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It won’t come as a surprise that many people are finding eating healthily, staying active and managing their weight more difficult at the moment. Supermarket struggles, fewer opportunities to be active, boredom, loneliness and stress are bound to affect healthy habits, which is especially worrying as the links between Covid-19 and obesity are confirmed by health researchers. 

If you’re struggling, we’re here to help. We take a closer look at the latest results of Slimming World Health and Wellbeing Study, and talk to Slimming World’s nutritionist Dr Jacquie Lavin, psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos and Slimming World member Amy Hodgson for advice on getting on track:

As part of our ongoing health and wellbeing study, we polled 1,000 UK adults in April. The findings show that, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic:

  • 33% are eating more sugary foods
  • 17% are eating more fatty foods 
  • 22% are eating less fruit
  • 16% are eating less veg
  • 13% are drinking more sugary drinks
  • 17% are drinking more alcohol

Activity levels and mood have also been affected, with 39% saying they’re less active and 41% reporting that their mood is lower as a result of living in lockdown.

Thankfully, there is some good news! The study also reveals that 45% of respondents say they’re finding home cooking more enjoyable than they did before the pandemic (if this sounds like you, check out our series of Sal’s recipe videos) and half (51%) say they are ordering less takeaway food. 

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Dr Jacquie Lavin, Slimming World’s head of nutrition and research, is leading the ongoing study from which these results were taken. She says: 

“In these testing times, worries about their health and the health of loved ones, coupled with a ‘new normal,’ means people may be feeling more stressed or anxious than usual. They may also feel less inclined to keep up with healthy eating and activity and more inclined to slip into old, less healthy habits.

Getting support so you don’t feel alone is incredibly important right now. During lockdown, our members are loving that they can still attend our virtual groups. It’s where they’ll get the practical tips and expert guidance from our trained Consultants, along with the friendship and community spirit they’ve come to rely on from their usual weekly group. 

In these uncertain times, our virtual groups are giving our members a chance to focus on their goals, to regain control, and to feel a sense of togetherness with their fellow members. They’re celebrating wins (like having more time to cook), discussing challenges and sharing strategies for success. On a weight loss journey there are always going to be bumps in the road, so having a great support network and learning how to stay on track whatever life throws at you is vital to staying fit and well in the long term.”

Amy Hodgson is one of our inspiring members who’s staying on track with the help of her virtual group. She’s lost more than 5st since joining Slimming World in January 2019, including a 12½lb weight loss during lockdown. Amy says: 

“I’ll admit that when this all began, I struggled and lost all motivation to stay on track with healthy eating. After my first virtual group, though, I felt completely different. It was just like my usual weekly group – except on my computer – and it made me feel so ready for the week ahead. I realised that, while I might not be able to meet up with my Consultant and fellow members in person, I had a whole world of support at my fingertips… on my phone, on social media and on the Slimming World website. I’m definitely not feeling on my own with my weight loss now and I’m thrilled to have lost 12½lbs since lockdown began. This is the slimmest I’ve been in a long time!”

Commenting on the study, psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos says: 

“Staying motivated on a weight loss journey can be tough at the moment, which is perfectly understandable given that all of our lives have been turned upside down. While focusing on your own motivation is crucial, it can be all too easy to lose sight of your weight loss goals when you’re feeling anxious about things, and getting the support of others is invaluable in staying committed. 

By sharing challenges and hearing how others are staying on track, as well as getting emotional support, we’re much more likely to succeed. Empowering yourself to think about where you want to be at the end of this period, and setting realistic weight loss goals to get there, could give you a much-needed sense of control. So, while you might think this isn’t a good time to make changes, it could actually be a great time to think about your future self.” 

You can read Dr Linda’s top tips for staying motivated here.

When you join Slimming World’s temporary virtual service, you can take part in weekly group meetings from the comfort of your own home. You’ll also get access to our member website and app, where you’ll find more than 1,000 recipes, as well as plenty of inspiration and motivation to stay physically active and psychologically strong.

Find out more about Slimming World’s new temporary weight loss service and virtual groups here.

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