New York, NY – By now, most workers have moved into the post-shutdown phase of the pandemic. It’s been a long time coming. However, many are still uncomfortable about coming back to the office. Aside from returning to the dreaded commute and acclimating to the “new normal” — countless workers have found they have put on some weight. Let’s call them the “Pandemic Pounds.”  

Ben Kimmel.

According to reports, 46-percent of U.S. adults already have poor-quality diets. The kids are doing worse at more than 56-percent. It is estimated that unhealthy diets have cost the U.S. $50 billion in healthcare expenditures — and a 66-percent risk of productivity losses.

“You are what you eat” as the old saying goes, and for those of us who are always on the go, finding time to eat right can be tough. But, before we give in and go the fast food route, remember — most U.S. adults have poor-quality diets.

Although our weight gain can be manageable, the emotional effects can be intimidating. But fear not. There are healthier options that are both simple and as readily available as a double cheeseburger, fries and a chocolate shake [if that’s your thing].

Helpful suggestions will support your meals from breakfast to dinner and without breaking the bank. Let’s start with what’s necessary and then we can move to what’s possible. First, let’s focus on nutrition. We can start by eating more vegetables. Drink more water. Avoid processed foods, heavy carbs, and sugary snacks. We can improve our intake of healthy sources of fat, and eat more protein. And of course, let’s not forget exercise. Exercise is important!

Here’s something else to keep in mind: although the brain only makes up 2-percent of our body weight, the human brain uses between 20- to 30-percent of our energy intake. Hence, that old saying, “You are what you eat.”

Better food choices are obvious and important. However, the challenge is to find a realistic pattern to improve our eating habits, as well as our physical fitness. This is why most people quit on their diets: they’ve set unreasonable goals or begun at an unrealistic pace.

We first need to commit to a long-term strategy and allow ourselves time for our bodies to adjust. Unhealthy diets can also lead to other challenges such as heart disease, which claims more lives per year than drug overdoses and alcohol-related deaths combined. Obesity claims more than 300,000 lives each year — all the more reason to create an intervention and start a healthy diet today. Otherwise, how else will we succeed in our post-pandemic life?

Don’t worry if there’s not enough time to go out and pick up something healthy. Most places deliver, and since food delivery apps are on the rise, there is absolutely no excuse why we can’t have a healthy meal delivered to our door!

Ben Kimmel is a proud member of the IUOE Local 94, as well as an Author, Writer on, Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Wellbeing and DEI Content Provider, Certified Addiction and Recovery Coach, Certified Professional Life Coach, and Peer & Wellness Advocate.  Ben can be reached at


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