20 Pounds in 2020: Tips to Get Back on Track in Quarantine

Here are the top reasons for overeating in quarantine that I’m hearing from patients: 

  • “My family has been baking and so I must eat it.” 
  • Working from home and foraging cupboards all day. 
  • Stress eating the usual suspects: chocolate, sugar, chips, carbs. 

Most people can get away with the occasional overeating. But shelter-in-place is here for a while, so many women are saying they need to start cleaning things up and getting back on track. Excess weight can start to affect our mood and hormones, and some of my patients are starting to realize this!

There is no one way to approach weight loss, as everybody is different. There are some unhealthy habits that I’m seeing in lockdown, however,  that are a good place to start cleaning things up. 

  • Get rid of late-night snacking.  I frequently tell patients to not eat after 7pm. Multiple studies show that time-restrictive eating helps with weight maintenance. So cut out the late-night crunchies!
  • Get outside or find a new workout routine. A lot of people have had their exercise routines disrupted. Exercise and movement are great for stress hormones and increasing happy chemicals in the brain. Walking outside is a great way to get some fresh air and reduce stress levels. So get moving!
  • Cut out the wine. Cut the alcohol so it is not an everyday occurrence.  Many will unconsciously reach for alcohol to help cope with increased stress. It’s a good idea to set some boundaries around alcohol consumption, as it affects sleep, mood, and brain function. You don’t have to cut it out completely, but at least carve out some alcohol-free nights!
  • Eat 2 or 3 meals a day.   Distinct meals during the day are far better for our insulin than grazing all day. Insulin tells our body to store fat, so the more times you turn it on, the more fat storage you signal. Try to have bigger meals and cut out the snacks.  This is good for our gut bacteria also!
  • Prep your lunch as if you were going to the office.  Pack up the leftovers, make a salad, and put it in the fridge.  Then when you get busy and hungry on your workday, you will make healthy choices instead of hangry choices. 

There has been a lot of change for many of us in lockdown, so try not to beat yourself up in the midst of all the changes. Everyone has different challenges right now.  We all need to figure out the best way to survive this.  And if you need more structure or guidance, reach out to your health practitioner. What are you doing to try and stay healthy during shelter-in-place?


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