By: Ginelle Ruffa, Ginelle Ruffa Fitness
Have you stepped onto the scale recently and noticed a slight or even significant numerical increase? If so, you’re not alone. According to recent WebMD polls, approximately 47% of women and 22% of men in our nation have reported significant weight gain during the 2020 pandemic lockdown, often referred to as the “quarantine 15” weight gain epidemic.
What are the primary culprits of this quarantine weight gain?
Stress, a sedentary lifestyle, sleep deprivation, and sugary and salty snacks: the perfect formula for the dreaded quarantine fifteen weight gain epidemic! While we know that a sedentary lifestyle, combined with consuming excessive amounts of processed foods leads to excess weight gain, we may not be completely aware of the more silent causes of weight gain: stress and sleep deprivation.
How Stress Causes Weight Gain: Physiological stress releases hormones adrenaline and cortisol in the body, placing the body in “fight or flight” mode, releasing glucose into the bloodstream for a sudden burst of energy. This cortisol release inhibits the body’s insulin production resulting in stored belly fat and sugar cravings. Hence the stress/weight gain correlation.
How Sleep Deprivation Causes Weight Gain: Additionally, sleep deprivation plays a pivotal role in silent weight gain. Sleep is nutrition for the brain and vital organs. Therefore sleep deprivation causes us to become metabolically groggy. Most people require between seven to nine hours per night of uninterrupted sleep. When we obtain less than that, we wreak havoc on our hormones. Similar to stress, lack of sleep results in elevated cortisol levels, while also decreasing the body’s ability to properly process insulin, causing the body to store energy. Additionally, sleep deprivation increases the hormone ghrelin (which increases hunger), while decreasing the hormone leptin (which sends satiation signals to the brain to decrease hunger)
So, what should we do to drop the “quarantine 15”?
1. Get Moving!
Take breaks throughout your “work from home” day to go on a walk, do a few jumping jacks, or even a couch workout like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMWztAho_Do
If you need a little extra motivation, guidance, and variation, join us for a live zoom workout, happening daily! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register and secure your spot!
2. Plan your meals the night before.
Just as if you were packing your lunch for work, meal prep for your “work from home” days. Pre-portioning our meals ensures a balanced consumption of nutrients. Aim for multiple servings of vegetables, moderate fruits, healthy fats, and lean protein at each meal.
If you’d like to receive personalized nutritional consulting, schedule a free health history consult with Ginelle (email: email@example.com or text 814-464-6247).
1. Put the phone away and ZZZZZ
It’s true: early to bed, early to rise makes one healthy, wealthy, and wise. Research shows that falling asleep before midnight is most beneficial to maximize bodily repairs and sustain a healthy circadian rhythm. Set a bedtime alarm and aim to limit screen time one hour before bed.
2. Take a deep breath!
The effects of stress are significant on our health. Intentionally reducing stress through lifestyle practices is essential in maximizing weight loss results and improving health. Give these stress management techniques a try:
Start your day with a gratitude journal.
Take a silent walk and enjoy nature.
Take an epsom salt bath.
Listen to relaxing music.
Spend quality time with a loved one.
Remain consistent with these action steps and watch the number on the scale come back down. Remember, take a deep breath, commit to the plan, and stay focused on your goals!
For more health and fitness motivation, let’s connect!