With 24 hours and 7 days a week all to ourselves – no work, school, and extracurricular activities, we are all prone to unhealthy eating and being couch potatoes, which can lead to weight gain.
Some are even calling this, “Quarantine 15,” just like the commonly used expression in the United States, “Freshman 15,” that refers to the weight gained (usually around 10-15 pounds) during a student’s first year at college.
Well, that’s okay if we all have the same metabolism as 18 year olds. However, we are not. So before we gain that 15 pounds, we should all start changing up our daily quarantine-routine and follow these helpful tips to keep our weights on track.
Make a meal plan and maintain an eating schedule.
Losing track of time nowadays is common. Heck, we don’t even know which day it is, sometimes. Part of maintaining a healthy weight means to keep eating at regular times, eating in the same place, and most importantly, planning out your meals. Keep that in mind and really stick to it.
Snacking isn’t that bad if we are being smart about it. Be mindful of what and how much you are eating. Since you have all the time in the world now, why not whip up your own healthy treats rather than snacking on the store brought junk? Personally, I have found that a low-carb diet greatly reduces my cravings for snacks. (see my personal recommendations below)
Give time for exercise.
Easy to say, but so hard to do. I, myself, am struggling to make time for a workout. However, if you are serious about not gaining weight during this self-isolation period, then it’s imperative to stay physically active. Thirty minutes a day isn’t that bad. The internet offers a myriad of home workout videos that you can follow a long time, using just your body weight or things you can find at home.
Stock up on the essentials.
I know they said to stock up on the essentials… I repeat, essentials. Not junk and unhealthy food items. Make sure to be smart and practical when buying your groceries. So, what are the essentials? My personal suggestions include: Canned meats (Spam, tuna, sardines, & beef — look for minimum additives, especially wheat, which will actually make you hungrier), dried beans (last a long time in storage, make filling meals), and dried rice. Things to avoid bothering with: Anything with added sugar. I personally also avoid anything with wheat.
Have an early dinner.
During the pre-COVID-19 days, your schedule might have been so jam-packed that you go home late and eat dinner just an hour or a couple of hours before bedtime. Well, now that things have changed, why not take this opportunity to have your dinner early – it doesn’t just help you cut out those excess late night calories, but it also gives our body a much bigger window of time for digestion.
The body’s ability to create and burn energy depends on hydration, which is why it is important for you to make sure you don’t slack on water. When a person is dehydrated, the immune system is impaired.
Get adequate sleep.
Aside from adequate water intake, sleep plays a vital role in regulating the metabolism too. Not to mention, when you are tired and sleepy, you’re most likely to skip your workout and eat more than usual.
During this difficult time that we are in right now, 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’s an article containing helpful tips on how to Overcome Emotional Eating.
Get moving and stay productive.
Being restless and bored when you are forced to stay home can make it a resort to unnecessary eating. I don’t know but our brains seem to have this bad habit of tricking us that we are hungry when there’s nothing to do. To prevent that, make sure to fill your 24 hours with different enjoyable and productive activities. Do some spring cleaning, learn something new or start a new hobby.
Even if you are stuck at home for we don’t know when, remember that this is temporary. So make sure to maintain healthy habits so you won’t have regrets and health problems once the pandemic is over.