Blame the pandemic if your pants get too tight – Toronto Sun

Posted: March 29, 2020 at 2:42 pm

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Call it the Quarantine 15.

The spread of COVID-19 has us all quarantined, locked down, confined to our homes, eating everything in it.

Snacking is the new pastime.

The only exercise I get is going back and forth to the kitchen, says Jen Belanger, 32. I bought snacks to last us a week they were gone by the second day!

And a handful is never enough. I go for a couple of chips, and back again, and before you know it Im opening a new bag of Miss Vickies! says Belanger, adding that shes cooking more for herself and her partner.

Leftovers of mac and cheese, chicken pot pie, and even lasagna are looking good for breakfast!

Shes not eating alone. According to Jennifer Powter, a weight loss and fitness expert in Calgary, theres increased temptation to eat and drink to cope with the situation.

Jennifer Poyter

Unfortunately, that extra five pounds can soon become 10 and before you know it, youre carrying around an extra 15 pounds of unwanted weight. And its not going to be due to the fact that people are eating more veggies! says Powter, author of Diet Disruption: The Weight Loss Solution for the Chronic Serial Dieter.

Boredom, loneliness, stress and fear can be huge emotional eating triggers, even for people without eating disorders, says Powter. But if you dont get on board now, with creating healthy self-isolation habits, its likely your weight will go up.

Consuming high sugar, high fat, calorie-dense foods and alcohol day after day while were housebound will make people feel lethargic, bloated, tired and needing to size up in their jeans, says Powter, a clinical exercise physiologist, and health and life coach at

When youre energetically drained, you have less emotional resiliency to cope with stressful situations which means youll rely on comfort foods, even more, to help you cope. It becomes a vicious cycle, she adds.

Our bad habits can impact us long after the COVID-19 health crisis is over.

Instead of looking at what you cant do, you need to get creative and figure out what you can do, says Powter. Get proactive and the easiest, most widely available activity is getting outside to walk. Join a free online fitness class.

Its important to create non-negotiables in your household like not eating in front of the TV, putting parameters around screen time, making sure youre nourishing yourself with adequate protein, vegetables and water, she says.

And stay connected to people, even if its virtual.

Create small goals that allow you to win. Remember, starting is the hardest part, and something is better than nothing, says Powter. Start by doing something you enjoy or trying something new. Consider joining an online community or using a fitness app that will give you some support, accountability, and guidance to keep your motivation up.

Dr. Cortney Warren

Be prepared for weight gain struggle

Clinical psychologist Dr. Cortney Warren expects many people are going to struggle with weight gain in the coming weeks. Its easy to do when we cant engage in our typical routine.

If you notice changes in your eating that you do not like, and it leads you to feel worse about yourself, pause, says Warren, of

For example, if you are emotionally eating in an attempt to feel better and not because you are hungry. Try to explore and understand what you are feeling sit with that feeling and try to work through it away from food, says Warren. Then, as you understand your emotion, be as deliberate as possible about what and when you want to eat.

The goal here is to make choices that help you get through this without gaining weight or feeling emotionally worse, and that is a journey that each of us needs to figure out for ourselves, says Warren, an associate professor of psychology a the University of Nevada.

She says it may be very useful is to think of this period as a big experiment. Start each day without judgment or self-criticism, as an observer of yourself. Try to notice your feelings, thoughts, and behaviours.

As you do, change something; try no sugar for a day, exercise by stretching in a corner when you are triggered or fearful, call a friend instead of reaching for the chips. See how it affects your day, recommends Warren.

If you act in a way that makes you feel worse, that is OK. Dont beat yourself up. This is information that you can use to help yourself in the future, she adds.

Stay healthy with fitness expert Jennifer Powters tips:

Plan out healthy meals the night before so you can feel prepared and in control. Get a water/hydration app and aim to consume three litres of water a day. Limit the amount of juice, coffee, pop you drink. Get outside and commit to being active a certain number of minutes a day. Even 10 minutes of physical activity can have positive health benefits, mentally and physically. Weigh yourself once a week to keep yourself honest. If youre now living in your comfy pants, weight creep can go undetected. Its easier to nip weight gain in the bud and stop it than it is to muster the energy to lose 20 pounds down the road. Dealing with two to three extra pounds is simply more manageable, both mentally and physically.

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Blame the pandemic if your pants get too tight - Toronto Sun

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March 29th, 2020 at 2:42 pm

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