We know the struggle is real.
If you've been sitting at home bingeing on Doritos and MRE lemon pound cake and think you're not going to gain weight, you're sorely mistaken.
Now, the time to establish a new routine is upon you, at least, if you want to avoid excessive weight gain as a result of sitting on your butt and snacking during this quarantine.
Fortunately, some amount of snacking is acceptable. Still, to avoid gaining too much weight, you should consider a few tips to keep your calorie intake in check.
Here are a few good ideas to help you out.
1. Eat important food first
Shop for it first too. This is a nice kit that prioritizes fiber and complex carbs first.
U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. William Gizara
Sure, it's okay to eat some chips and maybe a few cookies from time to time. But if you're eating these kinds of foods in excess every day that you're locked in your home, you're going to gain weight in the bad way, not the good way.
The funny thing is, this tip is so simple and logical. It's so simple that most people don't even consider it.
If you've found that your will power to eat healthy food has declined during this quarantine, a simple trick is to eat healthy first.
If you're tempted by high-calorie snacks like chips or cookies or even craving pizza during your downtime, try to fill up first with healthier foods. Foods like cottage cheese, a salad, some jerky or a protein shake are all great options.
Even though these foods might not be your first choice when you're craving sweets, eating them first can help fill you up. As a result, you'll eat less junk food.
Better yet, you'll fill up on foods high in protein and fiber, which is a smart move always.
2. Stock up on healthy snacks
Apples last a long time and are so sweet these days that you could hardly tell the difference between one and candy with you eyes closed... and no idea what what candy tastes like.
Photo by Michelle Gordon
If you know that you're snacking more than usual during your quarantine, make a compromise to "snack healthy" as often as you can.
For example, snacks like jerky, fruit, rice cakes, veggie chips, nuts in moderation, and other protein snacks are good alternatives to traditional junk food snacks.
Best of all, you can even make great tasting snacks that are healthy too.
Another healthy idea is to make small "egg muffins" by using a muffin tray and cracking an egg into each slot. Then, add small amounts of tomato, spinach, broccoli, and diced ham before baking. These muffins are a great way to snack on something savory while prioritizing healthy proteins, fats, and fiber from the vegetables.
Also consider some keto friendly snacks if you're really trying to stay away from sugars and carbs.
3. Pay attention to alcohol use
Just write it down so you can keep track. We all know counting gets harder after that 3rd beer.
Courtesy photo by Spc. Harrison Clark
If you drink, there's a strong chance you've felt the urge to drink a little more during this time of self-isolation.
There's nothing wrong with drinking in moderation. But drinking too much with reduced activity can increase your chance of gaining weight and developing bad habits.
If you do drink, do your best to be conscientious about your use and avoid pairing it too often with high-calorie options.
Pro Tip: To prevent a hangover consider day drinking… seriously! Here's why.
4. Earn your snacks
If you're not training... you're wrong. That should be abundantly clear by now.
U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Garret Smith
Typically, telling someone to "earn" junk food is a bad idea because it can create bad habits and an unhealthy relationship with food.
However, times are a bit different now. Staying at home more means it's easier to be lazier. As a result, it's not a bad idea to earn your snacks if it helps you stay active.
Of course, it's a smart idea to moderate your snacking regardless of exercising or not.
But, if you're less active and eating more, it might be helpful to make exercise mandatory before you indulge. Just take this suggestion for what it's worth and return to your regular habits once these quarantine orders pass.
5. Fill up on high volume, low-calorie foods
This is the opposite of high volume low calorie. Steak sandwich is high fat, high carb, high calorie, low fiber. It's one saving grace is the steak.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Webster Rison
Popcorn should be your best friend during this quarantine.
Why? Because popcorn offers a ton of food volume to fill your stomach, has fiber, and is low-calorie. Unless, of course, it's drenched in butter. Opt for the kind you do in a pot on your stovetop, not the microwavable version.
Plus, it tastes incredible.
All of these variables mean that it will help fill you up but not break your calorie allowance for the day.
But there are more options than popcorn:
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Salad with low-calorie dressing
- Raw veggies with a little ranch dressing
- Whole fruit (avoid juice)
Even though these foods do have calories, these are good options for filling up while keeping those calories low.
These are obvious.... I know.
Just be mindful of how you shop. If you buy crap you'll eat like crap.
Photo by 1st Lt. Daniel de La Fe
If you said to yourself at any point in this article something like: "No shit! This is basic stuff." then I encourage you to actually reflect on if you actively do some of these.
If so, let me know at email@example.com and tell me how you actually implement these tips.
Nine times out of ten we tell ourselves we're going to do one of these but never take any actual steps to do it. Write it down! Put it on a post it on your fridge or write it on the top of your shopping list next time you go for groceries. Just a little reminder will boost your success rate exponentially.
Quarantine time is the perfect time to start holding yourself to a higher standard, it's a nice controlled environment.
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