With our “stay at home” practices that have truly been helping our precious NEK stay strong and healthy all the way around, you might notice that individually you are getting a little “round,” yourself. While cooking at home may be fun and saving you money and needless trips out to the store, it can also add a little extra weight around the middle and perhaps all over. This is what many people are calling the “Quarantine 15,” which is an offshoot of the “Freshman 15,” in reference to the weight that some students gain when they go off on their own for the first time.
If you have been living in sweats and pajamas, we do recommend trying on real pants with a zipper every now and then just to “check-in.” If you notice they are a little tighter don’t panic, and if they aren’t zipping at all, you might have joined the “quarantine 15” club! This type of weight gain happens when we consume more calories than we are burning off which makes sense in many of our situations. But before you just blame the pandemic, let’s look at how you can stay fit and healthy all “stay at home” season long.
If you notice that it’s time to lose the extra pounds, it’s ok. The first step is getting realistic about where you are right now and where you want to be. Think about how you feel your best. What gives you the most energy? What activities do you want to be able to do? Why would losing weight be meaningful right now? Answering these questions is a great start to set your goal!
Of course anyone looking to lose some weight should really talk it over with their healthcare provider if they have any concerns, underlying conditions or medications. Our advice is for those who have been given the go-ahead. Once you have the go-ahead you need to realize that in order to lose weight you are likely going to have to change how you are eating and moving and even how you think about food and exercise. In general, many of us need to eat less and move more.
Simple ways to know what you are eating and how it is affecting you is to keep track. You could do this on paper, in your phone or even online. Once you get a sense of how much you are typically eating, you can look for areas to cut. If you are eating a diet full of lean meat, low-fat dairy, veggies, fruit and some whole grains it might come down to portions. If you are eating a lot of processed and caloric junk-food, you already know the culprit. In general to lose a ½ pound a week you will need to cut about 250 calories a day. For one pound a week that is 500 calories a day. That can be as easy as cutting your sandwich in half or just skipping those Girl Scout cookies you had in the cupboard. This should be a slow and steady process. No one should be eating less than 1,200 calories a day without the advice of a healthcare professional.
Moving your body and burning calories is so important because our bodies are made to move. Muscle is what helps keep us strong, independent, and burning calories at rest. If you are not doing any weight-bearing activities, now is a great time. You will not “bulk up,” or “gain muscle weight,” with just a couple strengthening workouts a week, so do not fear! Cardiovascular/aerobic exercise is safe for most people on most days of the week as well. This is walking, jogging, dancing and more. If you haven’t been exercising, start with walking, don’t just head out for a big run. Exercise is about taking small steps so you can feel successful and empowered. Little by little you will start to gain stamina and feel the rewards of this investment. Most people can do a physical activity just about every day, but always check in with a healthcare provider to be sure.
When it comes to losing extra weight it takes work and commitment. It also takes focus and energy. We know that being stressed and anxious is exhausting but we promise you that taking control of your own health will help you! Exercise has been stealing the cake (sorry to talk cake now) when it comes to managing stress and moods for decades. Proper nutrition can also help in many more areas than just weight management. Don’t let “being tired,” stop you from “being healthy.” If we have learned anything these last couple months- It’s that our health matters. Your health is so important that we have all been “staying at home,” just to keep each other from getting this awful virus. But you have to do your part too. The good thing is, even if your jeans don’t fit, you can still work out and cook healthy in your sweatpants until they do. You got this! Set those goals and crush them. Take this time to be a lean-mean fat-burning machine and drop that Quarantine 15!
Director Of The Wellness Center