Pandemic weight gain is real in these days of the pandemic. We are facing unimaginable tension, social isolation, and quick access to our refrigerators and cabinets during the Coronavirus disease outbreak. This is a surefire way to add weight. Quarantine life is tough, to say the least, and we’re all coping mentally, socially, and physically. No one should blame you for abandoning your diet and fitness regimen in favor of a bowl of ice cream while binge-watching that TV series on Netflix that everybody is talking about.
What steps are you taking to reverse the weight gain during the pandemic?
If you’ve gained weight since March of last year, you’re not alone. In a poll of over 1,000 people conducted by a healthcare institute, about half of the women and nearly one-quarter of the men said they had gained weight as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
This is not surprising given that routines have been disrupted, stress levels have risen, and it is unclear when or if things will ever function normally. But there are things you can do to tip the scales in your favor and feel happier.
As gyms and other facilities closed, and people faced economic uncertainty, many people replaced exercise routines with stress eating, and people who were already obese were more likely to gain more weight.
Doing home activities to keep your stamina active
Graphics artist and illustrator Aldrin Suan suggested performing routines at home like home gardening and doing household chores. Findings have found evidence that being around plants, or simply being able to look out on a green environment, is correlated with improved surgical healing, reduced anxiety and depression, improved stress control, and many other beneficial outcomes. That is why home gardening and planting is one of the best outdoor activities you can do for its calming properties, as a space to experience comfort and healing for humans.
Other routines such as room re-decorating, brisk walking, and meditation can help you achieve a better feeling both physically and mentally while staying at home.
You may signup and join a fitness program, like Jomar Lipon, a minimalist fitness enthusiast, recommended to stay fit and achieve one’s body physique goal during home quarantine. Doing outdoor activities like yoga and stretching can help you regain your energy and self-discipline. As health, fashion, and style content creator Rabsin de la Cruz advises, regular routine of exercises can give you the physical boost and mindset to maintain a healthy body from taking too much food during the stay-at-home period.
Mind your steps, too. It is important to get up and get moving to make the muscles more mobile to help you build stamina. Make it a habit to monitor the steps you make with your active smartwatch and record them for your progress.
Rethink your choice of food, shop for a budget
It’s easy to picture out weight gain during the pandemic, particularly if you spend much of your time at home. Google has been trending with recipes for comfort food. Because there is so much baking going on, supermarkets are running out of flour. Going back to maintaining proper food proportion is a good start to starting managing your weight. When going to the supermarket to stock your pantry at home, you need to keep in mind to shop smart. It’s critical to be organized when it comes to quarantine shopping, particularly with regard to consuming enough fruits and vegetables (aim for five servings per day if you can).
Purchase a variety of organic, frozen, and canned foods to last at least a week. Consume fresh ingredients first, followed by frozen and bottled. Rinse canned vegetables to decrease sodium, and eat fresh or frozen fruit on a daily basis because the vitamin C level of canned fruits and vegetables is lower than that of fresh or frozen, which is essential for immune health. Small frequent feeding with a variety of food will help you move your bowels, too.
Drink more water
“I don’t work out often,” says Roneth Politud, a travel blogger. Losing weight is a bit of a challenge for her. “However, drinking more water helps me lose the weight I gained during the pandemic. It is such a minimal effort but with good benefits.”
If plain tap water is a bit boring for you to intake, Jeane Louise Mainit advises starting drinking water infused with citrus and ginger (lemon, orange, or calamansi). The UK-based Filipino nurse adds, “It is a good way to somehow lose that extra pounds as these fruits (and other vegetables) are diuretic (a substance that promotes diuresis, the increased production of urine).” It helps boost immunity amid the pandemic, she said.
Having a water tumbler with you all the time helps you get reminded to consume more water. Also, drinking water 30 minutes before a meal helps you to feel more full, plus it helps with digestion, too! Alcohol sales and alcoholism are up big during the pandemic. Therefore, it is best for us to return to drinking water for weight management.
Manage your weight and create a plan
Losing pounds during the pandemic, however, is entirely possible. Dr. John Morton, a surgeon from Yale Medicine, advises starting by stepping on the scale at least once a week. Once you know your weight, you can determine your body mass index (BMI), which is a height/weight ratio that will show where you fall in the weight spectrum. There are many simple BMI calculators available online. Your BMI is considered healthy if it falls between 18.5 and 25, and overweight if it is between 25 and 30—a good reason to adjust your diet and exercise routine.
If you need to lose 10 to 15 pounds, Dr. Morton says it should be possible, even with the pandemic’s changes and limitations. The first move, he says, is to find a plan. He suggests creating new routines centered around what he refers to as the four foundations of weight loss: diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management.
“You have to have routines. You can’t just be sailing along, hoping for the best. Start with the fundamentals,” he says. “That means getting up in the morning, taking a shower, getting breakfast, and having a plan for the day. Purpose gives direction, and it helps when it comes to weight.”
One or two pounds a week is a reasonable weight-loss pace, Dr. Morton says. “If you want to cut back by 500 calories a day, that might mean you are exercising the equivalent of 200 calories and cutting out 300 calories in your diet.”
Whatever your weight goals may be, now is a good time to assess your lifestyle and focus on all the things that keep you healthy. You might have more time to reshape your priorities and decide what to do about food and exercise. While you want to have a weight loss plan, you do have to make it sustainable and make allowances. There is no reason to be rigid about reversing your weight gain during the pandemic.