I haven’t always battled with my weight, but it feels like it — as a kid, I could eat whatever I wanted and was rail thin. Somewhere in high school was where I started packing on some serious pounds. In college, things sped up faster and faster as life seemed to accelerate. Before I knew it, I stepped on a random scale and found myself close to 250 lbs. For me, it was the tipping point.
Since that day, I’ve fought an undulating battle with my weight — I went as far as dropping down to 200 lbs within that same year by simply changing my eating habits. But a mixture of poor self-isolating habits and complacency recently pushed me back to a weight I haven’t seen in years, so I’d like to share some helpful information and tips for those struggling to battle weight gain while self-isolating.
You’re not alone.
So many people I’ve talked to have complained about their Corona wight. Binge drinking and excess time to make all those decadent Pinterest dishes don’t help. Across the world, people are going through the same struggles.
Germans have gone as far as creating a new term related to weight gain experienced during the pandemic — they call it “Coronaspeck.”
“Speck” referring to the extra stomach flab being noticed on people as they shelter in place.
Eat the natural stuff.
The current pandemic isn’t the only reason for our expanding waistlines. Across the world, obesity is on the rise. The WHO blames the most common reason for obesity as a direct result of intaking too many calories. At the heart of this entire conversation is a direct correlation between calories in vs. calories out, but there are key differences in the calories we intake. Not all foods are created equal.
Studies show that eating foods like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts are essential in maintaining healthy body weight. These foods not only provide your body with the nutrients you need, but you can eat larger quantities of them to maintain a longer feeling of fullness.
I find myself constantly wanting to graze through the fridge, probably because I’m not out in the world staying busy. By including real foods instead of junk food or quickly metabolized foods, like bread, you stay full longer. My go-to lately is to munch on carrots for a snack because they’re a touch sweet and fix my urge to graze without going overboard.
I know it’s hard, but not impossible to work out during isolation. As Kate Morgan points out in her article, “Quarantine Fitness Will Change Workout Culture Forever,” the way we choose to exercise is changing. Companies like Nike and local exercise aficionados across the world changed their programs to focus on working out at home. Companies are offering free workout apps, local gyms are streaming their routines, and amateurs are sharing their personal workouts in this new world. Take some time to figure out which type of exercise works best for you at home and get started.
Personally, I’m a fan of bodyweight-focused high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts — mostly because I loath exercising. I want to get it over with as quickly as possible. HIIT exercises don’t require the need for a gym, are made to work your entire body, and keep burning energy throughout the day, resulting in higher calories burned. YouTube offers a sweeping selection and companies like Aaptiv and Fiton offer a wide variety of workouts to fit any person’s needs. My personal “favorite” self-isolation exercises include:
- Half Burpees (jumping inside isn’t always an option):
- Squats and squat jumps (also don’t worry about the need to jump):
- Jumping Jacks:
- Pushups (do easier variations if you need):
- Glute Bridges:
I had to limit my alcohol
When you don’t necessarily have to wear pants to work or even face your boss, throwing a little Bailey’s in the morning cup of coffee may sound like a good idea. In fact, alcohol sales have skyrocketed as Americans stocked up for the pandemic. Collectively, we decided to drink our way through this pandemic and my waistlines suffered because of it.
Limiting alcohol may seem like a no brainer because of the ridiculous amount of calories packed into each drink, but it’s more than that for me. Alcohol puts me in a headspace where all I want to do is eat pizza and nom Doritos. Without much to do, the first few weeks of pandemic felt like I was back in college. My partner and I literally stayed up one night playing beer pong and crushing our way through a case of beer.
Once we’re successfully drunk, the only sensible next course of action is to order pizza, right? Morning comes and the self-loathing begins because I’m hungover and want nothing other than greasy, fatty food — which I’m obviously going to eat instead of cooking a healthy meal. The vicious cycle isn’t about drinking in the moment, it’s about the calorie-fueled aftermath.
Everybody knows they’re supposed to do it but if you’re like me, it doesn’t happen. Tap into your inner Bobby Boucher and drink some high-quality H2O. When you drink more water, you set yourself up for better digestion, fewer cravings, and more energy. And I know for most people, this is going to be a lot of blah blah blah because it’s common sense, but I’m terrible at making sure I drink enough water. Having my specific water bottle, making sure it’s nearby at all times, and actively reminding myself to take a drink is how I keep up with hydration throughout the day.
Stay motivated and stay healthy
Find whatever motivates you and keep pushing forward. Just because the world around us has slowed down doesn’t mean we have to stay stagnant. We won’t have to self-isolate forever — eventually, the world will get back to normal. For now, take control of your life while knowing the rest of the world is struggling, too. Eat foods that are good for your mind and body. Exercise, even if it’s to put another thing on your list to stay busy. If alcohol leads to eating an entire pizza, maybe cut back some. Please hydrate. The battle to control your weight is in your hands. Don’t let weight gain during self-isolation deter you — see it for what it is and shred those extra pounds.
Previously published on medium.com and is republished here under permission.
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