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10 Ways to Keep Your Weight Down While Staying Safe at Home

April 22, 2020

You’re home, where snacks are close and the urge to bake a different treat each day can be strong, but it’s not the time to overindulge and gain the Quarantine 15.

Much like the Freshman 15 plaguing first-year college students, weight gain is possible as we stay home and seek comfort in food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Pattern and balance are two very important concepts with healthy eating,” said nurse practitioner Peter Ford, a medical weight loss specialist at the Hartford HealthCare Surgical & Medical Weight Loss Center. “First, maintain a healthy baseline metabolism by distributing food throughout the day. And, understand the balance between proteins, fats and ‘good’ carbohydrates. We need them all as a part of a healthy diet.”

Here are 10 other tips to manage your weight – or even lose some – during this time.

  1. Make a plan. Write and post a menu for the week so the family knows what to expect. No need to be inflexible, but planning helps you make healthier choices and lowers the risk of obesity, according to research in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
  2. Make a schedule. While we’ve lost much of our daily structure, take some back by setting times to eat and snack each day. That helps you avoid grazing, boredom eating and bingeing, all of which are diet pitfalls.
  3.  Snack wisely. Trade processed snacks for whole foods like nuts, Greek yogurt, fruit and hummus, which contain protein and fiber to keep you feeling full between meals.
  4. Control portions. American food portions are out of control, but it’s easy to trick your brain into thinking smaller servings are enough. Just give yourself less for one day and notice the difference the next.
  5. Don’t confuse stress with hunger. Stress fools the body into thinking it needs sugary snacks. Stress boosts levels of the hormone cortisol, while sugar suppresses it, leaving you feeling calm. Understand the connection to resist sweets when anxious.
  6. Eat mindfully. By chewing slowly and paying attention to the food, you will feel more satisfied. Tuning into your body lets you feel full so you stop eating.
  7. Stay busy out of the kitchen. It’s too easy to grab cookies or chips while passing the cupboard. Find a place somewhere else in the house to read or craft. Better yet, head out for a walk or bike ride.
  8. Drink water. Staying hydrated helps you feel full, boosts your metabolism to burn fat and improves insulin sensitivity.
  9. Move. Head out for a family game of basketball in the driveway or follow a workout video. Even three or four short bursts a day will burn calories and help fend off weight gain. The added bonus is that exercise reduces stress and anxiety.
  10. Catch enough Zs. When you don’t get enough sleep, the hormones controlling your hunger are disrupted and you have less desire to exercise. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

Not feeling well? Call your healthcare provider for guidance and try to avoid going directly to an emergency department or urgent care center, as this could increase the chances of the disease spreading.

Need to see your doctor? New Patient? For more information about Hartford HealthCare virtual health visits, click here.

Click here to schedule a virtual visit with a Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent care doctor.

Stay with Hartford HealthCare for everything you need to know about the coronavirus threat. Click here for information updated daily.

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