We’re all familiar with the term “Quarantine Weight-15” that haunts us as we reach for a bag of chips before heading back to the couch to binge-watch the rest of our favorite series on Netflix.
Everyone is aware that this time in quarantine has created a much too welcoming environment for unhealthy habits to run wild.
Let’s face it, these have been difficult and scary times.
It’s no wonder that our health, both physically and mentally, has taken a serious toll since the pandemic hit.
In fact, according to WebMD polls,47% of women and 22% of men respondents in the U.S. have gained weight “due to COVID restrictions.”
Of respondents that have gained weight, 59% of them blamed it on a lack of exercise and an increase in stress eating, while 21% blamed it on increased alcohol consumption.
Right now, it’s clear that many of us are struggling to look and feel our best.
Because we are moving less and consuming more calories, weight gain is just one side effect of being cooped up at home all day.
While it may not seem like a big deal to put on a few extra pounds during quarantine, this could actually contribute to long-term effects, especially for those that already have health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Not to mention that moving less and eating more might start to feel like the new normal for people, so it could become increasingly difficult to get out of this pattern and go back to a healthier routine.
Now that more counties are beginning to transition into yellow and green phases, we’re reminded every day that summer is rapidly approaching, and we may finally see glimpses of normalcy again!
But how do we mentally and physically repair for the reopening?
What if my “summer body” is nonexistent at this point?
Don’t worry friend, you’re not in this alone.
We have just the tips for you to get back on track and get ready for summer like a pro!
And we’re talking about more than just your typical diet and exercise tips.
While those are important starting points, we wanted to take it a step further so that this summer you’ll feel good about your body, your health, your mentality and your overall well being!
So, are you ready to put this “Quarantine Weight 15” fear away for good?
Have you been hesitant to whip out the bathing suit and look in the mirror for the first time this season?
Trust me, you have no reason to fear.
This article will help you get from where you are now, to the girl sitting confidently in a beach chair soaking up the summer sun.
We’ll be discussing tips for:
- Healthier eating habits
- The best ways to stay active at home
- Keeping motivation levels high
- Improving your mental health
Combining tips and practices from the above areas will leave you feeling excited and eager to take on this summer, rather than dreading the pounds that have crept up during COVID!
How can I practice better-eating habits?
First thing’s first, let’s talk about diet.
Proper nutrition is critical to our health.
But we’re all familiar with stress eating, eating because we’re bored, cravings and indulgence, right?
Just because there’s a temptation right now to grab and eat everything we see, there are plenty of ways to get back on track with some healthier, mindful eating habits.
- Before grocery shopping, make an organized plan. Grocery shopping, especially during this pandemic, becomes 10 times more complicated when we forget to make a list or go in without a plan. It also becomes 10 times easier to grab unhealthy comfort foods that are sticking out at us in all the aisles. Before heading to the store, it’s a good idea to plan out the ways that you intend to pack nourishing foods into your diet that week and shop for foods that you know you can incorporate into nutritious meals. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, consider buying a combination of fresh, frozen and canned items. That way, you can use up your perishables first and still have some stocked up. As adults, health experts suggest we should be aiming to eat up to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. With some thoughtful planning, grocery shopping can be a quick and painless experience. You can be sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need without overdoing it.
- Prioritize home-cooked meals. Now is the perfect time to experiment with all kinds of healthy recipes that you’ve typically been too busy to try! There are tons of healthy recipes that you can find online or on Pinterest. It’s never been easier to get creative with meal ideas that you and your family will love, while also secretly packing in tons of nutrition. Beyond that, home-cooked meals are an excellent opportunity to bring the whole family together. Not to mention the money and calories you’ll most likely be saving by not ordering pizza every night!
- Be mindful of portion sizes. Sometimes it can be challenging to gauge a healthy portion size, which could lead to overeating. By referring to the national food-based dietary guidelines, you can figure out what constitutes healthy portion sizes for adults and children. Remember that young children should be consuming smaller portion sizes than adults. Making these types of tiny adjustments can start to add up to significant results over time if we stick with them! Portion control is just one of many ways to help get us back on track with healthy eating habits.
- Try to limit salt, sugar and fat intake. World Health Organization recommends consuming less than 5 grams of salt per day. This means we should be keeping an eye out for foods with reduced or no salt added. We should also be rinsing our canned vegetables and beans to get rid of excess sodium before consuming them. Another way to reduce salt intake is to avoid adding excess salt to our meals and to experiment with some other herbs and spices in our recipes. Similarly, we should aim to reduce our sugar intake as well. It’s recommended that less than 5% of our total energy intake should come from free sugars. If you have a sweet craving, try opting for some fresh fruit instead of sugary snacks! And finally, fat intake is another area we should be trying to reduce. World Health Organization recommends that only 30% of total energy intake should come from fat, and saturated fat should account for no more than 10%. Now that summer is quickly approaching, and the weather is heating up, consider opting for more grilled options rather than frying or cooking with heavy amounts of saturated oils.
- Ensure you are getting enough fiber. A tip to prolong the feeling of fullness throughout the day and avoid overeating is to consume enough fiber in your diet. Not only that but incorporating enough fiber into your diet can also contribute to a healthier digestive system. Some ways to boost fiber intake are to include vegetables, fruits, and wholegrain foods in all meals. Wholegrain foods can range from oats, brown pasta and rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat bread. It’s best to avoid white bread, as well as white rice and pasta.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water is critical for good health. A good rule of thumb for adults is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, but this amount can vary based on other factors. If you’re someone that gets bored with the taste of regular water, you can give it a little more flavor by adding fresh fruit like cucumbers, lemons, strawberries and more! Another good idea is to avoid drinking large amounts of caffeinated drinks that could lead to dehydration.
- Reduce alcohol consumption. Although most people want to turn to alcohol at the end of another day in quarantine Weight, this is not the healthiest coping mechanism. Not only does it tack on extra calories for you, but it lowers inhibitions, increases risk of injury, boosts symptoms of anxiety or depression, and it can lead to binge eating. Beyond just short term risks, consuming large amounts of alcohol can also lead to more severe long-term health problems, like liver disease or liver failure. Alcohol is harmful when consumed at any level and is ultimately not a component of a healthy lifestyle. If not avoided entirely, it should at least be reduced so you can focus on all the ways you can treat yourself and your body well, rather than causing more harm.
What are the best ways to stay active?
While it may feel like working out is a lost cause due to gyms being closed everywhere, there are actually so many ways to stay active and get fit even from home. Working out from home has never been easier or more fun than it is now!
- Do smaller, bite-sized workouts. Although it’s recommended that adults get at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week, this seems more doable if we break up our workouts into smaller chunks throughout the day. This can be done by taking brisk walks in between Zoom meetings, going for a leisurely bike ride, doing some form of 15-minute cardio, or learning a Tik Tok dance (yes you read that right! Dancing is an excellent form of exercise, and who doesn’t love catchy Tik Tok dances?). By combining three smaller sets of 15 to 20-minute activities and workouts, by the end of the day, you’ll have gotten in plenty of exercises, and you can see great results!
- Don’t forget to move. During this time, a lot of us are spending the majority of our days sitting, staring down at our screens, and straining our necks and backs. We must remember to get up and move around so that we are not weakening our muscles and joints too much. We should be aiming to get up and move around every hour, even if only for a few minutes or so. If you don’t have a device or a watch that reminds you, set a timer, so you know when it’s time to stand and move around a bit. The movement doesn’t have to be crazy or intense to be effective; you can simply play with your family outside, garden, clean, or even stand during your next Zoom call for 20 minutes. These are all excellent forms of movement that will get your blood flowing and promote a healthier, non-sedentary lifestyle.
- Take advantage of free workout materials. According to Prentiss Rhodes, a certified master trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine, we can see pretty nice results even from doing bodyweight exercises. That means we have plenty of available workout options all around us for free! Between fitness bloggers, influencers, YouTube videos, and fitness apps offering special deals during COVID, there are a TON of resources to take workout tips from and get you pumped up for your workout from home session. So there’s no need to fret because you miss the gym! It’s just as easy to get in some solid workouts right now. Some suggestions for free fitness resources are the FitOn app, Blogilates on YouTube, POPSUGAR fitness on YouTube, Pinterest workouts, and so many more!
How do I stay motivated to look and feel my best?
Since quarantine Weight has most likely messed up our sense of normalcy in routines, some days it feels like all we want to do is lay in bed.
Life feels a lot slower when we no longer have a regular schedule of going to work, running errands, making different drop-offs for the kids, and so on.
Not only does it feel like our physical health has faced a setback, but our mental and emotional health has definitely been affected as well.
Without a strong mentality in place, it’s easier to give up on our set goals because we are too emotionally drained from pushing forward.
So how do we stay motivated to reach our fitness and nutrition goals?
How do we stay on track of healthy habits, so we can transition back to normal life?
- Regulate stress. Something that can help keep us on track is learning to manage stress Regulating stress can help us make healthier decisions regarding food and exercise and keep our emotions from running wild. This can be done by practicing mindfulness, meditation, journaling, and any activity that takes your mind off about worrying about the future and forcing you to live in the present. By practicing some of these, you will feel more balanced and relaxed, which can lead to a positive mindset and higher commitment to your goals. Some highly recommended apps you could look into if you’re interested are Headspace and the Calm app.
- Prioritize sleep. Being in a healthy sleep routine can make a world of difference when it comes to improving your mentality. There is no better time to invest in your nighttime routine to ensure you get the rest you deserve. You can also be sure to wake up feeling recharged and ready to crush all of your goals. And we’ve got some ways to help make that routine even better for you! Check out our collection of full-spectrum hemp products that can act as the perfect finish to your nightly routine, and assist in giving you the restful sleep you need.
- Be wary about screen time. Right now, it seems like we have no choice but to stare at our screens for extended periods. Aside from the increased levels of anxiety and stress caused by looking at screens, did you know there could also be skin-damaging effects caused by blue light? Taking breaks from our screens will serve us well in the long run, and encourages us to engage in healthier activities.
Obviously, these are challenging times for all of us, and no one has a quick fix for getting perfectly fit and healthy.
We all experience days that we want to cut loose a bit, and we should remember to treat ourselves and our bodies with love, kindness and compassion during this time.
That being said, we can definitely take action to start looking and feeling our best by creating healthier food, exercise and wellness habits.
We are in control of our nutritional and fitness goals, as well as our mindsets for success.
We can create a whole new perspective about this summer for ourselves, and we’ll be more than ready to take it on confidently!