Avoiding The “Pandemic Pounds”

posted by Heather April 15, 2020 4 Comments

Whatever our pre-pandemic routine was likely had some sort of discipline worked into it. In other words, the schedule we kept before likely helped us settle into some sort of rhythm that instinctively kept us from mindlessly snacking all day to fill the void of boredom, drinking more caffeine and alcohol than we do now, and subbing leisurely walks in for our more intense forms of exercise that we found at the gym with our non-neighborhood friends.

What’s arguably as important right now as wearing plastic gloves and face masks is priming our bodies to fight disease.

I always fall back on our CrossFit New England 5 Pillars of Health: train (exercise), eat (nutrition), sleep (quantity and quality), think (positive mindset), and connect (relationships).

I love these because they are all so interdependent. Improving one of them, improves the others. However, letting one slip makes the others suffer, as well.

This couldn’t be more true about the way we eat. Our nutrition dictates so much of our attitude about whether we feel like exercising or not, how easy it is for us to fall asleep and how good a night of sleep we will get, how much we complain versus feel grateful for the things that happen to us, and how we treat the people around us.

While the nutrition advice doesn’t change much from what it usually is, there are a few different ways we can look at how life is different now from a month ago.

Set your environment up for success.

If you don’t bring processed foods into your home, you’re not going to have them as an option when you’re on the prowl. I LOVE tortilla chips. Since I know that, I don’t even let myself bring them home from the grocery store. If they’re here at 7:30 when I sit down to watch a movie with the family, I guarantee you I’m choosing that over carrots and hummus. I also know that if I leave a bowl of granola or trail mix on the counter for the day, my family is going to snack on that. Instead, I leave a bowl of fresh cut carrots or strawberries out to keep the decision making process simple, and healthy.

Fresh produce is still a good option.

I get it. Most of us aren’t doing our daily Prime Now grocery deliveries or running to the grocery store or market to get fresh lettuce and tomatoes for salads. But, we’re not being forced to rice and canned soup all day. There are plenty of fruits that last longer on the counter than others like apples, cantaloupe, and oranges. As far as vegetables go, things like kale, broccoli, and carrots will last longer in your fridge than Iceberg lettuce and tomatoes.

Ease up on the alcohol and caffeine.

I’ll admit, last week I caught myself falling into the daily mid-afternoon cocktail…or, two…far too easily. I had every scenario explained to myself; if the sun was out I deserved a glass of rose’ while the sun set, and a glass of red in front of a cozy fire on a rainy evening. And, we’re not even going to talk about how real that saying became for me of trying to figure when it’s too late to stop drinking coffee, and too early to start drinking wine. Both of these guys can be dangerous to our overall health. They discourage us from exercising, they keep us from making good nutrition choices and load on an enormous number of empty calories, and they destroy both our quantity and quality of sleep. Instead, we keep a warm pot of tea going all day (there’s 7 of us living here, so our tea pot gets a lot of action) and fresh cut lemon slices on the counter to keep us focused on staying hydrated instead of drunk.

Don’t multi-task.

How many times have you caught yourself staring at an empty bag of plantain chips or pretzels wondering how it magically became empty? When we eat while doing, basically, anything else, we can get into some really bad habits with mindlessly eating. Sit down at a table to eat, without your phone or computer, and think about what you’re doing: eating. When you think about it, you’re less likely to eat more than your body actually needs to.

Use this time to focus on building better habits that will become second nature when we are all released back out into the wild and into our hectic schedules. And, so we can head back into beach season without an extra 10 “pandemic pounds”.