Lockdown weight gain causes mental health crisis as restrictions relaxed

Many adults are planning to fight the flab this summer after their body confidence took taking a battering following lockdown.

New research commissioned by The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan and reveals a major crisis of self-confidence among the public as life after lockdown looms closer. And almost half of all adults say they are feeling very nervous about being seen again in public after more than a year of restrictions.

The study, which involved more than 2,000 people across the UK, found that nearly half (42 per cent) of adults now lack confidence in their appearance after months at home.

Only 10 per cent say they feel great about how they look and are looking forward to integrating back into society.

The findings have been shared alongside lockdown restrictions easing in England, with a rally cry to ‘Get Your Great Back’, helping the public to feel their best.

Currently, confidence is lowest among females, with 24 per cent of women and 11 per cent of males admitting to feeling “really self-conscious” about how they look to other people.

The 25 to 34 year olds are the most likely to describe themselves as “extremely unhappy with their appearance”, while body positivity is highest among people aged 65 and over.

The vast majority (81%) of people say they have noticed weight gain and more than a quarter (26%) believe they are perceived by others to be overweight.

Psychotherapist and life coach, Andre Radmall, said: “As we emerge blinking into the light of post-lockdown life, many people are finding there is still a big hurdle to overcome the worry of feeling self-conscious.

“The research shows that a significant proportion of people feel exposed by the transition from living on Zoom to ‘real life’ where the whole body can be seen. It can be quite a shock to find that wearing elasticated waistlines for more than a year has covered up some obvious weight gain.

Where to get help if you’re struggling

You don’t have to suffer in silence if you’re struggling with your mental health. Here are some groups you can contact when you need help:

Samaritans: Phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email [email protected], in confidence

Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and won’t show up on your bill

PAPYRUS: A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141

Depression Alliance: A charity for people with depression. No helpline but offers useful resources and links to other information on its website

Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, have low mood, or are suicidal. Click here to visit

Bullying UK: A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): For young men who are feeling unhappy. Has a website here and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58

“A lot of people are struggling with this worry and the research indicates high levels of stress about appearance.”

Mark Gilbert, nutritionist at The 1:1 Diet at Cambridge Weight Plan, added: “The impact of lockdown on both mental and physical health cannot be underestimated. The easing of restrictions in England is prompting many to revaluate how they look and feel as they re-engage with others socially.

“It is important that we treat ourselves with compassion, as we would others. We encourage everyone to get their ‘great’ back as they look forward to the rest of the summer, and to pursue their weight and fitness goals in a way that is healthy and sustainable.”

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