The pandemic has been going on for nearly a year now and, although a lot has changed since then, the end is still very far away. By the first quarter of 2021, the United States has started its nationwide vaccination program, but new strains, one of which is far more contagious, are spreading really fast around the world. Likely, things will not go back to how things were for a little more while.
People last year locked themselves indoors to wait out the public health crisis. The sporting equipment went into custom storage sheds as the world shelter in place to keep themselves and their loved ones safe from the virus that causes COVID-19. Most probably thought that the pandemic, or at least the restrictions, would only be around for a couple of months. However, unfortunately, the illness is still very much around and continues to be a threat to the public.
And, as a result of having a sedentary lifestyle throughout the past year, many found themselves gaining weight.
The Quarantine 15
Many Americans have reported acquiring a couple more pounds in the past year. In fact, one report says that at least 71 million Americans have gained weight during the pandemic. Another says 22% of the adult population in the U.S. has seen the needle of the scale move forward significantly.
This phenomenon, people have already nicknamed “quarantine 15” and “COVID-15.”
It is not and should not be an issue if a person has gained weight in the past year. The entire world went through a highly-stressful event where millions have lost their lives. There are far more important things to worry about than a few extra inches added to your waist.
However, it has affected the self-esteem of many people. About 52% of Americans say that they feel down about their appearance because of their weight gain.
It also becomes a concern if it is affecting the physical health of those affected. Stress can make a person crave high-calorie but nutritionally empty foods. With the accessibility of fast food through delivery, it would not be a surprise if the weight gain of a portion of the population is attributed to unhealthy eating.
The weight gained during lockdown can be reversed in various ways. Vaccines are being rolled out and, at some point in the future, the public will be able to venture outside their doors safely. Use the next couple of months to shed the pounds you gained by doing these things below.
Trick Yourself Into Working Out
With people remaining indoors, there are not a lot of opportunities to exercise. Add to that the psychological and emotional toll of living through a pandemic which can make a person melancholic and without the motivation to move out of their beds and couches.
However, physical activity is still important not just to improve your appearance but to ensure that your body is ready in case you encounter the virus.
One expert recommended a trick that will make you exercise every day. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Emmaline Rasmussen, a dietitian, and holistic wellness coach, said that putting on your workout clothes and stepping outside your door alone can push you to move.
If you are not in the mood to exercise, tell yourself that you can always go back in if you really do not want to run that day or you can stop when you get tired. She said that nine times out of 10, you will work out.
The hardest thing about doing physical activities is starting. Sometimes, you just need to begin the exercise to find the motivation.
Another trick is to do the sport you truly enjoy. Many outdoor sports are relatively safe (except basketball or football), so it would not be a problem to take your equipment out of storage.
Ask Yourself Why You Eat
During quarantine, time does not feel real. It blends together to the point that, often, you do not know that it is time for you to eat.
Part of the problem is losing your everyday routine. You do not know that it is lunchtime, for example, because you woke up and went straight to the living room to watch Netflix.
Make an effort to eat on time by creating your schedule throughout the day. Set your alarm for noon and eat your lunch and dinner.
Moreover, in between meals, when you find yourself reaching for a snack, ask yourself if you are really hungry. Many people eat out of boredom, not because they need to.
In addition, prepare snacks that are healthier. Cut up fruits and veggie sticks (if they are something you enjoy) beforehand. If you feel like you want to have unhealthy snacks, go for these healthier options.
Most importantly, be kind to yourself. The pandemic has been tough for everyone and everyone has their own ways to cope with the collective trauma we all have been going through for a year now. Do not mind the extra 15 pounds on the weight scale.