How to Beat Quarantine – Physically & Mentally
See our tips for staying on top of your health and weight loss goals while managing the challenges of staying at home virtually 24/7.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to replace personalized medical advice. A low carb diet may not be suitable for you. Consult your health care provider before making any changes to your lifestyle or use this information at your own risk.
The new normal has posed a number of challenges and changes to our lives – including the ability to stay on top of our health and wellness goals. While spending more time at home can induce cravings, overeating and a lack of exercise, it is more important now than ever to take care of our health. Learn how to beat the “Quarantine 15” in this article with our tips for how to maintain a healthy lifestyle during increased periods of time spent at home.
- Create a daily routine.
Without the regular structure of work, school and other activities, we can easily fall out of a routine. That said, as humans, we are creatures of habit and our bodies thrive when we eat and sleep at the same times every day. Doing this can keep your body running efficiently by promoting a healthy hormonal balance, optimal metabolism, and manageable hunger levels. Try setting specific times of day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and do your best to rise and sleep around the same time every day, too. Avoid straying from your schedule by more than an hour each day in order to ensure your body gets used to the same routine. Consistency will help “train” your brain to recognize mealtimes and release the appropriate hunger hormones at the same time each day, which will help you avoid mindless grazing in the kitchen. Getting good sleep every night will also keep you feeling energized instead of reaching for snacks for more fuel throughout the day.
- Take up new hobbies.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, knit your own sweater or start a social media page for your dog! Quarantine is the perfect time to create new hobbies and take advantage of more downtime spent at home. Plus, finding things to do when you’re bored can help stave off food cravings and might even spark the beginning of something great in your life! Whether these hobbies turn into a new side business or passion project, or just allow you to keep your mind off of snacking, you’ll feel a lot better about doing something else with your time besides eating. Giving our minds new challenges is also a great way to stay on top of our mental health, which can also suffer during these challenging times. Be sure to include methods for stress management into your daily or weekly routine if you are struggling with mental health and reach out to loved ones or professionals if you are feeling very low. Mental health also plays a big role in our physical well-being and ability to achieve our goals, so prioritize it above all else!
- Exercise regularly.
Although the gyms might be closed, there are tons of other ways to stay active at home! For example, there are loads of workout videos on YouTube that you can follow along right from your living room or studio. Something else that doesn’t cost a penny is getting outside as much as possible for a walk, jog or run! Being in nature is a great way to relieve mental stress and keep your body in great physical shape. Try taking different routes and exploring new areas of your neighbourhood to keep things interesting or driving to another part of town to see some completely new sights! You can also try different types of at home workouts such as yoga, pilates, Tai Chi, or dance routines designed to make you sweat.
If you are open to investing more in physical activities, you can also buy things like a treadmill or elliptical machine, dumbbells, weighted bracelets and anklets, jump ropes and resistance bands. These will take your home workouts up a notch and are a great way to still get a lot of the same benefits as you would at the gym! Or even simply buying new workout clothes, running shoes and a great pair of headphones can motivate you to get moving more often!
- Try intermittent fasting.
If you’re finding it challenging to manage weight while stuck inside, one tip for weight loss that is relatively easy to do and doesn’t require any changes to your diet is intermittent fasting. With this eating technique, you would typically skip breakfast and make sure you stop eating at a certain time every day before bed. This leaves you with a shortened eating window (usually 6-10 hours) and allows your body more time to burn through excess stores of fat while you fast. During your eating window, you can eat as much as you like – the important thing is just the timing! You don’t have to follow any specific dietary rules, but ideally you should focus on eating nutrient-dense foods to ensure your body is getting everything it needs to function during this limited time frame. Some of these foods may include fruits, vegetables, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds, lean meat and fish, and healthy fats (coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, etc.).
When we fast, our bodies go into ketosis, an alternative metabolic state whereby the body uses fat as fuel instead of glucose from carbohydrates. Although it takes a while for your body to become optimally adapted to this fat-burning state, with enough consistency, you should see improvements in your body weight, cholesterol levels and blood glucose levels. Some people even report better physical endurance and improved sleep while practising intermittent fasting! And of course, one of the main benefits of intermittent fasting is appetite control. Since you are limited to eating during certain hours (and if you stick to that schedule!), there is less opportunity for excessive snacking. Plus, as the body gets used to this new pattern of eating, you may actually find that you are less peckish and have a lower appetite overall.
- Stock your kitchen with healthy options.
While you can’t ensure you won’t feel like snacking from time to time, you can make sure that you at least have some healthy options available. Here are our suggestions for convenient, healthy snacks to have on deck at all times:
- Washed and chopped fruit and vegetables (tip: refrigerate chopped celery and carrot sticks in a jar filled with water to make them last longer!)
- Raw nuts and seeds – see conveniently packaged and lightly flavoured nuts from Handfuel!
- Cheese snacks – high in protein and fat to keep you full! Plus, no added sugars or hidden carbs that can lead to weight gain.
- Grass-fed beef jerky – high in protein and made with clean ingredients.
- KZ Clean Eating High Fibre Crackers and Crispbreads (keto-friendly)
- Nolaa Granolaa Keto Powder Blend Granola in a snack-sized pouch! Browse our full selection of low carb granolas here, too.
- Low Carb, High Protein and Keto-Friendly Nutrition Bars
- Quick N Yummy Keto Mug Cake Mixes – great for sweet cravings and ready in minutes!
In general, try to choose snacks that are high in fat or protein as these will keep you full for long periods of time and provide you with energy. If you are just a little hungry, grab something high in fat such as half an avocado, a handful of nuts, a few slices of cheese or a keto-friendly nutrition bar. If you feel very hungry between meals, you are probably lacking in protein! Protein gets broken down by our bodies slowly, so it provides long lasting satiation. Try snacking on beef jerky, Greek yogurt, canned tuna or salmon, some cooked chicken or turkey, or hard-boiled eggs. Or, have a protein bar or protein shake.
- Eat enough fibre.
Fibre helps keep us full for long periods of time and regulates our blood sugar levels so we don’t experience energy crashes that cause us to crave sugar. Load up on fibre during meals so you feel less hungry in between. If you feel hungry at the end of a big meal, chances are you didn’t include enough fibre.
Fruits and vegetables are some of the best sources of fibre, as well as other important vitamins and minerals that improve our immune systems! Some low carb fruits include blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, cherries, watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew melon. Non-starchy vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli, celery, cucumber and cauliflower, are also safe for low carb diets and rich in fibre.
Another way to incorporate more fibre into your diet is with natural fibre supplements like oat fibre, psyllium husk powder, flaxseed meal and ground chia seeds; they can be sprinkled over just about anything for a boost of fibre and nutrients that will keep you satiated (skip pills and powders from the drug store!). Plus, they are low in carbs and safe for keto dieters.
- Hydrate instead of satiate!
You’ve probably heard before that our brains can sometimes confuse hunger with thirst. This is definitely important to keep in mind to avoid overeating. Aim to drink 2-3L of water a day if you are a woman, and 3-4L if you are a man. If you feel peckish at any point during the day, try drinking a glass of water and waiting 20-30 minutes to see if you are still feeling hungry. If so, grab one of the healthy snack options we mentioned in tip #5! If not, problem solved! Plus, hydration is key for healthy cells, proper metabolism, and better sleep, cognition and moods.
When you feel like snacking, you can also try drinking your favourite tea with a few drops of a natural sweetener. This can help satisfy your cravings without costing you as many calories as a solid food snack. Plus, many teas have additional health benefits besides boosting hydration such as improving digestion, increasing relaxation and providing antioxidants that can boost the immune system. Green and herbal teas tend to have the most benefits, while fruit-flavoured teas can mimic the same flavours as some of your favourite sweets! Ginger tea is also a great option when you want to stave off cravings because it suppresses appetite. For something a bit more substantial, you can also make a low carb hot chocolate or tasty coffee beverage. See our article on the best low carb tea and coffee beverages!
Stay Connected – and Stay Safe!
We’re all finding it tough to manage our health during testing times, but we hope that this article provided you with some useful tips to get back and stay on track. Stay safe by minimizing your exposure to high risk areas and prioritize your health in case you do come in contact with contagions.
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