Afraid to step on the scale lately? Here’s how to get healthy habits back on track.
There’s no doubt you’ve spent more than your fair share of time at home over the last few months. And you’ve also likely experienced plenty of stress and anxiety as you face concerns about health and finances, disrupted routines and a “new normal” that feels anything but normal. All of these factors can add up to unintended weight gain.
Although it’s unlikely you’ve gained 15 pounds since the COVID-19 pandemic first reared its ugly head, you may still notice your pants feeling tighter lately (that is, if you’ve put on a pair of pants!). Whether you’ve gained a couple of pounds or more than you’d care to admit, now is as good a time as any to get back to healthier habits.
Keep in mind that the overall state of your health is affected by far more than whether you come into contact with COVID-19. In fact, maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy and exercising regularly are some of the best ways to stay healthier overall.
Here are 3 tips to help say goodbye to any quarantine weight you’re ready to get rid of:
- Get back into a routine. Even if you’re at home more than usual, it doesn’t give you license to hit the fridge all day long. Schedule meals and snacks and try to avoid eating in between. If it helps, make the kitchen an “off-limits” space except for designated meal times.
- Eat more mindfully. Many people tend to eat when stressed, bored, lonely, angry or fill-in-the-blank. Try to recognize when you’re eating due to hunger or emotion. Then find ways to address your mood other than food. Also pay attention when eating – sit down, dish out a portion and savor it. You’d be surprised by how much you can eat without really noticing.
- Find new activities. If you don’t feel comfortable going to the gym or have lost your motivation to work out, it’s time to find fun new ways to be active. This can be as simple as dancing around your house, enjoying a daily stroll with the kids, jumping on your bike to explore a quieter part of town or following an online workout. Not only will more activity help your weight, but it’s a great stress-reliever and improves your health in many other ways.
If you see the number on the scale go up, don’t panic. Weight gain can be caused by a number of factors, such as fluid retention, what you ate for dinner last night or muscle mass increase. While monitoring your weight can help you track if you’re adequately balancing energy intake and output, there are other ways to track your health. For example, you can set exercise goals or monitor how many fruits and vegetables you eat each day. It’s more important to focus on healthy habits than the number on the scale.
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Date Last Reviewed: May 21, 2020
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Nora Minno, RD, CDN