Confession: I have gained weight during quarantine.
It is hard for me to even admit it, because I am the kind of person who always has myself together and on track. But this is reality and everyone, no matter how dedicated and disciplined, sometimes falls off the wagon. I hate to feel out of control and not following through with my routines, not because I’m afraid of gaining weight but because it signals to me that I am not caring for myself in the best ways possible.
Big picture, I have only gained 4 pounds, but it is no mystery why.
Pre-quarantine I was eating cleaner than ever before, going to the gym everyday, working on my running and lifting, and living an active lifestyle.
In a matter of days the gym shut down, I was no longer walking to class or going to work, I also moved back home and chose to eat foods that my family was eating, even though they didn’t feel good in my body or align with my goals.
A sharp change in lifestyle is going to cause weight gain, but I wanted more for myself at the end of all this.
I didn’t want to start my summer 10+ pounds heavier and have to work to lose the weight all over again. I didn’t want to let myself down and watch all of the time and effort I invested in my mindset slip away in just a few weeks.
So, I decided this is going to be a time I invest fully in myself. I am going to come out of this challenging time stronger and fitter than ever. I knew with some changes and a re-commitment to my goals, I could lose these few pounds and get back on track.
But, how am I going to do it? No gym, no routines, new environment- how could I make weight loss happen in this time of uncertainty?
First, if you are looking to lose weight by shifting your mindset around diet and exercise, enter your email at the bottom of this page, and I will send you the free weight loss guide I wrote outlining what I did to lose 50 pounds in college.
But, as we know life and weight fluctuates and changes with time, however new solutions are always available to us to combat the challenges we are facing.
I believe that the main reason a lot of us are struggling with our weight during this time of isolation is because of a loss of routine.
Our healthy habits are no longer automatic in our day because new responsibilities or tasks have taken their place. But the good news is that routines are flexible, and if I learned anything from James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, it is that right now is probably the easiest time to establish some new habits and routines.
In the book Clear explains that the best time to form new habits is during times of change- a new house, new job, new relationship- because there isn’t a ton of data for your brain to use to go into autopilot during these situations. During periods of change you get to dictate what the new normal is for that season of life.
If you think about all the things that were automatic in your life 5 weeks ago- who you spent time with, what you ate, how active you were, grabbing a donut in the break room, drinking a latte every morning- all the routines, good and bad, have gotten you the result of your pre-quarantine weight.
But now life has changed and those good and bad habits have been stripped away, leaving you a new, blank canvas on which to design your life.
If we are intentional, we can create a new routine during this time of change that will serve us and our goals. It may not feel like it, but now is the time!
So, what exactly am I doing to show up for myself and my goals?
I want to start by saying that I am big on making plans that work for you! Don’t do exactly what I am doing because you don’t want to work to find your own solutions or because you think I have all the answers. My aim in sharing my strategies for weight loss is to inspire you to see where you can start showing up better today.
This is not about me telling you what to do, I simply want to be an example of what is possible during this time. Only you have the answers to your life’s problems- feel empowered and ready to tackle each and every challenge knowing you have what it takes to figure anything out.
One thing I knew I needed more of during this time is support. I needed to surround myself with like minded people and give myself the opportunity to be inspired daily by others.
Luckily, I had signed up for a challenge pre-quarantine and now have a coach and the group from that challenge supporting me and encouraging me to stay on track. But even if I didn’t have that as a source of support, I still would find my people on social media, in my household, or over FaceTime in a friend.
If you can find someone who supports you in your effort to lose weight, or even better, wants to make changes with you, you will find weight loss so much easier and more enjoyable.
So go find someone or something that motivates and inspires you to work for your goals and stay committed to changing your life. If not a person, it could be a book, a podcast, a YouTube channel- just find something to go to when you want to give up or give in.
And if you are like me and your access to unhealthy foods has peaked recently, support yourself and prep your meals and snacks. It is unrealistic that everyone will want to get on your weight loss band wagon and stop ordering pizza, so you need to support yourself ahead of time.
Other people don’t need to support you by changing their lives, they support you by allowing you the space to change yours.
changes to make:
- Find support and sources of daily inspiration and go to them everyday.
- Reach out to friends and family for support.
- Set yourself up for success by supporting yourself and planning ahead- don’t use other people as a crutch to settle.
If you want to lose weight while in quarantine you must become more mindful about what you are eating. If you really want to have your mind blown- track your caloric intake from yesterday.
Write down everything you ate and look at the number of calories. For most of us, we overate and likely blew past the number of calories we need to maintain or lose weight. Now take away the calories from snacks and drinks. This likely got you much closer to your ideal caloric intake.
Now, I am not a fan of counting calories, because I personally don’t want to be a slave to an app the rest of my life, but it can be an eye opener.
With that in mind, one of the things I am doing to lose weight is eliminating snacking and only drinking water. Doing only these two things will get the scale moving in the right direction for most of us.
My go to method for making this more executable is using a 24 hour plan to make food decisions ahead of time. Plan everything you will eat the day before. If you really want a snack, plan it, but you only get to eat it if you are truly hungry. No more mindless snacking to fill your day.
I am also drinking at least 132 ounces of water a day to keep my body hydrated. If you want to lose weight, you must be taking in enough water.
If you are interested in implementing a specific diet into your lifestyle, click here to view research done by Consumers Advocate on a number of popular diets.
changes to make:
- No snacking, only eat 3 main meals. Make sure you are eating a balance of carbs, fat and protein in each meal to stay full.
- Plan your days 24 hours in advance to make food decisions easy.
- Drink more water. Most professionals recommend about 1 ounce per pound of body weight.
If you have ever used your schedule or lack of time as a reason to not exercise- what is your excuse now?
I came across a quote recently that went something like, “If you come out quarantine without doing the things you said you didn’t have time to do- it was never a lack of time, it was a lack of discipline.” I love that.
Let’s just all take complete accountability for our own actions and stop clinging to our excuses for why we can’t get things done. Now is the time to change the story in our head and prove to ourselves that we can always make time for the things that matter. Stop fighting to prove your excuses right and start arguing for yourself and what you are capable of.
To get back into my fitness regime I have done my best to adapt what I was doing in a gym before quarantine and making it work with what I have available at home. I still run three times a week. I still workout 6 days a week. I still get 10 thousand steps in most days. I have been doing at home workouts I find online, which are not in sort supply (thank you to anyone putting themselves out there to help and inspire others)!
Bottom line is do the best you can with what you have and set a non-negotiable minimum baseline for daily movement. For me this is my 10 thousand steps a day and whatever workout is scheduled from the challenge I am doing. Set a non-negotiable minimum for yourself and commit to meeting it everyday. Do what feels good and will get you closer to your goal.
I always harp on this, but don’t make it unnecessarily hard or something you don’t want to do and ultimately won’t follow through on. This is about setting up a routine that we love and that allows us to lose weight and gain back just a little bit of normalcy and control.
changes to make:
- Set a minimum baseline for activity everyday- and make it realistic and a non-negotiable.
- Set a daily step goal for yourself.
- If you were already losing weight before the quarantine, mimic the routine you were following to the best of your ability at home- be creative.
- Create a realistic exercise schedule for yourself- print it out and hang it up somewhere you will see it everyday.
- Find a coach or an accountability partner.
So much of weight loss is mindset, and keeping a check on your mental health is critical to getting the results you desire. To lose weight I had to stop repeating the excuses in my brain that got me to stop taking care of myself. I had to stop thinking things like “This overeat won’t matter” “Everyone else is being inactive and eating candy” “It’s so much harder to lose weight without a gym” and start believing what was actually true.
The real truth is that I had a choice. I could be a victim to the circumstances and use the changes in my life as an excuse to stop caring about my health, or I could get creative. If you want to lose weight, chose everyday to be creative.
I stopped investing emotionally in negative news and negative people who were settling for weight gain and inactivity during isolation and opened up more mental space for people and information that aligned with my goals and how I wanted to show up in the world.
Your brain space is precious. Keep it focused on your goals by writing them down daily and starting every day with intention. Fill your time with things that will grow and nourish the positive, growth mindset required to lose weight.
In order to lose weight during difficult times, we must be on the look out for solutions- not problems. Focus on what you can control and begin directing those aspects of your life in a way that moves you towards your goals.
Be the one who chooses to be creative and figure things out.
changes to make:
- Change the story you are telling yourself about the quarantine.
- Give equal air time to the negative and positive content.
- Invest in your sanity by journaling daily and setting up daily goals and intentions for yourself.
- Find a podcast or book to consume that uplifts you and teaches you something.
- Find more solutions than problems.
I know that by implementing these changes and staying consistent, this new normal can work for us in getting to our goal weight and showing up for a better life. I am more determined than ever to be at my healthiest. We are being shown in real time, on a global scale, the importance of taking care of ourselves.
These changes aren’t about a number on the scale, and honestly the 4 pound weight gain isn’t what bothers me. I want to commit to these changes because I want to be the kind of person who takes care of herself and does what she says she will do- no matter what.
You are so worth the effort and your life and health is so valuable. Let’s all just agree, that for our health and our happiness- now is the time.
You don’t drown by falling into water, you drown by staying there.Corinne Crabtree