It’s not surprising that the continued pandemic is causing increased anxiety, stress and depression. The uncertainty and isolation has taken on a more permanent role in our lives, and it’s messing with our minds.
When our mental health declines, it impacts our decision-making. We know it’s important to take care of ourselves during these challenging times, but when negative emotions take over, we often have a hard time making it happen and end up eating poorly and/or exercising less, which can quickly result in weight gain.
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Have you heard the terms “quarantine 15” and “COVID curves”? This just shows how many people are struggling. It’s tough when life gets brutally interrupted. Your routine is gone and work/life balance is nonexistent. Plus, weight gain can trigger a lot of other unpleasant emotions and behaviors like not feeling worthy, body shaming, obsessing, disordered eating, disappointment, frustration and anger.
Stop obsessing about your weight and move forward in a positive direction. Let’s take charge of the basics and create new routines. Control your controllables!
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Exercise for Your Mind
Feeling stressed, frazzled, overwhelmed, exhausted? Get out of the house and get moving — even if you can’t go to the gym or fitness studio. Take your brain out of overdrive. Bilateral movements like walking, running, bicycling or swimming have a calming effect on your nervous system. Exercise causes the release of essential neurotransmitters that stimulate brain activity and help increase your endorphins and alertness.
Think of exercise as a privilege and a reward, not an obligation or punishment for overeating. Take care of your mind first and the weight will come off. Find what motivates and excites you to move your body. Schedule exercise as if it’s a business appointment. Don’t skip it unless you’re sick in bed.
Ditch the Processed Food
Have you found yourself aimlessly walking to the fridge, thinking something new might magically appear when you open it? Spending more time at home increases temptations to eat more, even when you’re not hungry. The best thing you can do is stop the seduction all together. Don’t buy the crappy snacks and processed meals that aren’t going to help you feel energized. Replace the junk with healthy yet satisfying snacks and meals.
Pro Tip: “Crowd out” your fridge with fresh produce and fruits. Order a farm box weekly as encouragement to eat more and cook with a greater variety.
Unsubscribe From “Comparasites”
We all compare ourselves to others. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. If it motivates you and makes you dream bigger, please continue. But if you feel bad about yourself every time you scroll through your social media feed, then it’s time to unfollow and unsubscribe from certain accounts. Remember that you’re in control of your news feed. What you liked earlier this year may not be enjoyable now. You’re changing and evolving. Keep upgrading and filter all content in your life. This also counts for your inner circle.
If you have a family member, friend or partner who comments or jokes about your undesired weight gain, tell them to stop and say, “I would appreciate it if you stop commenting about my weight. It’s something I’d like to change, and your encouragement and support would be really helpful.”
You’ve got this! Celebrate small wins, be patient and, most important, love yourself.