With 24 hours and 7 days a week to ourselves – no work, school and extracurricular activities, we all tend to eat unhealthy and become lazy, which can lead to weight gain.
Some even call this, “Quarantine 15”, as the expression is commonly used in the United States, “Freshman 15”, which refers to the weight gain (usually around 10-15 pounds) during a student’s first year in college.
Well, it would be fine if we all had the same metabolism as an 18 year old. However, we didn’t. So before we gain those 15 pounds, we all need to start tweaking our daily quarantine routines and following these helpful tips to keep our weights on track.
Create a meal plan and stick to a meal schedule.
Losing track of the current time is common. Heck, sometimes we don’t even know what day it is. Part of maintaining a healthy weight means sticking to regular meals, eating in the same places, and most importantly, planning your meals. Remember that and actually stick to it.
Snacking is not that bad if we are smart about it. Watch what and how much you eat. Since you have all the time in the world now, why not whip up your own healthy treat instead of snacking on store-bought junk? Personally, I’ve found that a low-carb diet greatly reduces my cravings for snacking. (see my personal recommendations below)
Give it time to exercise.
Easy to say, but so hard to do. I, myself, am struggling to find time to exercise. However, if you are serious about not gaining weight during this time of self-isolation, then it is very important to stay physically active. Thirty minutes a day isn’t that bad. The internet offers tons of home workout videos that you can follow for ages, using only your body weight or things you can find around the house.
Stock up on essential items.
I know they say to put away the essentials… I repeat, the essentials. Not junk food and unhealthy. Make sure to be smart and practical when buying your groceries. So what is essential? My personal suggestions include: Canned meats (Spam, tuna, sardines, & beef — look for minimum additives, especially wheat, which will actually make you hungrier), dried beans (lasts long in storage, makes for a filling meal), and dried Rice. Things to avoid: Anything with added sugar. I personally also avoid anything with wheat.
During pre-COVID-19 days, your schedule may have been so packed that you would come home late and eat dinner just an hour or so before bedtime. Well, now that things have changed, why not take this opportunity to eat an early dinner – not only will this help you burn off those excess calories at night, but it will also give our bodies significantly more time to digest.
Stay well hydrated.
The body’s ability to create and burn energy depends on hydration, which is why it’s important that you make sure you don’t go slack with water. When a person is dehydrated, the immune system is compromised.
Get enough sleep.
Apart from adequate water intake, sleep also plays an important role in regulating metabolism. Not to mention, when you’re tired and sleepy, you’re more likely to skip your workouts and eat more than usual.
During the difficult times we are currently experiencing, it’s hard not to turn to food for comfort. This is called Emotional Eating, a maladaptive coping strategy that can sabotage our healthy habits. If you want to regain control of your eating habits, here is an article filled with helpful tips on how to Cope with Emotional Eating.
Get moving and stay productive.
Anxiety and boredom when forced to stay at home can be used as an option for unnecessary eating. I don’t know, but our brains seem to have a bad habit of tricking us into thinking we’re hungry when there’s nothing else to do. To prevent this, make sure to fill your 24 hours with fun and productive activities. Do some spring cleaning, learn something new, or start a new hobby.
Even if you are stuck at home because we don’t know when, remember that this is only temporary. So make sure to maintain healthy habits so that there are no regrets and health problems after the pandemic is over.