Pandemic “the perfect storm” for weight gain: why some are now making a change

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Anthony Colella’s weight loss journey started in October of 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic.

“Being at home during this pandemic was a challenge for me because of the eating part of it,” Colella said.

The 58-year-old says he was stuck at home due to the pandemic, eating more and working out less. His father passed away and his daughter was about to get married.

“My daughters getting married in July, so I wanted to look good for her wedding,” Colella said.

Weighing in at 252 pounds, Colella realized it was time to make a change and decided that day to set a goal of losing 50 pounds.

“It got to the point where I was too big.”

He joined a program at the Center for Weight Wellness at Miriam Hospital.

Dr. Vincent Pera, the Medical Director there says Colella wasn’t the only one. He says the pandemic and lockdown created “the perfect storm” to gain weight.

“Being at home, all of the things that tend to trigger eating were much worse during the pandemic,” Dr. Vincent Pera said. “We’ve seen throughout the population a very significant weight gain over these past months.”

As the spring approaches, more people get vaccinated and start to go out again, many are looking to make a change.

Dr. Pera says the center not only focuses on dropping physical weight, but mental weight, too. They have psychologists, nutritionists, and exercise physiologists who help people cope with all of the changes from the pandemic.

“The psychological component is a very strong component in the whole process of gaining weight because for any of us, weight becomes or eating becomes a way to deal with stress and a way to deal with change in situations that we’re not comfortable with,” Dr. Pera said.

Dr. Pera says for those who want to make a change, he advises to start simple: go out on more walks, even if it’s just for a few minutes. For more information on their program, head to

For Colella, that change didn’t come easy. He says it started with walking and drinking more water. He cut down his portions, ate healthier, and stopped snacking. Eventually, he reached his goal losing over 50 pounds and weighing in at 201 lbs.

“I feel more energetic, my clothes fit me great now; I went down two pants sizes,” Colella said. “I just feel great.”

Categories: News, Providence, Rhode Island, Your Health