It wasn’t too many months into the COVID-19 pandemic and the stay-at-home orders before the phrase “quarantine 15” was coined to note the weight that people were gaining. It’s not surprising that many people put on unwanted pounds, given that for much of the population, activity levels dropped while caloric intake remained the same or even increased. In addition, people often gravitated to stress-relieving, but less nutritious, “comfort foods.”
Now that life’s slowly returning to normal, you may be interested in shedding some pounds. Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight is always a good idea. The key is to be sure you do it the right way.
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10 Steps for Losing Quarantine Weight
To lose weight that you gained as a result of changes in habits during quarantine, you’ve got to make changes that bring your lifestyle back into alignment with your weight goal. Below are 10 steps for doing that.
- Avoid processed foods like fatty meat products (bacon and sausage, for example), baked goods, and quick-serve, pre-prepared meals. No doubt about it — this will be a challenge! But the more of these items you take out of your diet, the hungrier you’ll be for healthy options.
- Eat more whole grains, vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds. Your body needs the nutrients and fiber that these foods provide to be healthy and energized.
- Focus on portion control. In terms of eating, losing weight is about consuming the right foods and the right quantities of them. Just be sure to decrease the amount of food on your plate gradually. Cut back too quickly and you’ll likely find yourself getting grumpy and losing your motivation.
- Log your food intake. Keeping notes on what you’ve eaten each day can help you manage your diet more effectively. Plus, as you start eating better, your food diary can be a source of pride and encouragement.
- Avoid sugary drinks and snacks. That quick jolt of energy you get from them is enticing, but it’s a “short-term loan,” so to speak. It’s much better for you, in the long run, to drink more water and eat healthy snacks.
- Get at least 150 minutes of exercise every week. Of course, you need to be sure that your selected activities, intensity, and duration are appropriate for your current fitness level as you work to increase that level. Talk with your doctor if you have questions about what’s right for you.
- Eat breakfast. Skipping breakfast to reduce your calorie intake isn’t a good idea. You want to get your metabolism cranked up in the morning, and consuming food does that. Plus, people who skip breakfast often end up overeating at lunchtime.
- Get plenty of sleep. Failing to get enough rest can increase your risk of becoming obese. There are multiple reasons for that, one being that tired people often eat more to generate the energy they need to get through the day.
- Take your time and be mindful while eating. As much as possible, focus on the meal you’re eating as you eat it. It’s too easy to overeat when your mind is on other things.
- Remind yourself that you don’t need to “clean your plate.” You should serve yourself the portion you think your body truly needs, but if you overestimate, don’t feel you need to eat the entire portion just because it’s there.
Keep in mind that gradual progress is more effective, sustainable, and safer than any “crash diet.” And be kind to yourself! You’ll probably have good days and not-so-good days as you work toward your goal. But with patience and persistence, you can get there!
Learn More About Weight Loss at Baptist Health
Losing weight can reduce your chances of dealing with multiple serious health risks associated with obesity. You can identify your risk factors by taking our bariatric health risk assessment.
Next Steps and Useful Resources: