One of the most prevalent health problems in the U.S. is obesity. In 2018, there were approximately 93.3 million obese adults over the age of 20.
Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating this already huge health problem. Because people are sheltering in place, their physical movement has greatly decreased. Also, stress is one of the causes of excess weight gain. Due to the stress brought by the pandemic, more people are less willing to stay active and eat more than they should. What’s even more alarming is that overweight and obesity are risk factors of COVID-19.
If you’re struggling with weight loss during the pandemic, know that it’s normal and you’re not alone. And it’s not too late to turn things around. Here are some ways to help you shed your quarantine weight and live healthier:
The most obvious and most important thing you need to do to lose weight is to exercise. Regular exercise can boost your metabolism so that you can burn more calories.
Even if you can’t go to the gym (some have opened, but it’s still a huge risk), you can work out at home. There are many workout videos on YouTube that you can follow if you don’t know where or how to start. Also, you might want to choose a corner in your home and make it your workout space. Having a dedicated space can become a motivating factor. You can also take a walk or run for 20 to 30 minutes every day. Just make sure that you wear a mask and follow social distancing protocols to keep others and yourself safe.
Diet always comes with exercising in a weight loss journey. You need to eat healthier so that you can effectively lose weight. You need to avoid sugary food and drinks and choose healthier options like fresh fruits, greens, and lean protein. One way to push yourself to eat healthier is y cooking your own meals. And not only will this help you shed some pounds, but you also get to improve your cooking skills.
If you’re unable to always cook fresh meals because of your busy schedule, consider preparing your meals in advance. For example, you can dedicate the weekend to planning and cooking your meals for the next five days.
Write a Food Journal
Keeping a food diary can also assist you in your weight loss journey. In your food log, you will log everything you eat and drink. This record will help you understand your eating habits and make adjustments to your diet to improve your weight loss. The trick here is to log your meals after you eat them so that you don’t forget them and make your record as accurate as possible.
And don’t worry because keeping a food log wouldn’t take much of your time. In a 2019 study, participants who had to keep a daily food log only spent 23.2 minutes per day during the first month. In the sixth month, the time even decreased to 14.6 minutes per day.
Get Adequate Sleep
Many issues arise from inadequate sleep. Many studies have found a strong link between poor sleep and weight gain. For example, sleep deprivation results in increased food intake. Also, lack of sleep increases the levels of hunger hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin. As a result, you’ll feel hungry more often and eat more than you should. You’ll also feel tired more often if you don’t get enough sleep. So you’ll be less likely to stick to your exercise routine.
Thus, you need to make an effort to get at least eight hours’ worth of sleep. Consider sticking to a strict sleep schedule. For instance, if you choose to go to bed at 10 PM, you need to go to bed by 10 every night. You might consider setting a reminder ten minutes before to wrap things up and prepare for bed.
It’s also important that you reward yourself in your fitness journey. Besides, rewards are great motivators. When you achieve several milestones, you might consider going on a vacation. For example, you can rent a boat for yourself and your family and have some outdoor fun. Or you can go simpler and order food you’ve been craving for or get new workout clothes.
Losing weight is never easy. But if you’re really determined and stay committed to your goal, you will surely succeed. You need to make a few changes in your lifestyle, such as staying active, eating healthier, and getting enough sleep.