Updated: May 12
Remember those freshman 15? Now it is the quarantine 15 we need to focus on. Quarantine 15 is the term given to weight gain during the pandemic. Not everyone is affected by the quarantine 15, but if you find that your weight has been inching upwards it's time to dust off your wellness goals and put them into action.
Obesity is the underlying cause for so many of the chronic diseases that affect Americans. It is also a risk factor in having a more severe case of COVID. This additional risk is why obese people are being moved to the top of the list for vaccinations.
Why is the quarantine 15 a reality? Due to the pandemic we are spending more time in our homes. We may find ourselves to be less active as gyms have closed. We may be taking less steps during the day as we confine ourselves to our homes. We may be eating more processed foods. We are all stressed which can lead to overeating. During times of stress our bodies react with a fight or flight response. Your body wants to hold on to calories it feels it may need to combat the stressful situations. Also be honest with yourself, is your alcohol consumption up?
If you find your scale inching upwards, you can take control now.
Weigh yourself at least weekly to keep control of possible weight gain.
Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories and contain fiber which can help you feel full longer. Have fruits and vegetables readily available for snacks.
Decrease the amount of processed food you have in your house. If it is not there. you will not be tempted to snack on it.
Try cooking homemade meals. Homemade meals do not have to be made totally from scratch. There are short cuts available to you such as precut vegetables or frozen vegetables.
Have a schedule which should include meals and snack times. Make sure you have structure in your day. Schedule time for exercise. Make sure you are getting up from your desk every hour and getting some steps in.
Limit your alcohol consumption. If you do drink, remember it is a source of empty calories.
Get the proper amount of sleep. There is correlation between poor sleep and obesity.
If you are working from home get dressed in the morning.
Manage your stress. Try meditation or yoga. Find a relaxing hobby.
Don't make too many lifestyle changes at once. When we focus on small changes, it increases our chances for success. Remember failure is part of the game, so if you don't have success with one of your goals, it is ok to try again. As with everything in life, we should all aim to move forward with the occasional few steps backwards. You can take control of your situation and start living a healthier life.
As always, if you are overwhelmed with your current health situation, please don't hesitate to reach out to me, Melissa Hakim MD, your health advocate. 484-533-7822 email@example.com.