Are your clothes fitting more tightly on you than what you are comfortable with these days? If you indulged in “The Quarantine Diet” of added sugar, refined carbohydrates and more sugar, you are not alone. There isn’t a person on the planet who hasn’t been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in some way. There are memes about Zoom meetings in pajamas. We’ve seen the jokes about annoyed pets who are ready for their owners to get back into the office. The most popular subject…drum roll, please… has been COVID weight gain, or “The Quarantine 15.” With some of us gaining upwards of 10 to 15 pounds at this point, these particular memes aren’t quite so funny anymore.
While some things are more difficult to control, like job loss, financial dips or getting sick, take advantage of the variables you do have control over. One of the easiest things you can master right now is your nutritional health. Making healthier food choices is more important than ever as we are collectively less active these days. Many places in the U.S. still have closed gyms and workout facilities, and home workouts aren’t for everyone. That leaves a lot of us with a perfect storm of weight gain, too little movement and too much snacking at home.
Life has disrupted us in a major way, and yet, there are still things we can do to reverse some of the damage. At 360 Magazine, we have rounded up 3 strategies from Los Angeles Nutrition Coach Natasha Maxwell to help get you back on track if the quarantine weight gain has claimed you as a victim. Nobody knows when COVID-19 lockdowns will end. If this is going to be the “new normal,” you will have to reincorporate the healthy habits from your old life into this new one. If you are totally new to nutritional habit building (the food choices practiced consistently in your daily life), these tips are still a great help. Stick with us through the end for a bonus summer recipe!
How to Reclaim Your Body during Quarantine:
- Drink More Water!: This one is often overlooked as a weight management tool although it is as equally as important as the food choices we make. According to Natasha, “As a nutrition coach, I cannot express the number of times I encounter new clients who scoff at the amount of water I suggest. That number should be at least half of your body weight; in the summer I recommend upwards of 100 ounces. Yes, that’s right, 100 ounces minimum. The lack of sufficient water is harmful to your body and can affect it in a number of ways including salty food cravings, waste buildup and digestion problems. That waste buildup can mimic true weight gain, also known as “water weight”. Bloating from dehydration is no fun either and is likely the reason that it’s sometimes hard to button your pants.” As Natasha stated: Drink your water, please!
- Be mindful of your sugar intake this summer!: What comes to mind when you envision summertime treats? Maybe it’s popsicles, banana pudding or key lime pie. These are all fine in moderation, but too much sugar can lead to weight gain and excess puffiness. For those looking to lose weight from our extended stay indoors, we will have to keep track of our sugar intake, even when lounging happily by the pool. Some ways around overindulging in sweets include substituting fruits for other sweets, avoiding sodas and packaged fruit juice and being more mindful of limiting foods with labels listing corn syrup, glucose, sucrose, etc.
- Seek out new and healthier recipes!: The likelihood of entertaining guests during summer or being invited to someone else’s party or backyard BBQ is relatively high. Either way, food will be high on the list of priorities. Think produce, lean meats and fewer refined snacks when debating over a menu. Natasha especially urges the consumption of produce. Fresh vegetables and fruit are higher in water content, and an ample water supply can come in handy when you’re feeling a little dehydrated from the heat! Sliced cucumbers and carrots with a homemade dip are a win. Seafood and lean poultry options on the grill with veggies are also a great combo. For plant-based options, think stuffed pepper recipes, veggie hummus wraps and rainbow-colored salads with incredible ingredients and flavor. Who said healthy recipes can’t be tasty, too?
This pandemic is stressful and has affected us in a multitude of ways. Emotional eating is understandable, given our current circumstances. We don’t have to be rigid around everything we eat, but being more aware of what we are indulging in and how often is the key to weight maintenance and weight loss. Make a plan for your nutritional habits and find the balance that works best for you. We wish you luck!
As promised, here’s that bonus recipe you’ve been waiting on. It’s Summer Ceviche!
Let us know what you think with a comment down below!