Updated: May 27, 2020

Stuck in the house? Feeling sluggish? Activity levels slowed? Motivation decreased? Perhaps it’s the added responsibility of children along with that full time job?

Regardless of your current situation, weight gain remains a big concern and the idea of stepping onto the scales once the ban has been lifted is a terrifying thought for many.

So what’s the deal then? Do we just succumb to this new normal? Adopt the “Diet Starts Post-Quarantine” mantra? Accept that gaining the Quarantine-15 is just an inevitable part of our new norm?

Yea, sure. That’s an option.

However, if you’re not looking to re-emerge into public with a little extra love around the middle, here’s some practical ways to keep those added pounds at bay:

Body Balance:

1. Limit alcohol: This should come as a surprise to no one. Alcohol is high in calories (and sugar). Here’s some booze stats to put it into context:

  • 12oz Budweiser: 150 calories

  • 6oz glass of red wine: 160 calories

  • 1.5oz shot of vodka: 97 calories

  • 1.5oz shot of Baileys: 140 calories

  • 355mL Whiteclaw: 100 calories

  • 12oz Angry Orchard Cider: 190 calories

You don’t need to nix the booze completely (because, hey! It’s quarantine. Mamma needs a cocktail) but if you're looking to cut calories, limiting the quantity is your best bet. Maybe you opt for one glass of wine per night, not a bottle or have your vodka with a side of soda water instead of coke?

2. Meal prep: Ever heard the saying, “fail to plan, plan to fail”? This couldn’t be more relevant when it comes to food choices. If you don’t spend time mapping out snack and meal ideas, you’ll likely revert to quick and easy alternatives (Doritos for dinner sound familiar?) Plus, this extra effort means you’ll likely use all that food you waited outside a grocery store to purchase. (gotta make those trips count).

3. Drink more water: If you haven’t heard it before, you should be drinking half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day (so if you’re 150lbs, drink 75oz of water). The more water you drink, the more hydrated you stay and the more you trick your mind into believing you’re full (and not that you need another Twix bar.) Oftentimes we think we're hungry when in reality, our poor little quarantined butts are really just dehydrated.

4. Snack better: Mindless snacking is an easy way to pack on the pounds. Remember that time you were only going to have two Oreos? (No, just me?) Filling your home with quality snacks means you’ll make better decisions. Remember, not all calories are created equal. One mini Twix bar has 50 calories where one standard apple has around 52 calories. Need some healthy substitutes? You got er’.

  • Veggies and hummus

  • Sliced apple (I add cinnamon) and peanut butter

  • Ants on a log (please tell me you had this as a child!) Celery with peanut butter and raisins

  • Baked plantain chips and guacamole

  • Protein balls (tons of quick recipes online)

  • Hard boiled eggs (I add salsa, hot sauce and pumpkin seeds)

  • Plain greek yogurt and berries

  • Kale chips

5. Eat more veggies: I could live off fruit. Give me smoothie bowls every day, baby! Trouble is, while it is natural, fruit is still particularly high in sugar. Limiting fruit intake in favour of a veggie alternative is a great way to curb the carbs. If you’re a fan of the frozen fruit, go for mixed berries as opposed to a fruit blend. Berries are lower in sugar than other fruits (say, bananas, mangos or guava). As a gentle aside, if you’re choosing between chips or grapes, fruit is 10x better than the processed alternative.

6. Ditch the processed foods: If you don’t know what the ingredients on a package are, neither does your body! Sure, meals in a box are convenient but they're also full of preservatives, additives, sugar and salt. As a general rule, food shouldn’t require a label or ingredients list. Try shopping at the perimeter of the grocery store and only stock up on things that are whole and complete (fruits and veggies.) Then take your butt home and chop those peppers for tomorrow's stir fry.

7. Freeze your food: Why not make a double batch of chili or your favourite snack? By making large batches of food in advance, you’ll always have something on hand when you’re in a time crunch. You can also freeze your fruits and veggies to extend their shelf life. Frozen spinach is a great addition to a morning smoothie. Not only does it blend well, there's literally no tastes once you add in your berries.

8. Overnight oats: Hello morning time saver! Throw rolled oats, cinnamon, cacao, chia and hemp seeds, goji berries and almond milk (or a milk of your choosing) into a mason jar. Add just enough milk to soak the oats. Slap on a lid and pop it into the fridge. Come morning, you’ve got a tasty (and healthy) breaky ready to go. I love to top it off with peanut butter, Brazil nuts, berries and cacao nibs. Check out some overnight oat recipes online and get creative!

9. Sleep: Sleep for weight loss? You betcha. Check out a few reasons why you should be opting for some extra Z’s:

  • A major review found that short sleep duration increased the likelihood of obesity by 89% in children and 55% in adults

  • Sleep deprivation will actually dull activity in the frontal lobe of the brain. The frontal lobe is in charge of decision-making and self-control. (less self control means more mindless snacking and poor food choices.)

  • Researchers at the University of Colorado found that one week of sleeping about 5 hours a night led participants to gain an average of 2 pounds.

  • Sleep deprivation changes what foods you’re most interested in eating, creating more intense cravings for fat and sugar-laden foods

  • Sleep deprivation can affect both sexual arousal and sexual function, in both men and women, resulting in less pleasurable, less frequent sex.

  • Research shows that sleep deprivation interferes with collagen production and can weaken the integrity of the skin. This leads to a less youthful appearance and premature aging.

  • Some studies on sleep deprivation have found that a large portion of the excess calories were consumed as snacks after dinner

  • A lack of sleep can cause daytime fatigue, making you less likely and less motivated to exercise.

Bottom line, the less you sleep, the more weight you gain, and the more weight you gain, the harder it is to sleep. So take your tired self to bed half an hour earlier tonight. Maybe skip the bedtime Instagram scrolling. Pick up a book or pop on a podcast and turn in early. Your body (and waistline) will thank you!

10 Exercise: Big surprise, staying fit means staying healthy (and keeping down the pounds.) I know quarantine poses crazy challenges to staying active (especially if you have kids and are a single parent.) I suggest getting up 30 minutes earlier than your little humans and doing a light weight routine. Pinterest and YouTube are great sources for home workouts. No weights? No problem! Fill a backpack up with books and do your squats and lunges. Do a few lady push ups (or regular ones if you’ve got more upper body strength than me). Try to choose an exercise that feels both fun and challenging. More importantly, be consistent. If Monday, Wednesday and Friday are your chosen days, challenge yourself to be accountable. Better yet, get on a Zoom call with your girlfriends and workout together. Group motivation is a great way to stay on course.

**A final note on exercise: if you can’t commit to a regular routine because life is crazy right now, that’s totally fine! Abs are made in the kitchen. What you put into your body is far more important than your step count (though both are recommended.) So be kind to yourself. Workout when you can, meal prep when it’s possible. Do whatever you need to do to take care of you!

Quarantine is tough. Some weeks have flown by while others have felt like waking up in an alternate universe where the same ten minutes are repeated for an eternity. No matter what life is throwing at you, I hope you’re staying safe, finding a smile through the frustration and finding ways to feel grateful for the small miracles in your days. I hope the above 10 tips give you the refresher you need to avoid total body anarchy and you emerge from isolation in high spirits and incredibly pumped to go out for dinner and have someone else worrying about the cooking. Stay safe, ya’ll.

With love and light.






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