Quarantine weight gain is real, and so is the struggle to avoid it. In fact, the 38th Annual Meeting of The Obesity Society, which took place in early November, focused almost exclusively on the consequences of stay-at-home orders on people with obesity (which can make COVID-19 so much more dangerous). But one of the studies presented at that meeting raised an important issue that definitely merits more attention than it’s been getting.
What about people who were trying to lose weight before the pandemic began? Or the people who’ve gained membership to the Quarantine 15 club and want out? How are they doing with the weight loss?
Apparently, not so well. A full 69.6% of people are having trouble achieving their weight loss goals. So, what gives? Read on, and while you’re at it, consider adopting these 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time:
You’re eating just a little bit more than before
Research shows that regularly consuming as few as 10 to 50 calories per day, can work against your weight loss goals. And let’s face it, it’s easy to consume 10 to 50 more calories per day even under the best of circumstances. And circumstances such as these, which are definitely not best, have been linked to increased food intake, especially of high fat, energy-dense between-meal snacks.
So, what to do? Physician Leann Poston, MD suggests exercising what she calls “eating mindfulness” by taking a photo of everything you eat over the course of a day. Oh, and if it sounds scary? then you probably really need to be doing it.
Controlling cravings isn’t your strong suit
Not everyone living under lockdown finds themselves struggling with their weight. But why? A recent study suggests that some people are inherently better (or worse) at controlling the cravings that occur in response to stressful situations. The scientists behind this study point to genetic predisposition as a factor. Sports chiropractor, Alex Tauberg suggests the difference may come down specifically to how we respond to the stress hormone, cortisol, which can slow our metabolism while also making us crave comfort food.
Whatever process is at work, the solution, at least for now, appears to be adopting strategies for improved craving control. Here are 15 proven cravings-crushing strategies worth trying.
Stockpiling and boredom is a dangerous combination
Grocery hoarding, also known as “stockpiling,” makes a certain amount of sense during a pandemic. The problem is that having a lot of food around is a recipe for overeating. The boredom associated with lockdown only magnifies the problem, according to Jaya Jaya Myra, a natural health expert and author of Vibrational Healing, because it can lead to mindless eating.
Acupuncturist, Dr. Tom Ingegno offers a few simple hacks to circumvent “boredom-grazing” while keeping the kitchen well-stocked:
-Stick to a regular schedule, and that includes scheduling meals.
-Build self-care into your routine, which can include meditation, warm baths, or a hobby you can enjoy from home.
-Shop after you’ve already eaten, and stick to a grocery list.
Don’t miss these 11 science-backed mindful-eating tips.
You’re binge-watching too much
We all know binge-watching has increased during the pandemic. A recent study demonstrates the increase is even larger for people already dealing with obesity. While binge-watching is tempting, and it’s understandable we might want to use some of our newly spare time to catch up on a bit of culture, spending hours a day promotes a sedentary lifestyle, according to Brittany Robles, MD, an OB/GYN who is also a certified personal trainer.
“The more hours you sit per day, the less muscle activation you will have, and the fewer calories you will burn,” Dr. Robles explains. “Inactivity can lead to loss of muscle mass, decreases in metabolism, and increased risk of obesity.” So, what’s the solution? If you can’t bring yourself to limit your TV time, then at least consider multi-tasking such as cleaning or exercising while you watch, Dr. Ingegno advises.
Related: 7 habits that will help you lose weight during lockdown.
You lack access to healthy foods
You’ve been drinking more
Alcohol use is up since the pandemic began, and drinking your calories has been shown to interfere with weight loss. Conversely, cutting back on alcohol can eliminate some of the cravings you may be experiencing. In addition, excessive alcohol consumption may lead to, or worsen existing, mental health problems such as anxiety, which has been shown to make weight loss more difficult.
Here are 25 more things you probably never realized could affect your ability to lose weight.
To get all the best weight-loss tips delivered directly to your inbox every day, simply subscribe to our newsletter.