After dealing with the anxiety over empty grocery store shelves, sleepless nights worrying about getting sick, parenting, and working simultaneously — if your pants feel tighter these days, you’re probably not alone. This time has been stressful, to say the least, and being stuck in your house without a normal schedule or daily structure can easily throw off your healthy habits.
Here are some weight management tips you can implement while you’re stuck inside.
- Even if you’re working from home right now, you’ve probably lost some of the structure to your daily life, including a disruption to your eating routine. You should try eating on a regular schedule. Keeping a structure to your day will ensure that you give your body the food it needs, and you won’t have to worry about grabbing something random throughout the day that ultimately won’t be satisfying.
- Rather than playing it by ear and walking into your kitchen to figure things out when you’re hungry, decide what you’ll eat ahead of time – like oatmeal for breakfast, a chicken salad for lunch. Try buying frozen bags of veggies and cans of beans, and keep pre cooked quinoa and brown rice on hand. These foods are easy to pair and having plenty of plant-based foods is associated with a lower weight.
- Help keep yourself from mindlessly eating by staying busy because boredom tricks the brain into thinking you are hungry. While it is easy to grab a snack each time you go into the kitchen, those frequent snacks can add up quickly. Keeping yourself busy allows you to be entertained by nonfood activities. Take your dog on a walk, start a new hobby, or even call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while.
- Studies have found that serving yourself smaller portions of food can lead to you eating less overall. Food portions have grown larger over the years, distorting the public perception of what is normal. A smaller serving size for one meal may help you retrain your brain to accept a smaller amount of food the next time you eat.
- You need to understand the link between stress and hunger. Emotional eating at this time is normal and to be expected – there is a lot going on. Eating sugar prevents the release of cortisol in the brain, which can help you feel calm. This sounds great, but this creates a cycle where you crave sugar when stressed. No one is saying you cannot have sugar, especially since totally restricting yourself from it will cause cravings. It does not need to take control of you.
- During this time, your gym is likely closed, and many people feel uncomfortable exercising outside. There are plenty of fitness workouts that are streaming online, and you should make sure you don’t need to overthink exercise. Whether it’s stress-cleaning your house (we’ve all done it), running up and down the stairs while bringing in groceries, or mowing the lawn. All these everyday activities offer the chance to move your body, get your heart rate up, and burn calories.
- Poor sleep habits have been shown to have a negative impact on our food habits. It disrupts the hormones that control feelings of hunger and feeling full. This can reduce motivation for physical activity. To take control of your sleep habits, you should try to keep them. This means you will need to manage your anxiety, which may be disrupting your slumber.
- When you lack sleep, you may be tempted to drink coffee throughout the day. Also, when you are stressed, you may be tempted to unwind for the night with a glass of wine. The issue is when you forget the most important way to hydrate our body: plain water. By drinking fluids throughout the day, you are keeping your belly a little bit full, which may result in less feelings of hunger. Staying hydrated throughout the day can also help with your energy level. Keep a thermal water bottle by your side and sip on water throughout the day.
- Indulging in unhealthy food is fine in the moment, but it’s not going to help you feel better as a long-term strategy. A lot of the food associated with the American diet is associated with a weakened immune system. These foods include those with saturated foods, added sugar, and sodium. Eating that pint of ice cream or a whole bag of potato chips isn’t doing your body any favors, especially probably already battling higher-than-usual stress levels. All of this combined suppresses your immune system. There are more constructive ways to cope. To help counteract the effects of short-term, acute stress, brainstorm things that bring you joy and ease stress. These things can be meditation, yoga, going for a walk taking a nap – anything but binge eating a bag of chips.