yoga/stretching/core exercises off and on, ultimately bought a stationary bike for variety. There have been periods when I was working out 6 days a week (sometimes more than once a day), some when it was zero, mostly in between.

    Which habits do you want to keep or change as we inch toward “normal”?

    I hope I've learned some things that will help me be more consistent in self-directed exercise outside on-water rowing season. I want to do more walking (to stay better conditioned for it), a bit more biking during rowing season, and to keep some regular yoga practice going (as I sometimes have in the past, too). If total average volume goes up a bit, that'd be good. I don't think I'll go back to a gym spin class for quite a while.

    Cooking at home myself is getting a little old, but has also become pretty easy. I may do less solo eating out, in the long run.

    What do you look forward to most?

    The rowing club having learn-to-row classes again, and more social activity generally, plus of course more rowing this summer (I hope) compared to last. A bit more social life, which has been near zero in Winter especially. Some day - not right away - being able to go back to my favorite brewpub, sit at the bar, chat with strangers and acquaintances, and try some of the special beers that are only available in the taproom.
  • jo_nzjo_nz Member Posts: 522 Member Member Posts: 522 Member
    I nearly didn't respond as things are pretty "normal" here (New Zealand), but I don't think anywhere is completely unaffected.

    It was a year ago today we went into lockdown, and we went from being a 2 income household to our only income being the government wage subsidy.

    My small studio gym shut its doors permanently, so I went from 3-4 sessions in the gym a week plus walking, to just the walking with a couple of videos at home.

    In terms of nutrition, we mostly ate at home already, but with no work or school or anything much going on, food planning and prep became a focus of the day...a little too much baking etc. I had been losing a little weight but put a couple of pounds back on.

    It was about 7 weeks before the kids went back to school, but I was still at home most of the time until I got my current job in July.

    After lockdown the owner of my old gym offered me one on one training sessions once a week to finish up my prepaid membership, so I didn't really look into anything else for a while, but really in hindsight I wasn't exercising enough. I put on a couple more pounds then.

    This year I have joined an online gym subscription service and it suits me perfectly - gyms are open here, but I looked into the timetable for classes and it doesn't work for me, and is a lot more expensive anyway. I miss working out with other people, but for now that's outweighed by the benefits.

    While things are going along well here, the pandemic has given me a little extra motivation to be fit and healthy.

    The biggest things I hope to keep up are checking in on my elderly or alone neighbours, and staying as healthy and active as I can. And the buying less stuff that lockdown caused (here there were no takeaway food places, no clothes shops, no shopping centres open - only supermarkets, pharmacies, petrol stations. Even most online store were shut unless they fit those essential categories).

    In terms of what I look forward to, there's not a huge amount I can't do at the moment other than international travel, but we've done a bit of national travel instead 🙂. It's probably small things I look forward to - there not being such a delay in supply of so many things (but at the same time I like stores being less cluttered!), and not having to scan in everywhere we go.
  • Machka9Machka9 Member Posts: 18,700 Member Member Posts: 18,700 Member
    The pandemic has been wonderful!
    2020 was the best year by far that I've had in the past 3 years.
    Stress disappeared.
    Hassles disappeared.
    Distancing is great.
    Cleaning is great.
    Working from home for 4 months was fantastic.
    Finishing university at home and graduating with my Master's degree was fantastic.
    No long commutes to work for those 4 months.
    More sleep in those 4 months.
    More exercise at a better time of day during those 4 months.

    I was hoping we could do it all again this coming winter, but it doesn't look like it will happen again. It appears to have been all done and dusted by the end of last July. :neutral:

    For me 2018 was the most stressful year of my entire life. In March 2018, my husband had a workplace accident which resulted in a severe traumatic brain injury. He was in a coma for 3 weeks, and post traumatic amnesia for 7 weeks, and in hospital for 100 days in total. Then in community rehab for several more months. He will never recover but, 3 years later, things have settled into something of a routine and shutting down for the 4 months of the pandemic was absolutely the best thing for both of us.

    How has the pandemic affected your habits?

    During the 4 months of the pandemic, I slept more and I exercised more. In particular, I was able to cycle in the middle of the day. That was so nice and I wish it could have continued, but of course when no one had the virus anymore, everything opened up again, and I returned to work ... last July.

    Since July, pretty much everything has returned to "normal" except that we distance a bit better than we did before and stores have hand sanitiser. Both are good things. Extra cleaning is good too.

    Graduating university has affected my habits more! I don't have homework every night!

    How has the pandemic affected your nutrition & fitness habits?

    Pretty much the same. But graduating university has given me more time to exercise. :)

    Which habits do you want to keep or change as we inch toward “normal”?

    We've been back to "normal" since last July. I like the distancing, hand sanitiser and cleaning.

    What do you look forward to most?

    2021 is my Year of Organisation. I'm trying to do a long list of things I've put off while I've been in university and while I've been caring for my husband during the past three years since his accident and severe traumatic brain injury.

    I look forward to being and/or feeling on top of things so that I can spend more time exercising and doing "fun" stuff. I haven't had a chance to do "fun" stuff in so long!
  • tapwaterstapwaters Member Posts: 427 Member Member Posts: 427 Member
    How has the pandemic affected your nutrition & fitness habits?
    It did at first, I ended up gaining back most of my loss and developing poor drinking habits. However, mid-way through I was able to refocus my attention to my health. Having the additional time while working from home allowed me time to exercise and plan meals.

    Which habits do you want to keep or change as we inch toward “normal”?
    I would like to keep my work from home, additional time to exercise, and less temptation for eating out. I would like to change the fear of swimming around other people!

    What do you look forward to most?
    Not being afraid of crowded trails and pools.
  • LisaGetsMovingLisaGetsMoving Member Posts: 536 Member Member Posts: 536 Member
    >How has the pandemic affected your nutrition & fitness habits?
    At first the affect was awful. I ate poorly, self comforting with food, and I slept a lot. Seriously, a whole lot. Probably depressed. But I was intent on staying alive, even in my self soothing sabotaging ways. So in December I snapped out of it and decided it wasn't enough to stay alive. That's when I joined MFP, when I started walking daily, and tracking my calories in. I also quit smoking cigarettes in October which was huge.

    >Which habits do you want to keep or change as we inch toward “normal”?
    I will keep walking daily or almost daily because I've come to enjoy it and feel so much better afterwards. I will also continue to order my groceries online and pick up, rather than go in the store and shop... except for farmer's markets and other places with fresh produce, I'll happily shop those in person. I may avoid going into indoor public spaces as I enjoyed not even getting a common cold this year. I'll also likely continue to keep some space between me and others, which I actually appreciated as I didn't like to be crowded anyways. My spouse says he'll continue to wear a mask inside stores forever because he is sure that most people are walking germ bombs, lol.

    >What do you look forward to most?
    I've been fully vaccinated and finally can hug my grandchildren. I can babysit them again and give the moms & dad's a little break. My stepmother is 86 yrs old living alone in California and I haven't been to see her since 2019, so that will be awesome too. I belong to a small local writer's group and it will be really great when we can meet in person again. So basically, I look forward to seeing and helping the people I love the most.
  • jenilla1jenilla1 Member Posts: 10,565 Member Member Posts: 10,565 Member
    Before, I was home retired. After, I am home retired. Our anniversary is in July. We did not go anywhere in 2020 as we had in the 4 years before.

    We never had a honeymoon, and we were looking forward to finally going on that special trip for our 20th anniversary. Ugh. Cancelled for COVID! 👎

    Maybe we'll do it for the 25th. 🥂
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