Most people are doing their best to stay inside during the COVID-19 epidemic, adhering to social distancing measures as much as possible as it remains the best way to stay healthy.
Although healthy, may not be the most accurate term – all that time spent inside can lead to a lot of trips to the fridge, and overeating out of boredom or possibly stress.
The bad habits have led to the creation of a new nickname for the weight gain some have seen in the nearly two months since the start of the coronavirus outbreak: The Quarantine 15. It’s a play off the term “freshman 15,” attributed to when some college students add some pounds in their first year being left up to their own dietary devices away from parents.
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However, there is one town on Long Island that is banding together in the battle of the bulge. The whole town of Huntington is going on a diet – at least that’s what officials there are telling residents to do.
“As a result of the increased stress, we are seeing a lot of emotional eating,” said Dr. William Spencer, chairman of the health committee of the Suffolk County Legislature.
It’s not that officials are passing judgement on others, as some admit they too fall into the category of adopting some not-so-healthy eating habits due to new stresses.
“One of my rules as town clerk is to sign the death certificates of every single person that dies in this town,” Huntington Town Clerk Andrew Raia said Wednesday. “Every time my phone rings, I know another person from Huntington has passed away.”
To help people drop some the added weight, the town has teamed up with Intelligent Fitness and Long Island Obesity Surgery. They also plan to host exercise, yoga and nutrition classes on their Facebook page, free for the public.
Rutika Gold, who owns an antique shop in town, says she is all-too familiar with the increased stress. She was all set to retire before the virus struck, but now she has to rethink her plans.
“I’m a little stressed. No business, no friends, I can’s comfort people. I can’t even give my friend a hug,” Gold said. “It’s a little stressful, let’s be honest.”
Health experts say it’s easy to binge and eat poorly when you’re feeling down. But they recommend taking this time to build yourself up instead, by learning new skills or picking up something you’ve been meaning to get done for a while.