How much weight will you gain while trapped at home? Will you be one of the many people who will gain weight during this unprecedented time, or will you choose to stay on track? The decision is up to you! Many people are reporting unwanted weight gain during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Often called the ‘Quarantine 15’ for its similarity to the “freshman 15” that students gain upon attending college, this effect is likely attributable to unhealthy habits brought upon by discomfort, stress, & fear.
Rates of emotional eating have increased as uncertainty regarding the global pandemic continues to rise. With more time than usual at home, it is common to turn to eating as a coping mechanism. However, it is important to realize that what feels like a satisfying solution only provides short-term effects. In the long-term, bigger problems can ensue.
A healthy diet and lifestyle improves the immune system. At this time especially, it is important to take preventative measures against chronic illness. In fact, chronic illness can put you at risk for sickness now more than ever.
So, if you want to fight diseases (including Coronavirus), it is important to fuel your body with healthy foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients. In case you are struggling with emotional eating, here are 6 things you can do to break the cycle and avoid the ‘Quarantine 15’:
Cycle of Emotional Eating
- Continue consulting with your Medical Provider: Access to medical professionals is easier than ever with the introduction of video appointments. You can now meet with your licensed medical provider(s) via computer or mobile device right from the comfort, privacy, and safety of your own home through our HIPAA-compliant “tele-health” platform. Here, you will get the guidance, accountability, and support you need to stay on track.
- Maintain a proper mindset: Don’t let the quarantine be an excuse to overeat! Maintain a ‘weight loss mindset’ during this pandemic by identifying intrusive thoughts and replacing them with healthier ones that will keep you on track! You will know you have a positive mind-set when you instinctually expect success, feel motivated, and lean towards healthier lifestyle choices.
- Monitor your Portion Size: When you are at home, it is easy to eat right out of the bag, snack from containers, and drink out of cartons. However, if you don’t monitor your portion size by measuring your food prior to consumption, you are likely to experience weight gain as a result of unintentionally eating more.
Instead of eating from cartons, containers, or bags, portion out your meals on a plate or bowl.
Tip: Use small plates and bowls when eating! Research indicates that using smaller plates can trick our brains into thinking that we are eating more.
- Clean out your kitchen: Surrounding yourself with healthy foods will make it more likely that you will eat healthier. So, spend some time purging your pantry and fridge of unhealthy and tempting foods. Even during this pandemic, healthy and nutritional foods are still available. When shopping, focus on nutritional foods that will help you stay full, like lean meats and vegetables.
- Exercise: Although gyms and other fitness centers have closed, it is crucial to find other ways to stay fit and exercise while stuck at home. Some great ways to move include walking or running, yoga, weight training, and swimming. Additionally, there are some great workouts you can find online with a quick search that will help you to maintain or improve your current fitness levels.
If you have never exercised before — now is a great time to start! Choose something that seems enjoyable to you & set small, realistic weekly goals to avoid burnout or frustration.
- Never Give up: Without temptation from friend groups and social outings, now is an especially great time to creating lasting, positive lifestyle and behavior changes. With the proper mindset, you can lose weight, keep it off, and stay healthy during this pandemic and for a lifetime!