The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns and isolations have left an incredible number of people to self-medicate with some of their favorite comfort foods. And that's okay, comfort foods can help with our mental health, but the challenge comes with the inability to hit the gym whenever you need a little more wiggle room in your daily calorie intake.
This has resulted in millions of Americans picking up what has been dubbed the "quarantine 15". Whether you've picked up that extra 15 or 20, or even more, there are some ways that you can start to mitigate that and regain your pre-outbreak physique.
Losing Pounds in Lockdown
There is no one right way to start peeling pandemic pounds off. Instead, you will need to experiment a little and see what works for your nutritional and living situation. Remember, progress takes time, so don't expect results for a month or even a few.
Don't try to overhaul your entire life or lifestyle; that's the perfect way to get overwhelmed and "rage quit" a diet. Instead, make small, meaningful changes slowly that you can manage. For example, if you don't like veggies, don't make your fridge suddenly look like the produce aisle. Instead, try to incorporate one new veggie every week, or every other week, preparing it in a few different meals to see if you can make that change stick.
Be Okay With Healthy Shortcuts
It seems like everyone has been using the pandemic to sharpen their cooking skills with elaborate healthy meals. But don't feel like you need to follow suit if you're not feeling up to complex prep and cooking routines every night of the week. There are weight loss shakes that can provide an extensive amount of nutrition to your daily intake and be perfect for those with a busy schedule.
Make A Schedule, And Keep It
Even if you are working from home and have food at your disposal constantly, make a meal and snack schedule and stick to it. You don't have to plan everything you'll eat right now. Instead, just bracket some time meant for meals and snacks. This way, you won't forget to eat, and you won't get caught snacking early and often.
Hide The Booze
Liquor and beer are empty calories with no nutritional value or benefits. Additionally, alcohol will play havoc with your metabolism, sleep cycle, and even your appearance. You don't have to cut out alcohol entirely, but be mindful of when and how much you drink, and don't forget to log or track it.
Dress For Success
This one doesn't mean what you likely think it means. When you get up in the morning, make sure you put something on that makes you want to be active. This means that, while comfy, sweats and loungewear don't help foster motivation or activity.
For example, many people don't like to relax in jeans, so maybe throw on some jeans first thing and go for a morning walk, then grab the sweats when you're back.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Sometimes, we need help, and that's okay. However, if full-throttle DIY isn't your speed, consider using other methods that incorporate the benefit of others.
Leverage Roommates, If Possible
If you have a roommate and you are on lockdown or quarantined together, they may be just as interested in a fitness routine and diet as you. Having a partner for weight loss makes it so much easier and potentially even more fulfilling.
Even if they aren't interested in a diet, they may still be willing to help support you. For example, reminding you to eat or prompting you to think about that after-work beer.
There's An App For That
If you aren't looking for in-person human help, there are a ton of apps out there for both mobile operating systems to help you with your fitness goals.
Not only do many of them have the functionality to track calories and macros, but many of them also have social integration. This can let you get support and encouragement from others on your socials or who you connect with within the app.
Consider Additional Support
Sometimes we need a bit more of a support system, and we don't have the people in our lives to perform that function. Social media groups can be incredibly supportive, as well as reasonably informative. There may also be local fitness groups that hold socially distanced walks or bike rides that can be of great help.