5 Ways to Avoid Self-Isolation Weight Gain

Ever heard of the “Freshman-15”?  Well now there’s a new saying called the “Quarantine-15” – in reference to the 15 pounds that people might gain during a long period of self-isolation.

While it’s unlikely you will gain that much, it’s actually very common for many of us to see the number on the scale jump up a little over this time.  It’s not that shocking when we consider all of the circumstances that might cause this:

– Our stress levels are very high.  Even if you don’t “feel stressed”, facing a lot of uncertainty and a massive change to our daily life is likely to cause a considerable amount of stress.  Heightened stress levels can disrupt our hormones and blood sugar levels – leading to increased fat storage and weight gain.

– We are less active.  Self-isolation coupled with the closure of gyms, parks, community centres, arenas, and beaches means being active is much more difficult.  Exercise, sports, and other activities are the most effective ways to stay healthy, reduce stress, and lose weight.

– We are eating more.  The three main triggers for ‘mindless eating’ are boredom, fatigue, and stress.  Since these triggers are now more likely to arise, we’re more likely to eat the wrong foods or simply to eat more food, more often.

– We are off our routines.  During this time, some of us have much more time on our hands, while some have much less.  In either case, these big changes mean that we have been thrown off our routines for healthy eating, sleeping, and exercising.

Since we have already laid out some of the conditions for weight gain – we need to take action to overcome some of these obstacles.  Here are some of the steps you can take to start getting your weight back on track or to avoid gaining weight during self-isolation.

1) Get active!  It’s important that we find new ways to stay active consistently during this time.  You can still go for a walk, run or bike ride, do yard work, plant a garden, do house cleaning, lift some weights, or do yoga, pilates or zumba at home.  If you’d like to follow a workout, there are many online workout classes you can join from home.

2) Have a diet plan.  You need to have a plan in place for your diet, or else you will be much more susceptible to eating the wrong foods or having larger portion sizes.   As the saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail”.  If you’d like to create a healthy dietary plan, we’ve got you covered – we can set up a phone/virtual appointment to discuss your dietary and weight loss goals and create a custom-made dietary plan for you to follow.

3) Cultivate ‘mindful eating’.  Mindfulness simply means ‘awareness’ – you not only have to be aware of what you’re eating and how much you’re eating, but why you’re eating.  There’s no easy way to do this and it’s a work in progress, but here are some tips to get you started:
– Stop yourself before eating anything and ask yourself “am I hungry?”
– Keep a journal to record instances when you ate the wrong foods or were overeating and examine what may have triggered this type of eating.
– Set up notes that remind you to eat mindfully.
– Put down your utensils every time you’re chewing your food.

4) Stress less.  We have to learn to manage our stress levels, so they don’t have as much of an impact on our health.  We have no control over how much stress we will encounter, but we do have control over our response to stress and the meanings we attach to stressful events.  Make sure to carve out some time to meditate, exercise, read a book, or just do something fun!

5) Detoxify.  Our liver (and other organs of detoxification) are exposed to many toxins on a daily basis.  Some of these toxins are referred to as “obesogens”, because they can affect our metabolism and cause weight gain.  Our clinic’s detoxification program is a great way to remove toxins, decrease inflammation, balance hormones, burn fat, and rev up your metabolism! Here are some tips to help you start detoxifying now:
– Get all sugar, sweets, and junk foods out of the house.
– Avoid or minimize alcohol intake.
– Have a glass of lemon water every morning.
– Increase your intake of fibre-rich foods.
– Add dandelion greens to your salads.
– Eat cruciferous veggies daily (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, Brussels sprouts)
– Enjoy a cup of ginger, fennel, nettle or green tea.

If you’d like to boost your metabolism, lose weight, and feel great, please contact our naturopathic clinic to start your weight loss program.  We are available 7 days a week for phone/virtual appointments!

Yours in health,

Dr. Michael Morsillo, H.B.Sc., N.D.
Newmarket Naturopathic Doctor

16655 Yonge St., Newmarket, ON
905-898-1844 ext. 135