By: Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN
Is the “Quarantine 15” starting to sneak up on you? Just because it seems like the world has been turned upside down does not mean that weight loss has to stop.
In fact, this can be a great obstacle to overcome in your weight loss journey. Working on weight loss during this pandemic (and even succeeding) can set you up for anything!
Keep Weight Loss Going
We want to help you succeed in your weight loss journey, so here are 10 ways to lose weight during COVID-19:
- Less Takeout, More Home Cooking
Home-cooked meals can be better for weight loss than restaurant meals – but you have to do it right. Grandma’s casserole recipe that uses butter, sour cream and pork is high in calories, fat and sodium.
Make healthy home meals by following these key principles:
- Lots of veggies (the more the merrier)
- Use whole grain items like brown rice, whole grain bread, and whole grain pasta
- Choose lean proteins like legumes, skinless poultry, and seafood
- Cook with healthy fats like olive oil, canola, and flaxseed (but in small amounts)
Now is a great time to develop your cooking skills!
- Pack Your Freezer with Low-Calorie Foods
To help cook healthy meals, stock up on freezer food that will last.
Here are some of the best frozen foods for weight loss:
- Plain, frozen fruit like blueberries, strawberries and a tropical mix (no syrup or juices added)
- Plain, frozen veggies like spinach, corn and veggie stir fry (no cheese or sauces added)
- Plain frozen shrimp (lots of protein and low in calories)
- Low-calorie frozen meals like Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice, Smart Ones or Green Giant
These items are cost-effective, low in calories, highly nutritious, and last a long time in the freezer.
- Keep Healthy Pantry Items on Hand
Another great place to store healthy, shelf-stable foods is the pantry. But, many pantry items can be loaded with calories, sodium, and preservatives – so watch out!
Here’s what we recommend if you’re trying to lose weight:
- Unflavored canned or dried beans (for fiber and protein)
- Canned tuna, salmon or chicken for a high-protein, low-calorie snack (try Starkist pouches too)
These canned goods are low in calories and high in nutrition. Plus, they’ll last for months during quarantine.
- No Vending Machines, No Problem
It’s a good thing you don’t have to walk by a vending machine every day. Less temptation for unhealthy, high-calorie snacks!
Instead, keep healthy snacks at home to still lose weight:
- Fresh fruit like bananas, apples, grapes, and clementines
- Fresh veggies like baby carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, and bell pepper
- Plain popcorn (only 30 calories per cup!)
While you may be more tempted to snack throughout the entire day during quarantine, drink a glass of water whenever you start to feel hungry. Then, wait 30 minutes and reassess your hunger. You may just be thirsty!
- Free Workouts
For many people, gym closures were used as an excuse to not work out anymore. You should still get active (and do it for free) during quarantine:
- Walks or runs in your neighborhood
- Fitness apps
- YouTube videos (type in keywords like cardio, calorie-burn, strength training, workout)
- Use water jugs, canned goods or water bottles as weights
Whether you lack the time or the motivation, you can even split up your exercise into 10-minute intervals throughout the entire day.
- Burn Calories with Chores
Chores are the best thing ever for weight loss. Why? We burn calories when we do everyday activities like cleaning, gardening, vacuuming, and organizing our closets. So, think of chores as “mandatory calorie-burn sessions.”
Want to maximize your calorie burn while doing chores?
- Play music to put a pep in your step
- Wear ankle weights or a weighted vest
- For every item, you pick up (like a child’s toy), do a squat
- Keep Up with Kids & Pets
Speaking of kids… Chances are, your kids and pets are even more stir crazy than you.
Play, walk, run, or dance with them to burn their energy (and yours). This is a great time to show your family that health and physical activity are important.
Great group activities:
- Walks (and extra walks)
- Family sports games
- Rearranging furniture
- Control the Alcohol
Alcohol is a slippery slope when losing weight, especially during stressful times like these.
Reducing alcohol is so important for weight loss, that we dedicated an entire post about it. CTA (link to alcohol stress inducer blog post): [Read it here.]
- Replace your Drinks
Besides alcohol, there are other drinks that can prevent us from losing weight. If you drink any of the beverages below, consider limiting them or removing them from your home:
- Fountain drinks
- Whole milk
- Sports drinks
- Loaded coffee drinks (i.e. Frappuccino)
- Sweetened tea
These drinks are high in calories, sugar and/or fat, which can prevent you from losing weight.
- Fight Hunger like an Expert
Even disciplined dieters cannot escape occasional hunger pangs between meals. But luckily, there are 4 things you can do to your diet to keep hunger at bay more often!
- Fiber – Stay full with fruits, veggies, whole grains and nuts
- Fluid – Stay hydrated with water, low-calorie beverages and fruits
- Healthy Fat – Get long-term energy from small amounts of nuts, seeds and avocado
- Protein – Coast until your next meal with lowfat cheese, skim milk, beans and eggs
Use these tips for both snacks and meals to make them more satisfying and to prevent hunger.
Get Weight Loss Support (Doctor-Approved)
If you’re struggling with weight loss, make sure you get help from nutrition and health experts – your own healthcare team!
At PrescribeWell, we provide a science-based weight loss program that works directly with your doctor’s office. Through this partnership, you get an effective weight loss program with tons of professional support.
Not sure if your clinic is a PrescribeWell member? Contact us! Let your doctor know about us!