As most Americans approach their second full month of quarantine (with widespread shelter-in-place orders in all but a handful of states), with playgrounds, pools, recreational centers and gyms closed, many may be wondering how they can avoid the dreaded, “quarantine 15” that people have been joking about on the internet lately.
If you’ve been consumed with stress-eating and low step counts are haunting your days, take heart: there are some simple ways to get you back on track (and fitting into jeans again soon). Here are our top tips to stay healthy during this time:
Adhere to a Regular Eating Schedule
If you have kids at home that you’re trying to homeschool, pets that need attention, and competing Zoom schedules with your spouse, nothing feels normal. It’s easy to slowly slide from your regular routine of, “quick workout, small breakfast, shower” to drinking coffee and panic reading the news ‘till noon, and then storming the kitchen once mid-afternoon hits. If you can stay on a regular eating schedule for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, by the time evening (and Netflix) time hits, you won’t be starved for calories and make poor choices.
Don’t Treat Every Day Like a Friday Night
If you’re like me, you eat remarkably healthy during the week, but definitely look forward to your Friday night glass of wine, as well as relaxed eating standards during the weekend (I can never say no to a Saturday ice cream outing). Once shelter-in-place orders hit, I started treating every day like a Friday night: wine and nachos one day, a margarita and pizza the next. This wasn’t good for my blood sugars or waistline. Even though these times are not normal, if you can carve out space for little treats only once in a while to retain some sense of normalcy, you’ll feel a lot better in the long run, and your blood sugars will also thank you.
Get Movement Every Day
Gyms may be closed, but no one has canceled nature. One silver lining of this pandemic is that it’s hitting during the most beautiful time of year. Flowers are blooming, and temperatures are mild and warm. This is the perfect time to take a bike ride, go on more jogs, or take a nightly walk after dinner. There are also plenty of online options for yoga, pilates, or cardio classes on YouTube. Take advantage of time saved from no commute, and cultivate a morning exercise routine instead!
Get Creative in the Kitchen
It might be tempting to get pizza every day or order takeout (and hello, it’s way easier!), but try and take advantage of this time at home by getting creative in the kitchen. Remember that Vitamix you got as a wedding gift that’s collecting dust in the basement? Or that juicer you ordered during a cleanse phase that you’ve never really touched? Try and buy one new vegetable a week and create a brand new recipe around that. Or order a recipe book online and work your way through it with your family. Vegetables like garlic scapes, jicama, watermelon radishes, and fiddlehead ferns are just a few delicious vegetables begging to be tried that you may have never even heard of!
Find an Outlet for Your Stress
Often times when we go to snack, we’re not *actually* hungry, but bored, tired, or stressed. Try, for a few days, to respond to hunger cues, eating only when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. This can be hard, because as people with diabetes, we normally eat in response to a high or low blood sugar, and not to our hunger cues, but try it out. Also, supplement your outlet for stress from eating to a healthy activity like meditation, journaling, or gentle yoga. Other outlets for stress can be listening to a podcast, painting, or dancing in your kitchen. Even if you’re not looking to lose weight, your mental health will thank you. This will also become especially helpful when treating lows; if you have an existing outlet for unwanted stress, you’re less likely to over-treat them, and can prevent the blood sugar rollercoaster.
Have you noticed weight gain since the start of COVID-19, or are you healthier than ever? How has quarantine affected your lifestyle? Share this post and comment below; we love hearing from our readers!
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Read more about COVID-19, exercise, Intensive management, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), stress eating.