The “Quarantine 15” has become a household phrase. With routines being upended and stress high nationwide, it’s easy to pack on a few extra pounds especially if you’re spending most of your time at home, and comfort food recipes are all over your Facebook feed. 

Nobody knows when the end to COVID lockdowns will come. Seeing as this is now the new normal, below are some tips of how you can reconstruct or create for the first time some of the healthy habits that we’ve associated with the “old normal”:

  • Change the story you tell yourself. Rather than ruminating about the ‘Quarantine 15,” take this as an opportunity to lose weight instead. If you catch yourself thinking of how unfortunate the situation is and how you are going to give up, make note to rebuild that thought pattern, and tell yourself, “This is a great opportunity for change. I can rise to the occasion. I’m going to be healthier and live longer because of the choices I’m making.”
  • Prioritize simple meals. Even though eating out at restaurants is now a rarity, this new life can still feel exhausting. At the end of a day, it may seem easier to order food. However, eating a simple, nourishing meal doesn’t mean it has to take a ton of time or effort. Focus on healthy staples, leave junk food off the shopping list, and shop smarter when going to the grocery store. 
  • Change your work setup. Don’t work in the kitchen or near food. If you are unable to not work near food, then set a schedule for yourself, such as you can’t open the fridge before 10:30 a.m. Give yourself a similar structure that you’d have while at the office.
  • Go outside. Improving your health doesn’t mean that you need to run five miles everyday. Studies show that even 20 minutes in nature reduces cortisol levels (your body’s stress hormone). When you get the urge to open the fridge and eat everything in sight, step outside for 10 minutes, stand on your porch, or even open your window. Whatever the case may be and wherever your location, distract yourself from eating with a good dose of nature. 
  • Meal plan. This new normal of quarantine means fewer trips to the grocery store for most of us. Take a good look at what food you have on hand, and take the time to build your meals around those ingredients. Your wallet will thank you, too!
  • Don’t be afraid to get help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and unable to get things under control by yourself, a consultation with a health coach may help. Everyone’s approach needs to be customized to their bodies, health, and lifestyle. Plus, getting help can make you more likely to succeed. Schedule a FREE virtual consultation with a Ketality health coach, and we’ll help get you on track to ensure you reach your goals and build a healthy lifestyle.

Some version of this new normal will likely continue for a while, so adjusting to this current environment in a positive manner is crucial. Whether it be two months from now or two years from now, emerging healthier in body and mind should be a goal for us all.

March 11, 2021 — Dr. Jason Olafsson