Gyms closed? Afternoon brownies calling? "Shelter in place" is causing a shake up in many of our health habits.
Much like the "freshmen 15" experienced in college, changes in eating and exercise habits during a "shelter in place" order may leave some people with unintended effects on the scale or in general health.
Here are some strategies to help avoid the Quarantine 15.
"These days it is harder than ever to be motivated to stay on top of your exercise routine," says Lisa Crowder, personal trainer at Franciscan Health Fitness Center Schererville. "It is so easy to fall into a depressed, lazy, lethargic mood each and every day as we wait out this pandemic until we can finally get back to our normal busy lifestyles."
Ways to keep active during a shelter in place include:
- Get outside for a walk
- Yard work
- Try online workouts posted by fitness centers on social media or YouTube. Franciscan Health Fitness Centers are using their real fitness instructors to deliver full at-home workouts with no equipment necessary. They have also partnered with the International Les Mills brand to deliver several free Les Mills classes you can view on your computer, smart phone, or even your smart TV's.
Put A Stop To Grazing
Store food immediately after serving yourself, suggests registered dietitian Kim Bradley of Franciscan Physician Network Weight Loss Specialists.
"Foods left out are too easily available to get back into," she said. "If you package up leftovers and refrigerate them immediately, and have them out of your visual field, you're much less likely to go back for additional servings."
Find New Activities
Does boredom trigger you to eat? Stay busy with other activities. Ideas to consider:
- Adult coloring books
- Word searches
- Online classes
- Language-learning apps
- Board games
Build A Schedule
Schedules don’t have to be relegated to Zoom meetings with the office team or e-learning sessions for school.
Making meal planning and preparation part of your routine can help prevent impromptu extra calories, Bradley said.
And planning to incorporate fitness into your day can help offset daily steps and other physical activity missing from your regular routine.
"Prepare yourself ahead of time on what activity you plan to accomplish," Crowder said. "For example, if you know tomorrow's weather is going to be sunny and nice, then plan to take your work out outside. Either go for a walk, a jog, or plyo-metrics in the yard. Set it up in your mind or write it down. Then set out your items to wear during the workout before you go to bed. If you would like to exercise to a video or online routine, lay out the DVD, or save it online as your favorite, download it and do whatever you can to get it ready to open up right away on your computer, phone, or smart TV."
While socializing with friends and family over a phone call or video chat can help you stay connected, reduce stress and boost your mental health, having a personal connection with others can provide another benefit for your waistline.
Find an accountability buddy to encourage fitness and discourage unhealthy eating habits. This person is one you make a commitment to for the action of diverting yourself from eating or speaking with them before starting to eat.
"If you are used to going to a gym to exercise with your friends, or you normally work out with a trainer to help motivate you, then do not hesitate to reach out to your people," Crowder said. "Chances are they are needing motivation back from you as well. Just because you cannot work out with the people that are normally in your classes or normally at the gym with you, doesn't mean that we have to stop relying on each other for support."
"Once you've completed your work out, no matter how long or short it was, take several moments to take in exactly how you feel," Crowder said. "Without a doubt your mood will be lifted, you will physically feel better, and you feel accomplished. Hold on to those feelings, perhaps write them down or snap a selfie of your post-workout glow. Use these things to look at when you are feeling less motivated."
"Remember it begins in the mind," Crowder said. "You CAN do this, and it won't last forever. How do you want to feel about yourself when life turns back to normal? Use that to help motivate you to stay active and not gain that Quarantine 15."
By Robbie Schneider
Social Media Manager