• Ayu Sutriasa

Stop Worrying About Gaining Weight During Coronavirus Quarantine. Here’s How

By now, we all know about coronavirus—and how stressful it has been to juggle the collective anxiety with our own (it’s not just me, right?)

A few weeks ago I had a moment of overwhelm from the barrage of news and posts and memes on social media, but I feel quite numb to it all now. However, something I keep seeing that still irritates me every time is memes and posts of people talking about how much weight they are going to gain during self-quarantine. These posts range from jokes to laments, and as a fat person (a small fat), I hate it all.

I don’t even know where to begin. The world is facing a terrifying pandemic, a literal *global crisis*, and the thing on people’s minds is their weight. If that isn’t a testament to a society deeply saturated in fatphobia*, I don’t know what is.

I can understand that people are grieving—I think we all are. The loss of our normal schedules, our plans, and our social lives is devastating. But there are healthier ways to process this grief that have nothing to do with punishing ourselves or our bodies.

For me, when I have the urge to want to change my body, or when I find myself harshly judging my body, it usually means that there are things going on in my life that are out of my control. If everything happening in the world is out of my control, then at least I can try to control what I look like, right?

What years of inner work and therapy have taught me is that the comfort of control rarely (if ever) gives us the assurance we seek. And although our bodies hold our trauma, we don’t always have to choose them as our battlegrounds.

Here are three ways to help shift the narrative towards body acceptance:

1. Turn it into an opportunity for gratitude

Every time you catch yourself judging how your body might be changing during this time, pause. What if, instead, you thanked it for what it allows you to do and experience? And at the very least, you can acknowledge the fantastic existence of your body with a single breath.

2. Redirect the energy

Everything that you feel is valid, but recognize that it is a privilege to be worrying about body image during a global pandemic. There are a lot of folks who are being wildly disenfranchised by this (mostly because capitalism is failing us, but I won’t get into that) and if you are in a position of privilege, ask yourself what you can do to help those in your community. That could mean donating your money or time, or even sharing a gofundme page on social media—what that looks like is up to you. But if you have enough energy to post fat jokes online, or complain about your tummy getting bigger, you have time to help someone in need.

3. Savor the experiences you get to have because you have a body

Eating and moving our bodies is going to look different right now, and that’s just the reality. And we can’t really change that reality. What we can change is how we approach this shift from our routines. When you do choose to move your body, how does it feel? When you eat your favorite snack, how does it feel?

Because I’m in my apartment so much, I am especially grateful for the moments I get to spend outside. Not to sound too poetic, but feeling the cool air on my skin has been deeply invigorating. This non-extraordinary bodily experience does so much for me—grounds me in my body and the moment, fills me with gratitude for getting to breathe in the cool air. What’s something you can do to elicit a sense of grounding in your body?


We’re going through some really tough times. There is a lot that is out of our control, and that can be scary and overwhelming. But taking out our anxiety, anger, grief, or pain on our bodies is not going to flatten the curve.

*Calling out here that this behavior is rooted in fatphobia, which is woven into the oppressive fabric of White supremacy and capitalism. Unlearning this and understanding its systemic implications is also our responsibility.