Now that more people are starting to return to the office, many are looking to shed pounds they gained during the pandemic. Weight loss companies are reporting a boom in business.
Many Americans gained nearly two pounds a month while sheltering at home, for an average of 20 pounds, reports the Journal of the American Medical Association. Now, many are paying up to get the scale to go down.
The first step to weight loss, experts say, is to look at what caused you to gain during the pandemic, such as stress, boredom, or your gym closing.
"You had people who were in the house and food was all around them, so those who had an emotional eater approach to food, were eating a lot more," said nutritionist and weight loss coach Melissa Hawthorne.
Weight loss and fitness companies are gaining green.
The Noom app, which provides customized health plans starting at $59 a month, says it was downloaded nearly four million times in the past year.
WW International, formerly Weight Watchers, with digital plans starting at $3.30 a week, reported a 16% jump in subscribers over the last year.
Medifast and its meal replacement plan, Optavia, starting at $149 a month, expects to double it's 2019 revenue this year.
Hawthorne says no matter which weight loss plan you choose, check it out before you buy.
"Look for a program that you could see yourself doing for a long time, not just for a six week little program. Because inevitably people gain that weight right back," said Hawthorne.
And she points out, you can start without spending any extra money by making a few healthier choices.
"Maybe it's drinking more water, or eating three vegetables a day, or instead of drinking three sodas a day, maybe just drink one. Over time those will lead potentially to weight loss," explained Hawthorne.
And she says finding an exercise buddy will help keep you on track.
"You don't have to walk for an hour, maybe just 20 minutes to start with, and work your way up is always important," said Hawthorne.
When choosing a weight loss program, some can get expensive, but may offer useful tools, such as counselor, a support group, or recipes. So choose what will work best for you, so that you get the pay off of losing weight.