As many are stuck at home due to quarantine, it is no surprise that we see less exercise and more consumption of unhealthy food from food delivery services, which eventually leads to weight gain.
Dr Donald Hensrud from the world-renown Mayo Clinic, explains that these bad habits will be dangerous in the long run and offers advice to get rid of the excess weight.
If you noticed that you gained weight during the Covid-19 pandemic, fret not, you’re not the only one. Gaining weight while following the stay-at-home protocol is referred to as “Quarantine 15” which is claimed to be caused by bad habits due to the disruption of your daily routine. “Quarantine 15” is a new term for the weight gain in pounds that some people have coined up.
“People’s habits have changed quite a bit since we’re spending more time at home,” says a medical director of the Healthy Living Programme at the Mayo Clinic, Dr Donald Hensrud, based in the US state of Minnesota. Dr Hensrud elaborated further that bad habits in the long run lead to health and mental issues.
Many perform their daily exercise at home as nearly every fitness centre is forced to be closed. What they don’t take into account is that they miss out on low-level activity performed throughout the day when they are at work, according to Dr. Hensrud.
“Even if we have a desk job, we have to walk at least to our car to get to work. We may walk throughout the day; we may walk to lunch. And, so, for spending time at home, that [lack of ] low-level activity may be causing us to burn fewer overall calories.”
Meanwhile, there is a possibility that we may be consuming more calories while working from home.
“On the good side, we’re eating out less at restaurants … that can be high-calorie … however, many people are stocking up on frozen foods and processed foods that have a long shelf life. Many times, they’re higher in calories and less healthy. On the flip side, for example, fruits and vegetables, they don’t last as long, and we may be consuming less of them,” says Dr Hensrud.
“So we risk weight gain by consuming more calories and doing less activity that would help burn them,” Hensrud says.
“A few pounds short term may not make a difference. It could be fluid. It might be just a little weight gain while we establish new routines. Obviously, the more weight we gain and the longer it’s maintained, the more it affects our health,” he says.
“If children establish those habits, or lack of healthy habits when they’re young, and they gain weight, that might persist as they go into adolescence and adulthood.”
Adults who go for a new health routine can stop that weight gain, though, and should be able to maintain their normal weight.
“It’s more important for some people than others – for example, people who have diabetes or high blood pressure. Just a modest amount of weight gain in some people, if they’re sensitive to that, can increase their blood glucose and blood pressure, and they won’t have … a good control over these factors,” Hensrud says.
“Everybody is getting accustomed to this new normal. I’d encourage people to establish those new healthy habits now. You have to be a little proactive about this, and that’ll make it easier in the long term. Break out of your comfort zone.”
Hensrud says that we should make healthier versions of the foods we normally eat, perhaps adding more vegetables to the ingredients with reduction of fat in its contents rather than chugging on large amounts of comfort food.
“Invest some time. Planning is a real key here if you plan ahead rather than just grabbing something at the last moment. Try to raise your culinary skills and do a little bit more cooking. It’s an opportunity for that, too … embrace our new normal, look for opportunities to establish new healthy routines.
“Eating healthy and eating well don’t have to be drudgery. It can and should be an enjoyable way to live. And if we can do that, then we can better manage our weight and our overall health during this pandemic.”
To improve your overall health, losing the excess weight should be given high priority. Here are some useful tips from experts on how to lose that weight.
- Instead of drinking sodas like our beloved Coke, we should drink plain water. This is a proven way to reduce empty calories with the added benefit of being well hydrated.
- Eat whole fruits rather than drinking fruit juice that hardly has any fibre and less nutritional value than the actual fruit; or vaping fruit flavors with no nutritional value whatsoever.
- Avoid distractions like smartphones, TVs, or tablets that could lead to overeating at mealtimes.
- With the exemption of fruits, avoid other temptations by keeping your counters clear from unnecessary food.
- Have fruits and vegetables ready on hand to snack whenever you have the urge to nibble something.
- Weight gain is related to sleep deprivation, so get more Zzzzs where possible. Plan and stick to a night routine.
20th May 19:20