COVID-19 has caused multiple losses – jobs, events, businesses, etc. – but unfortunately, not weight. For many people, the unhealthy combination of quarantine, shuttered gyms, working from home, lack of routine and chronic stress has led to weight gain.
We get it – and we aren’t immune either – but with stay-at-home orders lifted and health clubs reopening, it’s time to enhance our well-being by shedding those extra pounds. Of course, if you were underweight when quarantine started, or if you are at your target weight, this doesn’t apply.
Maintaining a recommended weight is so important for your overall health, and helps reduce risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity and other lifestyle diseases. Plus, you’ll feel better physically and mentally.
Whether you’ve gained a few pounds or more, here are steps to losing the quarantine 15 (Or 19. Or whatever).
Losing the Quarantine 15
- Commit fully – There are STILL no magic pills when it comes to sustained, healthy weight loss. It takes a lot of work and time, fueled by dedication and perseverance. To be successful, your mindset is critical. You have to really want to lose weight to be steadfast in your efforts. That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect – slip-ups happen – but you need to pledge to do your best, keep striving and not quit.
- Set goals – As part of your commitment, give yourself something specific to target. But be realistic so you don’t set yourself up for failure. Dropping 15 pounds in one month isn’t healthy or practical. Aim for 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week, per health experts. And include a goal for exercise as well to keep you moving. Give yourself time, too; the more weight you aim to lose, the longer it will take. Write down your goals where you will see them frequently to remind you of your mission.
- Plan ahead – Schedule your workouts each week, and protect this time as your own. If something interrupts, then reschedule your session immediately – don’t just skip it. Also, make a grocery list before you shop. If possible, look up a few healthy recipes beforehand and include those ingredients on your list. And pack your gym back the night before your next workout so you are ready to go.
- Cut calories and improve your diet – To shed pounds, you must expend more calories than you take in. That starts with evaluating your diet and decreasing consumption of high-calorie, high-fat and high sugar items, such as fried foods, sweets, high-fat meats and cheeses, soda, juice and alcohol. Instead, substitute fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and fish, low-fat dairy and water. Limit portion sizes and check calorie counts, control snacking and eat three meals each day to keep your metabolism humming.
Some people have successfully lost weight with intermittent fasting, an eating plan that deliberately alternates between set periods of eating and fasting — typically whole-day fasting or time-restricted feeding (such as only eating between 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.). A dietitian can provide guidance on healthy diet plans as well as intermittent fasting.
- Exercise more and be active – Exercise burns calories and builds muscles, so it is a non-negotiable when it comes to losing the quarantine 15. For best results, you need to work out 4-6 times each week, for 30-90 minutes at a time, incorporating cardio and strength. Try interval training for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
In addition to regular workouts, move around more each day by walking, taking the stairs, pacing when on the phone, playing with the kids outside, and more. All movement matters and has a cumulative effect.