You may be struggling with weight loss during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and you are not alone. Terms like the “Quarantine 15” and the “COVID-19” (referring to a weight gain of 15 or 19 pounds during social distancing) express the real struggle many are facing. Consider these five tips so you can apply them today and reverse this trend.
You know the saying that life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent what you make of it? Or, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade? Both express a common reality: Your mindset is crucial to your well-being and success.
The COVID-19 pandemic has many negative consequences and is certainly a cause of concern. But you can find ways to view the situation as calmly as possible. Stress is a major part of weight gain and can be partially to blame for recent weight gain trends.
Instead of viewing the pandemic as contrary to your weight-loss journey, turn the narrative around and see it as a unique opportunity for weight loss. For example, social distancing and other lifestyle changes offer a chance to recreate a weight-loss lifestyle. Channel your fears and concerns into motivation to do what you can to promote healthy changes.
Once you have set your mind to change, exercise is a great way to control both stress levels and your weight. Perhaps you used to attend a local gym, and that is no longer possible. There are still many opportunities for fitness under social distancing guidelines.
Establish a routine that fits with your new schedule. You may find it is even easier, given a work-from-home pace. Going outdoors for a daily walk, even for just 20 minutes a day, can help lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels. And many gyms are adjusting to the lock down with streamed classes you can join through online platforms.
Simple lifestyle changes have a lot of impact as well. For instance, standing versus sitting burns more calories and helps keep your metabolic rate higher.
Staying at home might mean you move less and eat more, and many people many have started snacking more during the day. Snacking is common when bored or stressed – or just opportunistically, as you are home with food all day.
One strategy to combat snacking is intermittent fasting (IF). With IF, you set hours you can eat each day, such as an eight-hour eating window. You also set mandatory wait periods between meals. Establish strict guidelines for yourself and stick to them.
At the same time, replace the unhealthy choices you may have had at restaurants, bars, and social gatherings with healthy choices. Instead of taking up unhealthy baking, as many have done over the past months, focus on learning new, healthy recipes. Control the ingredients in your home by shopping only for healthy snacks and meal choices.
The time you spend asleep can be just as important as your waking hours. If your usual work pattern is off, you may be neglecting healthy sleep habits. A regular sleep schedule helps manage your hormones, including cortisol, and helps your weight-loss goals.
Limit screen time, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime. Set a firm schedule and stick to it, even if you do not have your usual reasons to get up in the morning.
Even with the right behaviors, weight loss can be daunting and even impossible without support. Do not let social distancing lead to social isolation. Connect with peers for a network of support for your emotional and physical help.
If you have significant weight to lose, beyond 10 to 15 pounds, you may need professional help to do so. You may need to reach out to professionals for support if you are struggling.
Act now to have weight loss success during quarantine. If you would like a consultation on medical weight loss options, contact us today.
Posted on behalf of Dr. David G. Davtyan MD, FACS, FICS