Jesse Weigel’s jeans barely buttoned and his dress pants were off limits. But he didn’t view his pandemic doughnut habit as a crisis until his 4-year-old had to extract him from a once-favorite shirt that bound his arms like sausage casing.
“She’s actually hanging off my collar trying to get my shirt off,” Weigel, a 35-year-old computer-systems head engineer, recalled from his home in Steubenville, Ohio. “The only way to do it was to rip it off my arms.”
Americans who soothed themselves with calorie-laden comfort foods are frantically trying to slim down for the perfect office bod.
Gym memberships are up, personal trainers are booked and digital subscriptions to WW, the company formerly known as Weight Watchers, were 16% higher at the end of the first quarter from a year earlier.
The pandemic-fueled isolation and anxiety meant more eating and less activity in a country where four in 10 adults are already obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In all, 42% of the population gained unwanted weight, averaging 29 pounds (13 kilograms), according to the American Psychology Association’s annual stress survey.
Some companies saw opportunity in what was labeled on social media as #Quarantine15 and #PandemicPounds. Tracking virus outbreaks alongside stay-at-home restrictions, Hershey Co. pushed s’mores, the gooey confections of chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers.
Even executives for Ralph Lauren Corp. — a company built on a fantasy of exclusive lifestyles, with clothing paraded by impossibly slim models — relished how its elasticized denim accommodated customers’ new curves.
“More comfort, stretch, is playing right into the lifestyles or the COVID weight gain,” Jane Nielsen, the chief operating and finance officer, said in a June 17, 2020, call with during an Evercore ISI Research. She, too, had put on pounds, she added.
All that heft creates a minor crisis for employees re-entering human society.
As of late May, 12% of Manhattan office workers had returned at least part time, according to a June survey by the Partnership for New York City, a research and advocacy group. Businesses surveyed expect that figure to reach 62% by the end of September.
In recent weeks, new clients of Own Your Fitness, a personal training service in Manhattan and Jersey City, New Jersey, have said they want not only to lose the pounds, but also to tune up for a corporate environment, according to founder Adam Dare.
“They started saying, ‘I want to look like I’m still competitive and I can handle my own,’ ” said Dare, 45, who conducts in-person and virtual sessions.
The downfall of Saumil Kapadia, a 41-year-old banking chief operating officer from Jersey City, was the aroma of his wife’s baking, luring him far too often from his bedroom workspace into the kitchen. Banana bread was a gateway to chips and croissants from neighborhood shops.
Now he’s doing 30-minute sessions with Dare, including running, lunges, squats and push-ups, working toward the day when he can slip into office clothes.
— Tribune News Service
Published at Mon, 19 Jul 2021 09:43:03 +0000