In mid-March when most of America closed their economy, many of us shopped and prepared for possible armageddon. Ok Maybe not armageddon, but we equipped our homes in preparation for staying in doors for the coming weeks, which in many cases turned to months. We bought lots of food and drinks, toilet paper (causing a national shortage of TP), paper towels, etc. But let’s not forget the most trivial purchase of all, “quarantine snacks”. Many of us bought snacks that we love, lying to ourselves that it was for the kiddos, sounds familiar? The one thing that we didn’t prepare for was weight gain during quarantine. As the weeks went by, I read posts saying “I’ve nearly eaten all the quarantine snacks, and I’m only one week in! Weight gain during quarantine became a real problem for some. Is there anyway this could’ve been prevented? For many it was bound to happen while having so much food on hand.
Disordered eating is a real issue, and a challenge that many face throughout their day. Having everything you like on hand could cause some to lose control and break their diets. Or cause some to binge eat. For anyone, having certain foods in the house could possibly cause turmoil in their ability to control themselves. However, for someone struggling with an eating disorder this turmoil is much greater, and thus has a greater chance of causing a disruption in their control.
Preventing weight gain
Sometimes just taking the right precautions can lead to great success. Although we have already gone through months of quarantine. I know some people are still struggling with making the right decisions. I’d like to give you a few simple pointers you can apply the next time you go to stock up on groceries. Hopefully, these tips will allow you to laugh in the face of weight gain during quarantine.
Disclaimer: I’m not a nutritionist, or disordered eating specialist. However, I have a genuine love of healthy eating and desire to stay healthy and fit! hint: I personally use some of these same thought processes when shopping, and storing groceries!
Out of sight, out of mind:
In my case, I know that there are certain snack foods I have to keep out of sight. As a result I don’t buy them, and refrained from buying them during quarantine. If you don’t have them on hand you’ll be less likely to seek them. You’d have to put much more effort into going out to the store to buy them. More than likely, you won’t.
Another way to practice out of sight out of mind, is by keeping foods out of reach. What I mean by this is storing certain trigger foods outside of the house, such as in the garage, or even the basement if you have one. It might sound silly, but I promise, it works. It’s actually a strategy I use in my house.
Individual servings help with control:
Serving size and calories count, and the calories will add up. Buying individual serving bags might not be a cost effective option. However, it is definitely a safer option for people who struggle with overeating. A few examples include Snyder’s 100 calorie pack pretzels, Nabisco or Keebler individual cookie packs are usually 120-140 cal/pack. Individual serving packs of crackers are another option. They might not seem like a lot, but it’s really a good alternative to buying the larger packaging. Especially if you have children and can’t completely exclude cookies and crackers off of your shopping list. Quaker makes mini rice cakes, they’re yummy and come individually packaged. The savory flavors are only 80cals/pk.
Simple food swaps
Exchanging some of your favorite snacks with lower calorie options would surely help decrease weight gain during quarantine. Such as baked potato chips instead of regular potato chips, Baked= less calories. Popcorn can replace any type of chip. Since popcorn is a lower calorie food, for the same amount of calories as a bag of chips you can have a lot more popcorn. Roasted seaweed are also great for a low calorie crisp snack. Frozen yogurt is a good exchange for Ice Cream. However there are also low calorie ice cream brands where the entire pint is only 270 calories. I can vouch for the frozen yogurt, but I have yet to try the lower calorie ice cream options. ( I’ll update once I try it out.)
Gelato is another good swap for ice cream, but it has to be real authentic gelato. Gelato is not as heavy as ice cream, it’s made using less cream than Ice cream, which is why it’s less caloric. My number one swap for store bought ice cream is homemade Gelato. You get to control the ingredients, which is my favorite part. It can be sweetened however you like, less sugar, artificial sweetener, 50/50 blends, flavored syrups, or low calorie syrups. You’re allowed to make whatever flavor your heart desires! And Guess what guys? You can even experiment with different milk alternatives, such as almond, oat, coconut, or rice milk. This will lower the calorie count even more.
Get up and exercise
During these times of uncertainty it’s important to keep our minds occupied, with positive feelings and thoughts. Exercise is known to cause a release in positive endorphins, which makes us feel good. Not to mention the positive effects it has on our heart, muscles, and joints. It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise, but something as simple as a long walk can be very beneficial for your heart. Walking is also great since it doesn’t require any equipment, only will and a little motivation. Since schools are still closed, and for some of us will remain that way throughout the 2021 school year, might as well take those kiddies out with you. (If you have children), if no children, take your significant other, if no sig other, take your pet, if no pet, just take your headphones, and enjoy some lovely sounds while you strut your stuff!
Personally, I bought a little cheap stair stepper, and it has changed my life! You may think I’m being dramatic, but it really has been an amazing machine. I can wake up early in the mornings, and get 20-30 mins on my stepper and it’s a great way to start my day. You can even set goals, to increase your cardio time, my goal is to make it to 60min on my stepper. This was actually my goal (60min on stair-master) when I started back going to the gym, right before the pandemic hit.
We are all going through something during this time of uncertainty. It’s important to remain emotionally strong during these times. Eating better will help us feel better. Exercise is truly the answer to making it through the day for many. How are you coping during these times of uncertainty? I’m interested in hearing how others are coping with the possibility of weight gain during quarantine/lockdowns. Or maybe the weight gain has already occurred. With a little willpower and motivation, you can surely turn it around!
Comment below and let me know how you’ve been coping!