Nutrition

How to Avoid Gaining Weight During Quarantine

Evidence Based Article đź“„
This article has been based on relevant and up-to-date scientific studies. Our writers are unbiased and objective and present the facts as they are known. Numbers in brackets within the article refer to sources included in the reference list at the end of the article.

Now that most of us have to stay home due to pandemic, eating has become a favorite activity.

Since we can’t visit gyms or run in the parks, chances are you’re also staying inactive the majority of your time at home.

Have you already noticed that you’ve start putting on pounds? That’s a warning sign that you need to take control of your body before things get out of hand.

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Check out these tips for those who don’t want to gain weight while staying home in quarantine.

1.Plan your day

Just because you’re staying home, it doesn’t mean you should stay in your bed or relax on your sofa all day long. Unfortunately, without a structure, that’s what you’ll end up doing, so you need to plan your day. Otherwise, each day will be the same and all you’ll keep doing is eating and spending your days and nights in front of screens.

Plan your days and give them structure. Wake up early, make your bed, move your body, cook healthy meals, read, and spend your time with your family.

2.Move your body

Rather than looking for an excuse for skipping your regular exercise routine, get up and move your body.

Even a 10-minute workout per day can make a difference in the numbers that come up on your scales.

There are many simple exercises you can do at home, including squats, lunges, push-ups, planks, side planks, burpees, dumbbell exercises (use water bottles if you don’t have dumbbells), standing shoulder press, skipping, etc.

When you don’t feel like doing formal exercise, try cleaning your house. The key rule during quarantine is to keep yourself moving – even if it’s just dancing.

3.Cook your own meal

Perhaps you stocked on many pre-made or frozen meals during the crazy pandemic grocery shopping days. Or, maybe you order food delivery.

Unless you order healthy meals, you might be increasing your calorie intake by eating takeouts. Pre-made, ready-made, and frozen meals are typically high in calories and processed ingredients that can trigger weight gain.

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According to a scientific review, eating ready-made meals is linked to increased abdominal obesity. Moreover, people who eat ready-made meals might not meet nutritional recommendations. (1)

Quarantine is a good time to experiment with healthy eating plans and come up with the one that will suit your needs, budget, and your family will enjoy.

4. Manage your stress

Stress has been the main culprit for weight gain and obesity for many years. (2) Unfortunately, we can’t avoid stress in our lives – whether psychological or physical – but we can manage it.

Living through a pandemic is bound to increase your stress levels and it’s difficult to avoid hearing or thinking about it. We can, however, try to limit the amount of time we spend on watching news or scrolling through Facebook or Instagram feeds.

Get yourself busy with household chores, reading, meditation, exercise, or cooking. If you have children, spend more time with them, playing some fun games.

Reducing your stress level is particularly important if you’re prone to emotional eating. Even though you might satisfy your strong emotions by eating, your body won’t thank you for it and you will only regret it later.

Have trouble controlling emotional eating? Try to at least control what you choose to eat. Keep fruit and veggies handy and keep any store-bought snacks and candies out of sight.

5. Leave your fridge alone

How many times do you open your fridge during the day? Fridge trips are popular activities right now, but this activity can turn into a serious problem called obesity.

Create a meal plan and limit your trips to the kitchen. Also, avoid cooking more food than your family or you can eat. Overeating is a bad habit that is easy to master and hard to quit, so don’t get into this habit.

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6. Get quality sleep

It’s tempting to stay up late and watch all the episodes of your favorite show till 3 or 4 am because you know that you don’t need to wake up early in the morning, but it comes with a price.

Sleeping-in drains your energy while staying up late encourages late night snacking. After all, you won’t be watching a movie without some snacks, right?

Go to bed at 10 pm or 11 pm to get quality sleep, which is vital to your body and your weight. Not only will you give your body enough time to refresh itself, you’ll also have more energy to exercise in the morning.

7. Arrange a pantry detox

It’s not the best time to throw away food. However, if your pantry is full of comfort foods and high-calorie and unhealthy snacks, you have a greater risk of gaining a lot of extra pounds.

The next time you go grocery shopping, avoid buying processed food. Instead, focus on healthy snack options like unsalted nuts and seeds, dried fruit, and vegan granola bars. After all, you can’t eat what you don’t have, right?

8. Stay hydrated

People often confuse thirst with hunger. The next time you think you’re hungry, try drinking a glass of water. In general, it’s recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water throughout the day.

Most importantly, starting a day with a glass of water (you can add a slice of lemon to it) is a natural way to speed up metabolism and keep your weight under control.

9. Increase your protein intake

Eating more protein can enhance your feelings of fullness, reducing your appetite and preventing overeating at your next meal. (3) Some of the healthiest sources of protein are black beans, chickpeas, quinoa, chia seeds, lentils, Greek yogurt, edamame, and tofu, among others.

10.Eat soups before meals

When you have difficulty drinking water before meals, consider having a bowl of veggie soup. Starting your meal with a soup can help to reduce your hunger and boost feelings of fullness, thus preventing overeating.

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According to one study, having a bowl of soup right before a meal reduced hunger and total calorie consumption from the meal by a whopping 100 calories (4). As an added bonus, vegetable soups are good for digestive health too.

11. Swap milk chocolate for dark chocolate

Milk chocolate is sweet and yummy and it’s easy to eat the whole bar without noticing it. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, is less sweet.

This kind of chocolate can help you fight your sugar cravings and diminish appetite. Be sure you eat dark chocolate with up to 85% cocoa, though.

This way, you’ll reap all the health benefits dark chocolate has to offer, including blood pressure control, reduced heart disease risks, and improved brain function, without being tempted to binge as you might be with the sweeter milk chocolate.

12. Increase your savings

Although we always knew we couldn’t predict what would happen tomorrow, pandemic has forced us to confront this at practical levels.  Rough times can come unexpectedly and we need to always be prepared for them.

As strange as it sounds, saving more money is one of the best ways to prevent weight gain during quarantine. It doesn’t mean that you should stay hungry, but trying to cut your expenses on processed foods and takeouts really helps. Create a meal plan, cook your own meals, and make your own healthy snacks. You’ll boost your health and your savings.

The final word

Self-discipline is crucial when you’re at home for a long period of time. Follow these tips and, hopefully, the numbers you see on your scales won’t be shocking ones.

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