The Quarantine-15

Lockdown life has created a rather hostile environment for those battling against their body weight. More people have become less active, opting to get takeout food instead of cooking or going grocery shopping. The global pandemic adds an element of anxiety to the situation and is leaving citizens without a place to escape to and exercise. Those already struggling with weight are also generally having a hard time keeping off the pounds.

While many are equating the so-called “Quarantine 15” with the more well-known “Freshmen 15,” it is important to bear in mind that there are fewer correlations between the two than otherwise thought.

A general consensus gathered from Web MD confirms several mitigating factors in the way of maintaining an optimum weight for some. For one, diets have certainly been off kilter over the past several months. Between fast food, ample time for snacking, a new-found love for baking and cooking, residents all over the country have changed their eating and exercise habits significantly.

Carb-heavy foods, candy and alcohol intake have all increased significantly across the board. Stress eating can also be common during these uncertain times. Additionally, financial uncertainty, marital strain and general anxiety over the global pandemic are all reasonable explanations as to why people have been eating more and moving less.

The sudden sedentary lifestyle has more of an effect as well. Not only are most gyms and other exercise facilities closed to the public, folks aren’t going into work so those extra steps that would normally add up throughout the day are no longer a regular occurrence.

Fortunately, the polls over at Web MD also indicate that not everyone is gaining weight. Some folks have found plenty of ways to regain control and get back on track to a healthy lifestyle. Many have taken this time at home as an opportunity to cook healthy foods and workout regularly. Folks aren’t going out to eat as much these days either — bakeries and goodie shops aren’t as easily accessible as they have been in the past. Those subtle prompts to overeat aren’t there as much these days.

With COVID-19 being the temporary normal, there are actually a few things to keep in mind when trying to lose weight or keep the weight off.

• Switching up the at-home office — if working from home means the office is in the kitchen, move the space to somewhere else. Structure and schedule are important during this time. And don’t open the fridge before 9 a.m. or after 8 p.m.

• Spend some time outside! Even if it’s only for 15 or 30 minutes, time outside during these beautiful New England summer days will help. Have a cup of coffee on the back deck in the morning, take a break and do a quick yoga session in the afternoon; being outside has been known to release stress and curb appetites.

• Give easy meal planning a shot or try grocery shopping healthier — cheaper options like fresh/frozen fruits and veggies, canned goods, whole grains. Shop a week in advance and eat before the shopping trip so the junk food won’t end up in the shopping cart. Keep the meals simple and healthy, and plan ahead to optimize money and time.

• Above all: keep the mindset positive! Don’t get discouraged if the results aren’t there right away. Stick to a healthier lifestyle with good food choices and keep the confidence there. Now is a great time to lose the weight, and there are plenty of things that can be done at home to help stay with a healthy, happy narrative. Reaching out for help never hurts, either! Telemedicine is on the rise these days, and a quick virtual meeting with a dietician couldn’t hurt.

Eating healthy and exercising regularly does not have to seem like a difficult task that can’t be easily accomplished. Not only can it be fun and proactive, if you switch up the sedentary lifestyle, it can bring more energy and life to you and your family. Simple opportunities like cooking up fresh new foods typically deemed unhealthy (burritos or homemade pizza, etc.) can be a lot healthier if made right in the kitchen at home; it just takes some time and dedication.

Think of the long-term effects of eating healthy… longer life, more energy and confidence are great gains in the seemingly never-ending weight battle. Now is as great a time as ever to buckle down and be proactive about switching it up; there aren’t often a lot of opportunities in life where there is extra time to really dedicate to changing an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. Take some chances and try it out — the results will arrive!