The current pandemic has been giving people an added amount of stress and isolation. Simple tasks like going to the grocery store have now become more stress-inducing than before. Additionally, school is online, and restriction are starting to return. The common theme during this pandemic has been to stay at home as much as possible to limit the spread of the virus. There are obviously some perks to staying home all day, but there are also some drawbacks to spending a lot of time indoors. The most common topic that I have been hearing about is weight gain, or the “quarantine fifteen”.
Firstly, I want to normalize weight gain during a pandemic. It is absolutely normal, and common to gain weight, when your daily activities have been limited, we spend much more time sitting in front of a screen, and much less time doing activities that would normally get us moving. This is definitely not something to be ashamed about especially because we are all trying to do our part to keep others safe, and for that you should be proud. However, trying to adopt some healthy habits to incorporate into our daily lives can be helpful to both add structure to our days and keep us healthy.
There are some small and affordable changes we can make in the foods we eat to leave us feeling satisfied and healthy. Firstly, let’s start off with the most important meal of the day, breakfast. A great healthy start to the day can include oatmeal with fruits, or a bran-based cereal to increase fiber consumption. There are also some delicious overnight oatmeal recipes, so you can wake up to a delicious and healthy breakfast to eat to avoid rushing. As a student myself, I know how expensive fresh fruit can be. I tend to purchase frozen fruit, which is cheaper. For a healthy snack try incorporating fruits, veggies, nut and even energy balls (check out this website for the recipe). For lunch and dinner, the possibilities are endless! Everything from chipotle veggie burritos to stuffed bell peppers and even a pork and broccoli grain bowl. Check out these recipes and many more here.
Additionally, some small changes can also be made while eating to encourage mindful eating. For example, avoid eating in front of the television, use a smaller plate, and drinking plenty of water throughout the day can prevent us from overeating and experiencing the uncomfortable feelings that come with it.
Lastly, just a reminder, that if you are making some small changes to your diet, you do not have to deny yourself the foods you love. Moderation is key! However, these are only suggestions as I do not have any qualifications in nutritional sciences to be giving advice. If you would like to learn more about diet please contact a registered dietician or check out the Canadian Food Guide website.
Finally, here are some tips to keep you moving even while indoors. I would suggest doing a short workout first thing after waking up that way you don’t have to worry about it later in the day. Since most gyms have limited hours and people may be weary of the gym due to rising cases, I have found that YouTube videos are a great alternative to get your heart rate up. Here is a 5-minute cardio workout for beginners and 27-minute HIIT workout for people with a bit more experience or those who want a challenge.
To conclude, I want to stress that every single body is worthy of love and it is not my intentions for one to establish a strict diet and exercise regime after reading this blog post. My goal is simply to encourage everyone to stay healthy both physically and mentally during this pandemic, so that we can all truly enjoy life once things return to normal.