Covid-19 is still impacting our daily lives as we’re all abiding by the social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines set in place to help flatten the curve. This means that a large portion of the population are spending the majority or their days at home, working from home, home-schooling their children or dealing with the hardship of unemployment.
And, let’s face it…this is a very difficult time as our normal routines have been replaced and we are outside of our comfort zones. This is bad news since we are creatures of habit and find comfort in daily routines and schedules. In turn, this additional stress that we’re feeling may bring on or exasperate unhealthy habits that temporarily relieves discomfort. In particular, this often leads to stress-eating and comfort-eating. We’ve all been there and you’re not alone. Standing in front of the fridge or rummaging the pantry trying to stave off the feelings of stress, sadness, exhaustion or just plain boredom. Unfortunately, these are the times that we find ourselves reaching for refined sugars and carbohydrates. It’s that cycle of instant gratification and feelings of relief that will ultimately derail your progress and cause additional weight gain. This stress-eating cycle during self-isolation is resulting in unwanted weight gain and is so much on the rise that it is being referred to as the “Quarantine 15”.
It’s important to break through this difficult time and seek out activities and healthy habits that will provide you will comfort, stress relief and happiness. After all, the Covid-19 pandemic is temporary and your health, mind and body is ever-lasting and enduring.
Top tips to help avoid the “Quarantine 15”:
- Stay Active – It’s important to recognize that eating comfort foods or overeating in general acts on the reward centers in our brains, which is a response to stress and seems like an easy route. There are other healthy activities that can act on the reward center of our brains to help relieve stress such as exercise, dancing, singing, meditation and even physical touch. Start to incorporate activities that act on the pleasure center of the brain vs. eating.
- Eat Healthful Foods – Certain foods will elevate your weight loss efforts and keep you on track. Focus on eating whole foods, proteins and healthy fats. Eliminate refined sugars, grains and flours from your diet. These sugary items are highly toxic and cause a spike in insulin levels, which lead to weight gain.
- Plan Meals – It’s important to plan out meals, meal-times and food-prep. Look up recipes before grocery shopping and make a shopping list before leaving the house. Keeping ready to eat items on-hand will make a huge difference and help you stay focused. Don’t forget to stock up on healthy snacks such as protein bars, protein shakes and you’re favorite low-carb goodies.
- Get Enough Sleep – Sleeping is vital to keeping your mental health and well-being in check. It’s especially important to keep a good sleep schedule and stick with it. Being home more at this time may impact your sleep routine, so it’s important not to stay up too late and keep a good, nightly sleep schedule.
- Exercise – While exercise is not necessary for weight loss, it has many other health benefits to keep your mind and body healthy. As most gyms remain closed, there are many other ways to get your steps in. Many gyms are offering live home workouts and many popular streaming services such as You-Tube have an abundance of home workouts. Don’t forget that sometimes exercise is not about just setting aside an hour to workout. Many activities that we perform on a daily basis called NEAT (Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis) can have a bigger impact on your weight than traditional exercise. For example, just moving around a little more throughout the day, not sitting in one place for too long, or even standing instead of sitting all add up throughout the day and makes a difference in your health.
- Supplements/Medications – CBD Oil is another great aid that helps with stress, sleep and mood. The herb ashwagandha is also very helpful with stress relief. It’s a plant that has been shown to lower cortisol levels and treat many other ailments. Weight loss medication prescribed and monitored by your weight loss provider are also effective aids that help with suppressing the appetite, reducing cravings and helping patients keep on track.
- Stay Positive – A positive attitude can go a long way. Practice positive self-talk and try to push negative thoughts to the side. Don’t give in to the negativity or kick yourself when you’re already down. Be kind to yourself and others.
Ultimately, it’s important to keep your weight loss or weight maintenance goals in mind. Stay focused, positive and goal-oriented. And, if you’re following a keto lifestyle and are looking for some new recipes to try, Dr. Simonds’ Instagram, TheCasualKetoDoctor has many keto/low-carb recipes to choose from. Here’s just a few examples of the kind of recipes you can find there:
Garlic Butter Grilled Steak & Shrimp
I like to remind my patients to consume enough #protein on a daily basis. This looks like the perfect way to do it! Who else is with me?
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Grilled Chicken with Avocado Salsa
This recipe had me at avocado!
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Low Carb Keto Meatloaf Stuffed Peppers
These aren’t your ordinary stuffed peppers…these amped-up peppers are stuffed with meatloaf, cheese and bacon! The perfect trio of flavor.
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