Did you gain the “quarantine 15”? If so, you are not alone. A recent survey found that nearly 71 million Americans gained weight during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a country where obesity is on the rise, this is cause for concern.
Carrying too much extra weight can contribute to an increased risk for heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. The disease of obesity is also a risk factor for having severe complications from COVID-19 infection. Keep in mind, a healthy body mass index (BMI) is between 18.9 and 24.9. A BMI of 25-29.9 is considered overweight and a BMI of 30+ is considered obese. You can calculate your BMI here.
Taking action to lose the extra pounds is an important step to improving your health. Here are 10 ways you can jump start weight loss:
- Keep a food journal – People are often surprised by what and how much they are eating once they start tracking their nutrition. You will start to see exactly where you need to make changes to the foods you are consuming. You can record in a journal or use an app like MyFitnessPal™ or Lose It!™ – which ever will help you stay consistent.
- Eat at home – You maintain greater control over the food you eat and how it is prepared by eating at home. This will allow you to reduce the amount of salt, sugar, and fat consumed, which can lead to a reduction in calories.
- Meal plan – As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. While it may require a bit of work, planning and prepping your meals in advance will make it easier to stick to your nutrition plan.
- Increase the quality of the food you eat – Eat more plant-based, whole foods by incorporating non- starchy vegetables into your day. This can be as simple as making a few food swaps. For example, swap in whole grain or zucchini noodles in place of regular pasta.
- Practice mindful eating – Are you experiencing true hunger or is it possibly emotional or environmental? When you practice mindful eating, you can identify what true hunger feels like. Knowing your body’s signals can help you stick with healthier portion sizes, stop eating before you feel full, and ultimately eliminate extra calories you do not need.
- Weigh yourself – It is important to keep yourself accountable and have ways to monitor progress. Weighing yourself on a regular basis can provide this support. However, your weight on a scale is not the only way to monitor progress and success. You can also look at non-scale tools, or what I like to call non-scale successes. For example, putting on the same pair of non-stretchy pants each week and determining their looseness. Or, rating your endurance with daily activities, like climbing the stairs.
- Exercise in the morning – Getting enough physical activity can help you shed pounds. But a lot of people find it is harder to squeeze in a workout later in the day. Studies show those who workout in the morning are more consistent with regular exercise. Often this is because there are fewer things to distract you.
- Drink more water throughout the day – Many times people feel hungry when they are actually thirsty. In order to stay hydrated, always keep a water bottle with you. This will serve as your reminder to get the recommended minimum of 64 ounces of water per day.
- Eliminate late night eating – Studies show eating late at night can increase blood sugar and reduce your body’s ability to metabolize fat. Instead, let your body use the fuel it already has stored.
- Find a weight loss partner or buddy – Making a long-term behavior change requires support. Partnering with a weight loss buddy will provide the accountability, support and encouragement you both need over the long haul.
Edward-Elmhurst Health’s Endeavor Health® Weight Management program offers lifestyle, medical, and surgical weight loss options. We take an individualized approach for each patient and provide ongoing support to help you achieve lasting success.
We also have Jump Start Your Health with Group Lifestyle Balance ™️. Jumpstart Your Health is a group-based year long lifestyle change program designed to help people lose weight, increase activity, and prevent disease. The research-based curriculum helps individuals make lasting lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and ultimately develop healthy lifestyle habits.
Want to learn more about Edward-Elmhurst Health’s Endeavor Health® Weight Management or Jump Start Your Health programs? Visit us online or call 331-221-6100 to schedule an appointment and 630-527-6363 for class registration.