Don’t be alarmed if the surge in the COVID-19 cases is not the only curve that hasn’t flattened. Gaining unwanted curves — in the hip, belly, and arm — during the home quarantine is understandable. But while some weight loss consultants suggest keto dieting and cosmetic changes, you can regain your pre-quarantine body without necessarily turning to drastic moves. At least, not for now.
When you’ve been stuck at home the past half year and have developed a routine that’s comfortable for you (though unhealthy), a drastic change could get you sick instead of improving your health. And now isn’t a good time to have a medical emergency. Instead, make gradual changes to your habits until you’re ready to make major ones. Here are a few dos and don’ts at home.
- Drink more water– A half liter of water helps burn 24-30 percent more calories within an hour after drinking. Drinking water first thing in the morning or before each meal also results in that full feeling, which helps lessen food consumption and calorie intake. So, while you’re taking in fewer calories, you’re also burning more from simply drinking water.
- Maintain an eating schedule– When you’re working at home and managing the household, forgetting to eat is possible. If you keep a meal schedule that the entire family follows, you can make sure that everyone eats at the right time, and no one ends up overeating from hunger.
- Have more fruits and vegetables on your table– Quick grocery trips and bulk buying characterize pandemic food shopping. If you tend to fill your cart with items that would last a week or more (in other words, not fresh), stop! Balance your non-fresh purchases with fresh fruits and veggies. You don’t need much – US dietary guidelines recommend 2 to 2.5 cups of vegetables per day and 1.5 to 2 cups of fresh fruit per day – but you need them. They’re also low-calorie.
- Choose healthy snacks – Instead of supermarket chips and soda that are full of salt, refined sugar, and additives, stock up on nuts, berries, olives, low-fat/low-salt crackers, and dry cheese. Squeeze fresh juices, blend a smoothie, or drink a glass of low-fat milk.
- Exercise or move more – You don’t need to lift weights or run around the block a hundred times; you only need to get your butt out of the couch and walk around the house, go up the stairs, do household chores, gardening, whatever. Just don’t sit down the whole day.
- Overconsume refined carbs– Refined carbs are part of the energy-giving carbohydrate food group, but has fewer nutrients because of the refining process. They are easy to digest, so you tend to eat more. Examples of these carbs are white bread, flour, pastries, breakfast cereals, pasta, cakes, and common snacks. Unfortunately, they’re also the easiest to stock up.
- Lose sleep – Studies have revealed that people who don’t get enough sleep are 55 percent more likely to become overweight or obese. The reason is lack of sleep affects the fluctuations of your appetite hormones, so sleep-deprived people have no control over their appetites. Low energy from lack of sleep also makes you compensate for it by turning to food for energy.
- Binge on processed foods– You probably know by now that processed food, like sausages, canned beans, instant noodles, and ready-to-eat mac-n-cheese, are high in sugar, salt, and fat. Because you’re home most of the time, prepare home-cooked meals more. You can control the salt and sugar that go into your recipe, and you can use your natural spices to enhance the taste of the dish.
- Use big plates – Studies found that people tend to fill their plate – no matter what the size of the plate is. So if you have bigger plates at home, chances are your family is also consuming larger servings of food. A report published in The Guardian stated that the sizes of plates in the past were smaller, leading to the conclusion that plate manufacturers might be causing us to eat more. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t adapt our serving size to the size of the plate. Eat only the ideal portion.
Working at home or being home most of the time is no excuse to be negligent with your body. As you continue to be vigilant with the coronavirus disease, so should you be alert to other health conditions that could creep in. Start by changing unhealthy habits at home, and you can flatten another unwanted curve.
Meta title: How to Flatten the Curve (You’ve Gained) during the Lockdown
Meta description: If you see bulges in your body, you’re not alone. Weight gain is inevitable when staying at home. Here are little lifestyle changes you can make to lose weight.