21 October 2020
Did you put on a few pounds over quarantine/lockdown? I certainly did and I think we're all in good company.
The reason for the weight gain is multi-faceted. Some of us started with no change in our exercise/eating routines, but the length of lockdown assisted with nudging us off track. The increased stress of uncertainty and idle time at home led to increased eating and drinking. However, we're all currently living through unprecedented, stressful times and we need to cut ourselves some slack.
Stress affects the body in many ways. Increased stress causes the adrenal glands (the triangle-shaped glands directly above the kidneys) to produce a hormone called cortisol. In moderate amounts, cortisol is beneficial. It regulates blood pressure, controls sleeping cycles and also changes how your body uses carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Constant stress, however, causes cortisol to change your metabolism because your "alarm button" is staying on.
Here are some simple ways to get back on the healthy habits wagon after quarantine:
Move! — I'm not using the word exercise here because I literally mean move. Go for a walk, a bike ride or a swim. If you can incorporate some resistance training (body weight, bands, dumbbells, etc.) into your routine, great! At the end of the day, weight loss is very simple — calories out, or expended, have to be greater than calories in.
Drink more water — Thirst is very often confused with hunger. Having a glass of water immediately as you wake up and before a meal can help you feel full faster. A lot of times we end up consuming extra calories when we're dehydrated and a glass of water is really what the body needs.
Don't ban certain foods — Typically as soon as you ban a food from your diet, you crave it more. Instead, develop a moderation attitude. If you like chocolate, let yourself have a small serving as a treat, rather than bingeing on it.
Limit other unhealthy habits — Decreasing alcohol intake and quitting smoking are two easy lifestyle choices that can positively impact your health and assist with maintaining a healthy weight. Quitting smoking is a no-brainer as smoking increases carcinogens in body tissues. Alcohol should be limited to no more than one drink per day.
To find out more about how to achieve your rehabilitation goals, contact a healthcare professional at Align.
This article first appeared in the October 2020 print edition of Camana Bay Times with the headline "Losing the quarantine 15."