5 tips to shedding the 'quarantine 15': 'It's not just about looking in the mirror and trying to look fantastic'

Remember to consult your doctor before making major changes to your diet and exercise plan.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced Americans to stay home and juggle quarantine life, which includes: working from home, schooling kids, cooking, cleaning and worrying about our health. The anxiety can be overwhelming, and for many, snacking on our favorite foods has offered a feeling of comfort.

If you’ve noticed you’ve put on the “quarantine 15,” it’s OK and expected, says Dr. Taz Bhatia, an immune support and wellness physician, who shares with Yahoo Life five things we can do to lose (if we choose) the lockdown pounds.

“Losing weight, it's not just about looking in the mirror and trying to look fantastic,” she explains. “It's really more about your overall health.”

Eliminate comfort foods and add healthy options to jumpstart weight loss. (Photo: Getty Images)
Eliminate comfort foods and add healthy options to jumpstart weight loss. (Photo: Getty Images)

1. Ditch the comfort foods

Avoid buying cookies, potato chips and foods high in sugar and salt. Seems obvious, right? But the way comfort foods work is they show up when we need immediate relief. As a result, we’re left craving more and overeating. “When we're stressed and upset, those are the things we naturally run back to,” Bhatia says.

2. Reorganize your refrigerator

You’ve eliminated the comfort foods, now it’s time to add healthy foods to your fridge. “I would start by organizing it by category,” she says. “That's the easiest way to think about food.” Bhatia suggests a shelf dedicated to lean proteins, one to vegetables rich in fiber, and another shelf devoted to healthy fats.

3. Get moving

Getting exercise can help. (Photo: Getty Images)
Getting exercise can help. (Photo: Getty Images)

Exercise and healthy eating go hand in hand when you’re trying to shed those extra pounds. “The real secret to weight loss is that we need to move throughout the day,” Bhatia explains. Instead of putting in a full hour of a hardcore workout, try exercising three times a day for 30 minutes.

4. Fasting

Intermittent fasting has gained popularity because of its results. “Fasting creates clear boundaries,” Bhatia says. It structures your schedule, telling you when you can and cannot eat. When you fast, you put the gut in a resting state, allowing it to digest the food from the previous day.

5. Add gut-friendly foods

“One of the ways you can balance your digestion and then lose weight is by adding in gut-friendly foods,” says Bhatia. These foods include: bone broth, yogurt, kefir and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut. They offer good bacteria, which in turn helps balance the gut and improve metabolic rate.

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.

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