A survey of more than 3,000 adults found that more than 61 percent of Americans report having gained unwanted weight during the pandemic. The stay-at-home order had so many unpredictable ripple effects that impacted the way we move and eat. Think of those who used to walk to and from work every day. Even if it was just a 15-minute walk each way, that’s a 30-minute walk that’s no longer happening five days a week. It’s a good chunk of the moderate aerobic activity experts recommend, gone. Just like that. Then of course there are those who relied on the gym for their workouts. They needed the social and/or competitive environment of a public workout space to push themselves. Or maybe they simply didn’t have the room at home to work out. But the gyms shut down.
Eating habits changed, too. There’s no doubt this pandemic brought a tremendous amount of stress into our lives, and stress makes us want to eat more. What does it make us want in particular? Certainly not kale or lean chicken breast. We want comfort food. Give us the carbs and cheese and sugar. It’s kind of a shock that some people only gained 15 pounds during this time. But now with vaccines rolling out and more businesses opening up, some of us are facing the reality that we may need to slip out of our sweatpants and into real clothes again. So we got some insight from certified nutrition and wellness consultant Diamond Ivey of IV Wellness on what not to eat when trying to lose the quarantine 15.
Ditch the nutrition-less food
If you’re looking to lose weight, there isn’t room in your diet for foods that don’t provide nutrition, and there certainly isn’t room for foods that won’t make you feel full. “Avoid empty calories such as chips, cookies, ice cream, candy, soda, dressings, and sauces,” Ivey advises. “All of these foods are high in calories, have low nutritional value and will leave you still hungry.” Luckily, there are versions of all of these foods that can offer nutrition – like homemade veggie chips using things like kale or beets, flourless oatmeal cookies sweetened with dates, “frozen yogurt” made from simple blended frozen bananas, and other clever substitutions.