If you have gained some weight during the lockdown, you’re not alone. Over the past several months, many of us have been forced to spend most of our time at home, with gyms closed, unlimited access to snacks, and perhaps your new-found baking hobby. This change of lifestyle has caused weight gain for many.
However, now that summer is here, you might be ready to get back on track, lose the extra weight, and prevent further weight gain.
There is no magical solution to erase the pounds, but there are certain habits you can adopt today to start helping you reach your goals and feel your best. Keep in mind that the best and most sustainable approach to weight loss is slow and steady, with adopting habits that are realistic and sustainable.
Here are 6 tips to help you lose the “quarantine 15” so you can take control of your health:
1. Focus on Nutrient Density
Eating a diet rich in nutrient-dense food is a great way to manage your weight. Many nutrient-dense foods are often naturally lower in calories, higher in water and fiber, which enables you to eat larger volumes and feel full without overeating. The idea here is to adopt a lifestyle of eating cleaner, but not necessarily less.
Nutrient-dense foods are those that contain many macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients are carbs, fats, and proteins, while micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. In fact, studies show that consuming many nutrient-rich foods can help increase metabolism, improve health, and enable us to more efficiently burn fat and lose weight (1).
By focusing on the quality of foods we are eating, rather than counting calories, we are likely to feel more satisfied on fewer calories. Plus, by fueling our bodies with adequate vitamins and minerals, our metabolism can work more effectively to burn fat and increase muscle. It’s best to choose foods without added sugar, salt or oils, and instead increase flavor naturally with fresh herbs and spices, vinegar, and citrus.
Some simple ways to ensure you are consuming nutrient-dense foods is to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, consume lean protein, and plenty of healthy fats.
Adding a greens superfood powder into your daily routine is a great way to boost your vitamin and mineral intake to assist with weight loss. Our super greens powder is a superfood blend that contains vitamin K, potassium, and calcium, and would be a simple way to increase nutrient density in your diet.
2. Ensure Adequate Protein
Protein may in fact be the single most important nutrient for weight loss. Consuming a diet high in protein can increase metabolism, help you feel fuller for longer, and can even positively regulate hormones that affect weight (2).
You may be wondering how much protein you should be eating on a daily basis. Most adults need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
For example, a person weighing 160 pounds would need about 58 grams of protein. However, with increased physical activity and a goal of weight loss, consuming 1.2-1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight may be more appropriate. This would mean the 160-pound person may need 87-109 grams of protein daily (3).
When thinking about meeting your protein needs in a given day, it is important to spread your protein intake out over meals and snacks. This is because our bodies can only utilize about 25-30 grams of protein in a given sitting.
To maximize protein utilization, it’s best to consume protein at each meal and snack. Protein powders can be an important staple in many healthy diets, as it’s an easy way to help meet your protein needs.
A high-quality grass-fed whey protein powder that can make a fantastic addition to your routine. The high-quality whey protein is free of additives and sweeteners that can actually end up impeding upon weight loss goals. Plus, with 25 grams of complete protein per serving, this blend provides your body with exactly what it needs.
Ensuring adequate hydration is one of the most important things you can do for your health and weight. We can find ourselves hungrier than usual when we’re dehydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially between meals. This helps to reduce the tendency to snack when we may not even be hungry (4).
As a rule of thumb, aim to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces each day. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should aim to drink 70oz of water each day. Keep in mind that caffeinated drinks are dehydrating, so you should drink an extra glass of water for each cup of coffee or caffeinated tea you consume.
4. Increase Your Fiber Intake
Along with protein, fiber is key to healthy eating and weight management. Fiber is a nutrient from plants that travels through our digestive tracts undigested. It provides bulk and helps maintain regular digestion, lowers cholesterol, and can help get rid of toxins. It also helps improve satiety which in turn helps with weight management. Research shows that eating enough fiber can help us eat less overall which in turn enhances weight loss and can help maintain healthy body weight (5).
Most Americans fall short of meeting their fiber goals. Consuming at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, choosing whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats, and eating plenty of nuts and seeds are all ways to help increase fiber intake. It is recommended that females consume at least 25 grams of fiber daily, and men consume at least 38 grams of fiber daily.
There are also some high-quality health foods on the market that can be a lifesaver when it comes to weight loss, such as protein bars or high-fiber crackers. If opting for a protein bar, look for brands with at least 5 grams of fiber and at least 10 grams of protein per serving.
Naked bars contain 7 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein, making them a fantastic, nutrient-dense snack. Not to mention, it contains minimal ingredients and is gluten and soy-free.
5. Get Regular Sleep
Studies show a link between inadequate sleep and excess weight. If you’re not getting enough high-quality sleep, you may have an imbalance with your hunger and fullness hormones: ghrelin and leptin.
Have you ever noticed that you feel like a bottomless pit after a night of terrible sleep? This is because of our hunger hormone, ghrelin, which increases when our bodies have not gotten adequate rest (6).
If your sleep habits have changed during the past several months of quarantine, aim to reset your habits. Strive for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Perhaps set your phone alarm 1 hour before you would like to go to sleep. This alarm can become a signal that it’s time to wind down and get ready for bed. Try practicing calming activities such as a hot shower, meditation, calming music, reading, or having a cup of tea.
Practicing healthy sleep habits and ensuring to get enough sleep is just as important as healthy eating and exercise. Having healthy sleep habits helps to regulate your hunger hormones, leading to reduced intake, and can give you the energy you need to engage in regular exercise, which brings us to the last tip for losing the quarantine 15: get moving.
6. Get Moving
After being inside and at home for many months, getting back into a regular exercise routine may seem daunting. However, there’s no need to jump from zero to one hundred. Start small with baby steps, and work your way up to an exercise regimen that feels achievable and sustainable.
Whether you decide to go for a walk or a run, take an online yoga or strength-training class, or simply dance around your kitchen, all movement counts. Aim to move your body for at least 30-60 minutes every day. Ideally, work your way up to a combination of strength and flexibility training as well as cardio.
In particular, HIIT workouts can be a great exercise choice as they can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. For more intense workouts, consuming a pre-workout supplement can be quite helpful to give you the energy to have a more effective sweat sesh. Look for pre-workouts with no artificial additives.
Naked Energy is a clean pre-workout supplement that contains caffeine, creatine, arginine, and several B vitamins to enhance your athletic performance. In fact, research shows that L-arginine, an ingredient in Naked Energy, improves endurance for cardio and resistance training exercise (7).
Final thoughts on losing the quarantine 15
With a bit of determination, focus, and repetition, you can incorporate these six tips into your daily wellness routine to help you achieve your goals. Keep in mind that your health doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. Perhaps start with incorporating just two of these strategies into your daily routine and your future, healthier, and more energized self will thank you.