Ways to Manage Quarantine Weight Gain

Written by Dr. Veena Madhankumar and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team

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COVID-19 pandemic has changed everyone’s day-to-day lives. Working from home due to lockdowns and quarantine, stress, worry, and uncertainty due to the pandemic have resulted in emotional eating and weight gain. The other contributing factors to weight gain include people trying out various comfort food recipes to console them or remind themselves of a time when things were not this stressful. And with so much time to kill indoors, most of us choose to spend it watching TV or on the computer and also indulge in mindless snacking. Our exercise routines have been disrupted, and it is not safe to go to crowded parks for our morning walks.

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The term “Quarantine 15” is being used for weight gain during the quarantine period, which might sound cute, but it can have severe consequences on our health. In case you have gained weight during quarantine, do not consider yourself weak. Just spend some time focusing on these tips for weight loss.

1) Keep a Food Diary

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This might be the best time to start keeping a food diary. Anything and everything you eat should be entered in the diary, including every meal, midnight munchies, and drinks. You will be forced to eat healthy and low-calorie foods once you calculate the number of calories you consumed in a single day. You can also use various fitness and calorie counter apps for this purpose.

2) Plan Your Day and Meals

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Even though you are not leaving the house as often, you can still plan your day and meals. Making a schedule and sticking to it is the first step to develop healthy habits during these stressful times. Sleep and wake up at the exact same time daily, get dressed even if working from home, and take frequent breaks to walk around the house. Plan your meals for the week and take out time for meal prep. Some studies have linked meal planning to average body weight and improved diet quality.

3) Avoid Mindless Snacking

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It is easy to fall prey to mindless snacking when you are stuck at home and depressed. But keep your weight goals in mind and stay focused. The moment you find yourself standing in front of the fridge to fix a snack, make sure that you are hungry and not just bored or tired. If you are really hungry, then snack on something less than 150 calories. And if you are just bored, close the fridge and step away. Also, avoid eating directly from a bag of chips; instead, portion out your serving first.

4) Stock Your Pantry With Healthy Food

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Stocking your pantry with junk foods such as cookies, chips, and cakes will increase the risk of overeating, and you will end up eating a lot of calories. Staying focused and eating healthy is easier when your fridge is full of fresh fruits and vegetables. So the next time you go grocery shopping, do not forget to stock up on nutritious foods like vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and legumes. And get rid of all the junk.

5) Step Outside

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It might not be safe to go to the gym or the garden for a walk, but you can still stay active. Be innovative, and find creative ways to workout inside the house. Dance, do yoga, Zumba, aerobics, pilates, or any other exercise you like. You can also walk around the neighborhood, do some bodyweight exercises, etc. Any physical activity will help burn extra calories and also manage stress.

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