Healthy Ways to Shed the "Quarantine 15"
Will the pandemic ever end? So many of us were affected by COVID in numerous ways. From social isolation, home schooling, and business closures to possible job losses or packing up our work life and bringing it home, life changed in ways we never thought possible. Mental health issues are at an all time high and things we loved to do seemed to slowly dissipate and motivation to do just about anything was lost. As mental health declined, our physical health seemed to follow. Individuals who were once active, always going to the gym or heading out to a relaxing yoga session, were now more likely to stay home. The overall general population was moving toward a more sedentary lifestyle and with that comes with some unwanted consequences. Hence the term “quarantine 15.”
The vast majority of Americans said the Covid-19 epidemic is a significant stressor for them, with more than 40% saying they've gained undesired weight since the start of the epidemic, according to the American Psychological Association's (APA) annual "Stress In America" report.
Some factors that influenced weight gain during the pandemic were:
- Less movement- it became “comfortable” and convenient to just stay home
- More snacking and convenience foods. Many are also trying to support local businesses by eating more takeout meals.
- More stress, which means an increase in stress-eating, binge-eating and disordered eating.
- Closure of fitness centers, yoga studios, and wellness centers
- Altered sleep patterns can promote weight gain
The stress associated with COVID can influence weight gain. The causes of obesity are multifactorial, and stress defiantly plays a critical role in increased weight. So often we turn to food to cope with stress. There are also metabolic changes associated with the “fight-or-flight syndrome.” When we experience stress, our bodies will sense it. This can cause the body to hold onto calories and hold on to them for energy needed to “run away” or “flight”.
Inflammation also plays a primary role in weight gain. It’s hard to establish if it’s the chicken or the egg. Does inflammation lead to more weight or does more weight lead to more inflammation? The answer is, probably, both.
Although the pandemic was a very trying time for most, the “COVID 15” is not a requirement and if you did put on a few unwanted pounds, it’s not too late to look and feel your best right now! Now is a perfect opportunity! Summer is here and the weather is beautiful! Fitness centers are beginning to reopen, yoga is underway and wellness programs are starting back up! Even if you are not totally comfortable being around crowds in a group fitness center, there are plenty of feel good activities right in your back yard!
Some extremely beneficial ways to get active while still avoiding the crowds
Walking - A 30-minute walk can burn around 150-200 calories
Running - It burns a lot of calories, may help you continue to burn calories long after a workout, may help suppress appetite and targets harmful belly fat.
Biking - Steady, moderate cycling burns about 300 calories in 60 minutes, but you can burn more than that if you increase the intensity
Hiking - Going up and down hills gets the heart pumping, creating a great cardio workout. Like most cardio exercises, hiking helps reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even some cancers. Hiking is a weight-bearing exercise, which builds muscle mass and helps prevent osteoporosis
As always, our diet also plays and extremely important role in the way we feel. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will work to promote feelings of overall wellness, including weight loss. Here are some foods that can help when you are looking to lose weight
- Leafy greens include kale, spinach, collards, swiss chards and a few others. They have several properties that make them perfect for a weight loss diet, such as being low in calories and carbohydrates and loaded with fiber
- Salmon- Fatty fish like salmon is incredibly healthy and very satisfying, keeping you full for many hours with relatively few calories. Salmon is loaded with high-quality protein, healthy fats and various important nutrients.
- Cruciferous Vegetables - Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussel sprouts. They are high in fiber and tend to be very filling.
- Beans and Legumes – lentils, black beans, and kidney beans tend to be high in protein and fiber which are two nutrients causing us to feel full.
- Avacados – loaded with healthy fats and contain high amounts of water and fiber
- Apple Cider Vinegar - Taking vinegar at the same time as a high-carb meal can increase feelings of fullness and make people eat 200–275 fewer calories for the rest of the day
- Nuts - They’re an excellent snack, containing balanced amounts of protein, fiber and healthy fats. Studies have shown that eating nuts can improve metabolic health and even promote weight loss Exercise and balanced nutrition are just some of the natural ways in which we can look and feel better.
Natural and holistic medicine can enhance our overall quality of life, allow us to feel our best, and accomplish things we never thought possible. By choosing a natural approach, you are eliminating the harmful side effects of pharmaceuticals and getting to the root cause of your symptoms. This may seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. Check out our website at nywellness.com or give us a call for a 30-minute free consultation.
It’s never too late to feel your best. Your body, and your mind, will thank you!