Posts tagged with "Weight Gain"

Banana illustration by Mina Tocalini

3 Quarantine Nutrition Hacks

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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3.  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!

Tips to Control Food Cravings When Stuck at Home

We’ve all felt hunger. It’s the sensation we get when we want to eat food. It’s a physiological mechanism designed to tell us when we need to have sustenance. However, in the Western world, food is in plentiful supply all around us and our interpretation of hunger has become confused.

Broadly speaking, hunger can be viewed in two ways. Firstly, physiological, also known as stomach or true hunger, is where you are genuinely hungry because you feel low in energy and haven’t eaten for a long time. In other words, your body needs food. Secondly, psychological, or mouth hunger, is where you fancy something to eat. This is when you have a craving.

What are cravings?

Cravings can lead to a preoccupation with food. We want food, especially ‘bad’ foods, more than we did before. When we restrict ourselves from eating the foods we desire, it can have a bad effect on our mood. This increases temptation and when you then eat something you’re craving, you enjoy it even more. This can cause a negative cycle of mood changes that lead you to want to snack more, and then you recognize the intense pleasure next time you have a craving. Cravings become harder to curb.

Food triggers

The trap continues. Just thinking about food triggers the behavior you want to avoid, i.e. eating. It’s especially hard as food is constantly around us, especially as we are spending more time than ever at home. It’s such an important part of our social lives, we see advertisements for tasty foods everywhere, and it’s frequently the topic of conversation. None of this is helped when your always around family and they may be snacking around you when you’re trying not to think about food. Harder still, we often use food as a reward. We treat ourselves, and junk food is a frequent reward of choice!

How to curb cravings

The nutrition team at Huel (Huel.com), the world’s best-selling complete nutrition brand, has put together a list of a few practical tips to help you curb your cravings. As you take control of your cravings, over time you’ll realize that you don’t actually need the food that you’re craving, it’s just a mindset. The frequency, duration and intensity of the cravings will soon diminish.

Eat regular meals and stick to a schedule – get into the habit of not skipping meals even if you are trying to be ‘good’ or because you feel guilty about what you ate earlier.

Listen to your body – eat regularly and only when you are genuinely hungry. Learn the difference between physiological and psychological hunger.

Identify what’s causing your cravings – keep food and feelings diary by jotting down what you eat and when, and how you feel before and afterward. This may help you identify triggers and problem times of the day, and to recognize if you’re snacking for comfort, boredom or loneliness.

Find a hobby or interest – if you are snacking for comfort, eating will not make the problem go away. Do something to occupy yourself to avoid nibbling. Try chatting with a friend, exercising, watching a movie, or having a relaxing bath.

Make eating a separate activity – many people snack while doing certain things, and consequently, the activity then becomes a signal for a craving. For example, watching TV and snacking, eating popcorn at the movies. To curb this, only eat at mealtimes, get out of the habit of eating while watching TV and when at home, confine eating to the kitchen or dining room.

Have regular drinks – this will help to keep you feeling full. Hot drinks are particularly useful as hot liquids empty from the stomach slower than cooler ones, and occasional sugar-free sodas can help to satisfy your taste buds.

If you get the urge to eat, look at the time and wait half an hour before having something.

Brush your teeth or use minty mouthwash after meals. The minty taste will help curb cravings. This is especially useful after your evening meal, as we often associate cleaning our teeth with the last thing we do with our mouth for the day.

Adopt an eating strategy to help with discipline and to maintain a routine. For example, some people find intermittent fasting useful as it minimizes the window for permitted eating.

Snack sensibly – fruit and berries are a great choice and will help curb sweet cravings. Sugar-free jello is also a great snack.

Don’t let a slip-up lead to more – if you do succumb to a craving, avoid the mindset “now that I’ve eaten that, I may as well make the most of it”.

New York Town Goes On Diet to Combat COVID-19

NEW YORK OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND TOWNWIDE DIET TO STOP WEIGHT GAIN DURING QUARANTINE

A New York Town has become the nation’s first to be put on a diet to combat COVID-19, according to Obesity Specialist and Director of Bariatric Surgery at Northwell Health-Huntington, Dr. David Buchin, Suffolk County Legislature Health Committee Chairman Dr. William Spencer, and Town of Huntington Clerk Andrew Raia.  The first-of-its-kind Town-wide diet was announced at a news conference on Wednesday.

The diet will include a healthy lifestyle and exercise program to combat the weight-gain nicknamed the “quarantine-15” that residents may have experienced during the pandemic lockdown. Over a decade ago, the Borough of Brooklyn put residents on a diet.  The Town’s diet will be the first in America to do the same in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, with over 200,000 residents eligible to participate.

The rate of obesity in the United States now exceeds 35% in nine states and these obesity-related conditions are very serious risk factors in COVID-19. This initiative will work with local merchants who specialize in health and fitness, including a local fitness center.

Four Ways to Lose Belly Fat

Although it can be hard to target fat in order to burn it off your body, it is essential to your health to get rid of belly fat. This fat, also known as visceral fat, accumulates inside the body around vital organs. Fortunately, several ways to reduce belly fat exist, including those below.

Learn to De-Stress

One of the main causes of weight gain is stress. Many people eat when they are under stress, and their choice of snacks is usually salty, sugary, or processed foods. When people are under great amounts of stress, their body’s release cortisol, which in turn triggers insulin.

The insulin acts to lower your blood sugar, which can make you feel ravenously hungry, so you reach for anything that’s close at hand. It’s seldom healthy food that people binge on, so they end up gaining fat.

By learning to de-stress with yoga or meditation, you can stop the triggers that get you to eat unhealthy foods and gain fat around your middle.

Skip Sugary Drinks

Research has found that sugary drinks, like sodas, sweet tea or added sugar to coffee, can lead to having more visceral fat on your body. Visceral fat accumulates in the organs like the liver or heart, which can block it and result in heart attacks or strokes.

Instead of drinking sugary drinks, try replacing sodas with water and drink tea and coffee without sugar. Another cause of hunger can be dehydration, so if you’re craving food, drink a glass of water to hydrate your body to keep it healthy.

Add Supplements to Your Diet

Fat burning supplements and protein powders with fat burning ingredients like collagen can help reduce the fat gathering around your middle. Also, doing exercises targeting visceral fat will also reduce the fat in your abdominal area.

Losing this fat can prevent several serious diseases and help you live longer. Studies show that people with normal weight but with fat around their middles have shorter life spans than some people who are overweight. It’s not a bad idea to get more information about fat burning supplements.

Get a Good Night’s Rest

Studies show that younger people who sleep less than five hours a night can have much higher levels of cortisol and ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that can make you feel hungry, which along with cortisol, makes it easier to gain weight, especially around the middle.

Getting more good quality sleep, about eight hours or more, can stop triggering these two hormones. It can also keep your metabolism running at a good pace. Poor sleep habits can lead to the body slowing the metabolism to conserve energy, which also causes weight gains.

Visceral or belly fat is bad for your health because it can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and fatty liver disease. Even if you are young and in good shape, having just a small amount of visceral fat around your abdomen can shorten your life.

However, if you follow these four tips and eat a healthy diet and exercise, then you can lose the fat around your middle and live longer.