You know what I’m talking about! The Quarantine 15 is something we’ve been joking about on social media, with our friends and anywhere else we get sympathizers. But it’s also a real thing.
“The Quarantine 15” the name, title, sound byte we’ve given to the extra weight many of us (read: most of us) have put on during the quarantine of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Another suitable nickname for the additional poundage, “couch calories.”
We Are NOT Going To Beat Ourselves Up! we’re not the target. the extra weight Quarantine 15 is!
I appreciate that we’re making light of it because it’s better to laugh than cry. Plus, it’s not anything we should beat ourselves up about. Seriously. It’s no one’s fault. It reared its ugly head both quickly and silently, all at once even. So, we are not going to get upset with ourselves over it. Instead, we are going to beat it!
We didn’t invite the Quarantine 15 over for a visit, and we are certainly not going to invite it in for tea or coffee. No, let’s disintegrate it!
Afterall, it’s hard enough to maintain our weight without having all of the gyms closed down. We’ve got hormones, age, fast food, junk food, work, our endless list of to-dos – and now we’ve got nowhere to go and nothing to do. We are all working from home, and it’s a new thing for most people.
Let me tell you, it can be difficult to start working from home, just a few yards from the kitchen that may have an endless supply of snacks meant for our teenagers.
One of the things I noticed pretty early on during quarantine is that my regular exercise routine, which is fairly intense (45-60 minutes 6 days per week), was no longer cutting it. Not at all. I had to add an additional 3 mile walk on top of my exercise routine, almost daily.
Why? Well, when I’m not in quarantine, I stay active a lot of the day. I run errands, pick-up and drop off kids, grocery shop, attend my kiddo’s school events, etc. But during quarantine, there have been days (plural) where I haven’t left the house other than to exercise outdoors.
At this point you probably understand how it’s possible to not leave home for days, but in case you don’t, let me explain. My home office (which doubles as a workout room) is less than 50 feet from my bedroom and the kitchen. There you have it. Do you follow?
I spend most of my day in my office, the kitchen and laundry room. If I am honest, I try to avoid going upstairs. It’s not because I avoid climbing the stairs. It’s because I can get pretty upset if and when the upstairs is not being kept up the way I’d like it to be. In other words, my kids are slobs. Don’t shame me for speaking the truth. It actually feels pretty good to talk about it openly. I’ll try it again…my kids don’t like to pick-up their shoes, socks, clothes, backpacks or anything else.
The funny thing is that I find the most trash and laundry next to the trash cans and laundry baskets. Hmmmmm. When you figure that one out, let me know. My least favorite thing is when they put clean clothes in the dirty laundry, because they don’t want to put it away. And so I digress.
Bottom line, I am not walking up and down the stairs, back and forth to my car or all over the airport terminal (lots of work travel over the past decade). Instead, I walk back and forth to fold a load of laundry, make lunch or take a potty break. Otherwise, I am desk-bound. And that’s not a good look.
Let’s take a look at the calorie burn I am missing (more or less) daily because of quarantine…Remember that your numbers may be very different than mine depending on your weight, metabolism, genetics, etc.
I highly recommend getting a solid heart rate monitor that estimates calorie burn. This will help you better match what you’re eating to what you’re burning. It is good to take note of that regularly. This is the one I have, and I LOVE IT!
HOW PEOPLE ARE GAINING THE QUARANTINE 15…
A fair estimation of the calories I burn per workout is 350 (sometimes more and sometimes less). I am petite and may burn less per session than you do, but let’s be conservative here. As I explained earlier, my daily activity (outside of quarantine) burns around the same number of calories as my workouts do.
When we take that 350 calorie burn (from my daily activity outside of exercise) and multiply it by 7 days per week, we get 2,450 calories a week. Since we know there 3,500 calories in a pound, you can see how putting on a pound a week is not hard to do, even if you don’t change your eating or exercise habits.
This pandemic and the quarantine that followed has being going about 20 weeks so far. This means that if I hadn’t course corrected (added the hour daily walk), I could have gained about 14 pounds in this short span of time. No kidding! That’s cra cra!
20 Weeks x 2,450 Calories per week= 49,000 less calories burned over quarantine
49,000 calories / 3500 calories in a pound = 14 pounds
THE reason people are gaining weight during this quarantine is because they are not “doing” their regular day; running to the market, walking around the office, meeting friends for a walk at lunch, coaching their kids soccer, baseball, etc.
To add insult to injury, you’ve got people who eat when they’re bored, anxious or stressed, and the Covid 19 pandemic has caused quite a bit of anxiety and stress. Boredom comes from not having our regular entertainment readily available.
I am not condoning this type of coping, rather pointing it out.
How do you change it? Great question. You now, presumably, have “more” hours in a day….HA!..if only. You may not have more hours in a day, but you likely have more time, because you’re not doing those things I mentioned above or having to commute back and forth to the office.
My guess is that you’re using that additional time to get ahead at work (or to catch-up more likely) or get home projects done or look for a job (if this is you, I am in your corner, and I know you will land somewhere better than where you were).
Here is what I want you to do, change things. AGAIN. It’s time for you to catch-up or get ahead for yourself. It’s time for you to be the “project.” It’s time, and I am sure you have waited long enough to get it. TAKE IT! It’s yours, and you can make decisions about what to do with it. Tell you kids “no” for the first time ever! It’s actually good for them to learn resourcefulness and to entertain themselves.
You’ve now got the time to create some healthy habits. You are most successful doing this with something called habit stacking. Habit stacking is when you add an action/event (something you’d like to turn into a habit) to another habit. For example, You likely wash your hands a lot right now, but let’s just say you wash them 3 times per day, before each meal. You could stack a set of squats, jumping jacks or pushups to your hand washing habit. Wouldn’t it be cool to have done 30+ push-ups each day? Think of how quickly that could become a new habit.
Another habit stacking idea could be doing a 2 minute wall-sit while you are brushing your teeth, twice a day. Or, after you take your dog for a walk, go run for 10 minutes. You can even make a game out of it. Each time you hear a certain word, run or march in place for 5 minutes. You could change the word each day or even add a word a day. How fun!
In addition to considering home habit stacking ideas, here’s what I want you to do…
- If you’ve stopped workout out, it’s time to start again.
- Check out my “9 and 1/2 Little-Know Weight Loss HACKS” PDF. It gives some of my very favorite weight loss hacks, ones that I”ve proven out, personally. Sign up for it for FREE above.
- Get outside. I live in Houston, so I do understand hot summer weather. But do it anyway. Go outside, and get your vitamin D. You need it!
- When you’re outside, walk! You can walk your dog. You can walk your kids. Heck, if your cat likes to walk, that works too.
- When you’re walking, do something you enjoy. This is a perfect time for you to figure out you – figure out what you’re interested in (besides your kids and meals and clean laundry). Consider this your RX for walking & doing something else.
- Listen to that book you’ve put of reading for, I dunno, 10 years. 🙂
- Listen to a podcast. I love podcasts! I learn, laugh and have even been known to cry while listening.
- Walk with a friend. Catch-up (while social distancing of course).
- Cook and eat at home. While we’re all at home, kids and parents alike, consider taking this opportunity to cook together and eat at home. Eating out less has weight LOSS potential if you cook healthy foods at home.
- Be aware of what you’re eating. Before you put something in your mouth, as yourself (outloud) 1- Why am I eating? 2- Is what I am about to eat going to satisfy my reason for eating? 3- Be thankful for what you’re about to eat. Say a thanks outloud (through prayer or otherwise). 4- Eat it! 5- Enjoy eating it.
That’s right. You heard me. I don’t want you counting calories or restricting yourself to ice water and broccoli juice (If this is a regular meal for you, I am sorry). I am not going to ask you to go on a diet, because I’d rather you focus your energy towards fueling your body rather than filling it.
It’s difficult to find a long term study that shows dieting as an effective strategy. Typically, dieters gain their weight back and then some within 12 months. So, refuse to do a fad diet or to be fixated on your weight. In the long run I can tell you that does NOT work! Instead, it’s time to pick up those hand weights and get moving!
Pick yourself up! Don’t beat yourself up!
What I want you to commit to not do is beat yourself up. Instead, pick yourself up! What I’ve seen over the years is that when you don’t accept and love yourself and body, where you are today, your body will not release the weight you’re trying to lose. It’s not scientific, but it’s completely my experience training people, individually and as a group, over the years. Try this…what do you have to lose?
Look in the mirror – NAKED- each morning, stare yourself down and tell yourself 5 things you like and appreciate about your body. Consider the following, when you can’t think of anything to say…
I like/love am appreciative of:
1- my legs and the ability to walk.
2- the dexterity of my fingers and how they show-up for me whenever I ask.
3- the way I smile with my eyes when talking about my kids.
4- how tall/petite I am.
5- my curves.
6- my athletic calves.
7- the way my arms quickly tone-up when I start lifting weights.
8- my sophisticated palate and the ability to distinguish different wines.
9- how flexible I am!
10- how my body has so expertly birthed babies.
Alright, it’s your turn. Time to take the reins back or pull them tighter. You are strong and can do hard things. Let’s take control of our health, including our weight. Let’s care for ourselves the way we care of our children. Yes, you can!
Grab my “9 and 1/2 Little-Known Weight Loss HACKS” PDF below. It’s FREE and contains some of my best weight loss hacks, that I’ve personally proven out over the years!