Quarantine life is challenging at times, both mentally and physically. With all the sleeping in, closed gyms, and binge-watching Tiger King that’s been going on, a little bit of excess weight gain is expected. You shouldn’t feel bad about weight gain in quarantine, after all we’re all in this together. But if you really feel motivated to lose your quarantine and fend off those extra pounds, here are 10 safe and effective diets to lose all the quarantine weight you’ve gained so far.
1.) Calorie Counting
Now, it may be tempting to take the dive into a diet right away. However, much of the weight gain that happens during quarantine is due to increased intake of calories. Extra snacking, increased meal amounts and processed food all contribute to extra calories you might need. Depending on how much weight you’ve gained, you might find that limiting your calorie intake is enough to stop gaining weight, or even lose weight. The average daily recommended intake of calories for a healthy adult is between 1500-2000. If you’ve been exceeding this range, keep track of the calorie count of your foods, and try to cut back to around 1500. This way you ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients and calories you need to maintain your health and energy, but you’re not taking in more than you need.
2.) Mediterranean Diet
If calorie counting just does not seem to be cutting it, the Mediterranean diet is an extremely healthy, tasty and effective diet that is a good alternative. With the Mediterranean diet, you’ll still be allowed indulgences like meat, dairy and wine, but in a controlled and balanced way. The Mediterranean diet places emphasis on lean meats, such as chicken and fish, and it incorporates a lot of leafy and nutritious vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Numerous studies show that the Mediterranean diet not only promotes weight loss, but also comes with other benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, preventing diabetes, and lowering risk of heart attack and stroke. It is a great diet to lose weight in quarantine while maintaining your overall health!
3.) Plant-based diet
Another healthy alternative diet that promotes weight loss is the plant-based diet. This is an effective diet because it will meet all your nutritional need to boost your health, but supply your body with easily digestible calories that will help your metabolism run efficiently to burn off those extra pounds . If you think that moving to a plant-based diet sounds like a great idea, but you just don’t know where to start, the best way is to slowly easy into it. Start by limiting dairy and eggs, eat meat only for a few meals out of the week, and start incorporating more calories of legumes, whole grains, and starchy and leafy vegetables to your meals everyday. Eventually, it will reach a point where cravings for meaty or processed foods will be reduced, and you’re on a plant-based diet! Maintaining a plant based diet over time will keep you both healthy and slim.
4.) Add More Fiber
This isn’t necessarily a diet, but more like a “hack” to your daily intake. Soluble fiber, such as that found in fruits, oatmeal, beans, bran and barley come with numerous health benefits that contribute towards weight loss. For one thing, fiber will help feed your gut bacteria and reduce inflammation, which will speed up your digestion process and boost your metabolism. Fiber is also a natural appetite suppressant, which can help you avoid unnecessary and unhealthy cravings.
5.) Intermittent Fasting
The word “fast” might sound scary, but I assure you “intermittent fasting” is not as scary or as difficult as it sounds. Simply put, intermittent fasting is an eating schedule that cycles between periods of fasting and then eating. It will provide you with all your required calories, but will help your body learn how to control digestion and blood sugar levels to boost your metabolism. There are multiple time intervals for intermittent fasting that you can choose from, but the most common one is fasting for 16 hours and then eating all your meals during an 8 hour time period. The easiest way to accomplish this diet is finishing dinner at an early hour so most of your 16 hour fasting periods happens during the night when you’re asleep. Overtime, intermittent fasting will have your metabolism running so efficiently that losing weight and maintaining a figure will seem like no effort at all.
6.) DASH Diet
DASH stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension”, but this does not mean that it is only good for controlling hypertension. It also happens to be a great diet for weight loss! The DASH diet is similar to the Mediterranean diet, and it is an effective diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, but low in meat and dairy. Overtime, it can be a good weight-loss option, and is also great for maintaining overall health as well.
7.) Low-Carbohydrate Diet
Much of weight gain comes from extra carbs and sugar. A simple way to minimize weight gain is just to cut back on carbs. Cut back on or avoid starchy foods, such as pasta, bread, pizza, pancakes, pastries, etc, and instead replace them with lean meats, eggs, and leafy vegetables. You might find that cutting back on carbs is an easy and effective quarantine diet change.
8.)Cut Back on Fat
This one might be obvious, but cutting back on fat combined with exercise is another great way to lose weight. Foods high in fat slow down your metabolism, and cause your cells to turn the excess energy into fat. Prevent this from happening by cutting back on fried foods, baked goods, processed food and cured meats. Once you cut back, start a daily exercise regime that will help you stay on top of keeping unwanted pounds off.
9.) Limit Portion Sizes
During meals, it’s easy to get carried away with large servings or multiple helpings, especially if you cook yourself. However, your body most likely does not need as much food as you think. Prevent this from happening by sticking to one portion per meal.
10.) Control Emotional Eating
Quarantine is an emotional rollercoaster, and emotional times can cause strong cravings for food, especially unhealthy food. While you may be tempted to turn to food for comfort when you’re stressed or bored, emotional eating is actually a huge contributor to weight gain. Luckily, there are steps that you can take to minimize this from happening. Consider tackling the root problem that is causing your cravings in the first place, such as practicing stress relief or finding ways to fight boredom. This will help turn your attention towards something else, which will minimize cravings and prevent the intake of extra and unnecessary calories. You can also take away temptation by storing healthy snacks in your home instead of junk food.
A little weight gain during quarantine is normal and nothing to be insecure about. However, if you find the motivation to shed some pounds off, consider these safe and proven tips!
Allison Havermale grew up in sunny San Diego, California. She is a senior at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and is majoring in English Language & Literature. She has a passion for food, literature, traveling, fashion, and beauty, and is hoping to pursue a writing career in one of those fields. When she’s not reading or writing, you can usually catch her at the beach or grabbing brunch with friends!