By Registered Dietitian Helenbeth

Have your mealtime and exercise routines changed during the COVID-19 pandemic? Have you even gained the “quarantine 15”? You’re not alone.

In order to shed those extra pounds, we’ve assembled 9 tips to help you be more mindful of your eating and physical activity. Healthful eating and an active lifestyle are both fundamental to your overall health and well-being!

9 Tips to Help Shed Those Pandemic Pounds

Meal Plan

Include lean protein sources and vegetables, including chicken; fish (such as tilapia, cod, walleye, and tuna); low-fat cottage cheese; 98% lean ground meat; light meat turkey; and colorful vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, zucchini, and peppers. Purchase enough groceries for the week that you will enjoy preparing and eating!

Track Your Food Intake

Keep a food journal to track your daily food intake, your physical activity, and your successes, as well as challenges. Make sure to share your successes and talk through challenges with your Livea consultant!

Don’t Skip Meals

Make sure you are supporting yourself by eating every 2- 3 hours in order to help control your blood sugar and hunger. Make sure not to skip meals as this can decrease your nutrient balance and slow down your metabolism.

Enjoy Healthy Snacks

To support yourself between meals, make sure to have sugar-free jello or colorful vegetable bites, such as bell peppers, cucumbers, and celery on hand.

Drink Plenty of Water

Get all 64 ounces of water! Water helps maintain the balance of body fluids and helps energize muscles. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes can shrivel, which results in muscle fatigue: “When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer,” says Kaiser Permanente nephrologist Steven Guest, MD.

Eat Slowly and Mindfully

Make about 15 minutes to enjoy each meal. Taking your time with eating will help you feel more satisfied. According to Zane Andrews, an associate professor of physiology and neuroscientist at Monash University:

“When we eat and put food in our mouth, we have receptors for things like taste and texture, and our brain registers this and goes  ‘oh, well that’s really tasty and that’s sweet, I like that.’ But it’s not until that food gets into the stomach and into the gut that it starts to release satiety hormones which feed back to the brain and tell us we’re full. But that food needs to be chewed, to go down into the gut and to be processed a little bit.  You need to start absorbing the glucose from the food and that happens generally quickly, but somewhere between 5 and 20 minutes. Then you’ll get the glucose surge from the food that you’re eating, and then when the glucose in the body goes up, the insulin senses this and insulin also goes up.  At the same time, you have those satiety hormones from the gut.  All this feeds back to the brain and actually says ‘stop eating.’”

It can take up to 20 minutes to feel full once we start to eat, says Andrews.

Engage in Physical Activity

According to the Mayo Clinic, starting a fitness program can help you lose weight, reduce your risk of chronic disease, and boost your self-esteem in addition to helping you have more energy. Set both short-term and long-term fitness goals. Personalize them with a step-by-step action plan for yourself.

Avoid Consuming Alcohol

Yes, even the low carb varieties. Alcohol will add non-nutritious calories and can stimulate your appetite, dehydrate your body, and ultimately slow down your weight loss.  If you do consume alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.

Be Mindful of Emotional Eating

Eating in response to your feelings is called emotional eating. People often use food to shield themselves from the pain of negative emotions or enhance positive ones.

Emotional hunger is different from physical hunger. It’s stimulated by thoughts, feelings, and cues in the environment that you have come to associate with food. The problem with emotional hunger is that no matter how much you eat, it will not be satisfying, because the hunger is not for food but for other forms of comfort.

The most effective way to identify the feelings and situations that trigger your eating is to keep a food journal, which makes you aware of the emotions that may cause you to eat. To break the association of feelings with food, develop alternative activities to take the place of eating, such as going for a walk, listen to relaxing music, or reaching out to a friend.

Ready to Kickstart Your Weigh Loss Journey?

If you’re ready to achieve your weight loss goals, Livea can help! Contact our team to start enjoying one-on-one support from our team, 90+ meals, snacks and beverages to help with your meal planning, ongoing nutrition education, and so much more!


References:

  • Steven S Guest, M.D., nephrologist, medical director, Kaiser Permanente, Santa Clara, Calif.; adjunct clinical professor of medicine, Stanford University.
  • Zane Andrews, associate professor of physiology and neuroscientist, Monash University, Australia.
  • Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. 2nd ed. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition.  Accessed Dec.4, 2018.
  • Livea Guide, Livea Weight Control Centers