We’ve all heard of the “Freshman 15”. Young adults leave the comfort of their parent's house, head off to college, and for the first time they are in total control of their life. There are late nights, lots of parties, alcohol, and cheap food.
Let's face it, most college kids are on a tight budget and/or a school meal plan that isn’t the best. A lot of kids play sports in high school, but no longer play in college, and before you know it they come home for summer break with more than just their laundry.
They come home carrying the freshman 15. That’s fifteen extra pounds that they weren’t expecting to gain, that crept up from the late nights, the stress of college, and crap food.
Well now were facing a new 15; it's the quarantine 15. This coronavirus was unexpected, to say the least. We are in what feels like uncharted territory. I think it's safe to say the unknown is scary. The lack of control and answers is stressful. Our lives have been flipped upside down with no real idea of when we will get back to normal.
We are being asked to work from home, our kids’ schools have shut down, we have to figure out how to handle lesson plans while juggling work. We’re being told to social distance, stay home as much as we can, avoid contact with others. Gyms are closing, stores are closing, restaurants and night clubs are closing, public gatherings are being canceled. There are a lot of feelings within us right now…stress, fear, anxiety, uncertainty, frustration, a complete lack of being in control of our lives.
What does all of this lead to?
EMOTIONAL EATING and INACTIVITY that can very quickly lead to the quarantine fifteen. It will be easy to gain fifteen or more pounds in these next few months while we wait and work to gain control over this pandemic if you don’t have a plan in place to avoid it.
Here is how you can avoid the quarantine fifteen.
In a time where we feel completely out of control, remember there are a few very important things that are 100% IN YOUR CONTROL. You are in control of what you eat and if you move your body each day.
Healthy eating and exercise can help boost your immune system as well as your mood. “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Thank you for that very important life lesson, Elle Woods. It's time to take control of what we can. Implement these basic principles and not only will you feel more in control of your daily routine, you’ll feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally as well.
1. Stock up on produce: Fruit & vegetables (frozen or fresh or canned if necessary). If buying canned fruit try to get it in its natural juices, not in syrup. If buying canned vegetables, get the ones with no salt added.
2. Stock your cupboards with healthy food: This is what can make or break you. If you’re stocking your cupboards and pantry with crackers, cookies, chips, and other highly processed, sugary foods you’re setting yourself up to be one of the ones who gains during this time.
3. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink: I know alcohol can help relax us but it's also empty calories. I’m not saying you can’t have a drink here and there, but limit yourself to no more than 3 alcoholic beverages a week. Your best bet is wine or clear alcohol (vodka or tequila) mixed with soda water. I enjoy a good Paloma made with 1 oz tequila, Pamplemousse La Croix, and a splash of grapefruit juice.
4. Limit the number of treats and junk food you have to no more than 2 servings a week: You might be craving ice cream and cookies, but let me ask you something. What are they really going to do for you? You’ll feel good for a minute while you enjoy the taste and then it's over and all the stress & anxiety is still there. Plus you’ll probably feel guilty for overindulging, so just don’t.
5. Move your body:
Being stuck at home can make it easy to make an excuse that you can’t exercise, but living in the age of technology busts that excuse instantly. There are tons of workouts that you can do at home. I have 9 different workouts on Beachbody on Demand that you can do. Everything from cardio, to weight training to dance. Most programs require minimal to no equipment. Programs include…