How to Manage the Quarantine 15
It’s safe to say that all our plans have gone a little bit off track this year. And for many of us, that includes fitness goals. Even if you weren’t exactly striving for a six-pack before quarantine, you might’ve found yourself carrying a few extra pounds. Let’s talk about the so-called quarantine 15 and what we can do about it.
What is the Quarantine 15?
“Quarantine 15” is a play on words that references the “freshman 15”–those extra 15 pounds that college freshmen are rumored to gain when they head off to college and start partying and drinking. Unfortunately, none of us have been doing much partying lately but, since the majority of the world has been under lockdown, many people have noticed weight gain.
But Why are We Gaining Weight?
Due to the drastic change in routine, many people have experienced weight gain. It’s common enough that the term was coined to explain our collective body changes. Because of lockdowns, you may have found your daily routine completely upended. Many people found themselves suddenly working from home, with all their typically frequented businesses closed until further notice. Suddenly, going anywhere, even the grocery store, became anxiety-inducing and dangerous. So how does this connect to weight gain? Well, most obviously, you’re not hitting the gym like you used to. The yoga studios, cycling classes, and gyms were shut down. Many people were forced to cut down their usual exercise, any many stopped completely. With some people feeling anxious about heading into stores, many people opted to order takeout and have it delivered. And once these things become habits, it’s really difficult to break them.
Less Daily Activity Means Less Energy Burned
So while the path to unintended weight gain is clear when you factor in closed gyms and more takeout, there are other more hidden causes of the quarantine 15. Aside from formal exercise, we’re all moving our bodies less overall. When you think about all the little ways you move and exercise throughout the day, it’s easy to see how working from home and stay in can impact your fitness. Many people went from active jobs, where they’re typically on their feet all day, to working at home on a laptop or being unemployed. That bit of daily activity really makes a difference in our overall health, and unexpected weight gain is not abnormal as a result.
Mental Health Has an Impact on Your Body
An important thing to talk about in relation to changing routines and weight gain is mental health. Even on our best days, we’re often quick to criticise our fitness and demand perfection from our bodies. The act of balancing a healthy mindset and a healthy body is a constant struggle. That struggle is increased tenfold during something as stressful as a worldwide pandemic. So it’s no wonder that many people have experienced this weight gain. The world is stressful and scary right now, and sometimes the best thing to cope is rest or food. It’s not ideal but it’s okay. We have to be willing to forgive ourselves for the allowances we made during this difficult time. The world is struggling collectively. And although weight gain may not be healthy for you, it’s understandable in these circumstances.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and taking care of yourself is the first priority. But if you’re looking for ways to change up your quarantine routine and return to something close to your former level of activity, we’ve got some tips and tricks to help you reclaim your quarantine in a way that serves your body, mind, and soul.
Tips and Tricks to Beat the Quarantine 15
One of the best things you can do for yourself during quarantine is to have patience, and try your best every day. In regards to fitness and keeping active, that means starting slowly if you’ve gone months off your regular routine or you’re starting from scratch. Don’t jump from zero to sixty and start working out 7 days a week. The goal is always sustainable, habit-forming choices that are healthy, not depleting. So maybe start by adding one workout a week, then two, then three, until you find a level of activity that suits you and makes your body feel good. Just by slowly increasing your level of overall movement, you’ll see results and weight loss.
Find Enjoyment in Cooking
Getting takeout delivered is one of life’s greatest pleasures. There’s nothing better than getting amazing food brough right to you with no effort. But that lack of effort, consideration, and knowledge of all the ingredients could be contributing to weight gain and unhealthy habits. Now, you don’t need to cut out takeout altogether, but maybe it’s time to discover–or rediscover–a love of cooking! Cooking at home can be so fulfilling, and is a great way to keep track of your food. Cooking gives you a general awareness of what you’re eating, which oftentimes if enough to push you to make healthier choices. Sign up for a produce subscription to discover new fruits and veggies, or start experimenting with new ways to use favorite ingredients. Protein powder pudding, anyone?
It’s Not All About Cardio
When stressed about weight loss, sometimes our instinct is to jump right into crazy intense cardio every single day. And while cardio is definitely part of a well-rounded fitness routine, it’s not the only thing to focus on. Especially when it comes to the mental recovery aspect of quarantine, it’s important to incorporate physical activity that replenishes you, aids in recovery, and keeps your body from becoming overtired. Things like yoga, walks around your neighborhood, or even physical household tasks like cleaning, reorganizing, or decorating. Mixing up the kinds of physical activity you do will not only help you regain your active lifestyle, but keep you happier, motivated, and bring back some normalcy. Reducing your stress is key to reaching your goals.
Get Advice When You Need It
Lastly, when you’re feeling out of control, out of ideas, and unmotivated, don’t be afraid to seek help and advice. Whether that’s calling a friend for a weekly video chat during a walk, calling your mom while you clean the house, or having your partner hold you accountable for living room workouts, lean on the support systems in your life. Or, if you’re looking for something more, consider getting the advice of a metabolic coach, who can help you achieve your specific goals according to your individual needs and body composition.
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