If you gained the “Quarantine 15,” you’re not alone. The good news is that I have a plan to help you lose those extra 15 pounds. And as much as I could give you tips and tricks on how to eat healthier and workout, there are plenty of those articles and videos that already exist. Last year I wrote this 5 Abs Exercises to get you Ready for the Pool Party Season you might want to check out. For this story, we are going to focus more on that thing between our ears. Yes, the mind. I will sprinkle a couple health and fitness tips to lose the quarantine 15 throughout as well so if that’s what you came for, don’t you worry, I got you.
7 Tips to lose the ‘Quarantine 15’
Define your goals: Weight loss, muscle tone, boosted immunity
Before getting into the how of losing the Quarantine 15, let’s start with some questions. This helps us be intentional with our listening: What is the goal we want to accomplish? Is it to lose 15 pounds of body fat? To have more defined abs? Maybe it is to boost our immune system? Or perhaps it’s to help with discipline, since we are staying safer at home with different circumstances than we are used to. Whatever the case may be, let’s get really clear on our intention and why we want that goal. The how is easier when the why is strong.
Define what’s working and what isn’t
Now let’s talk about what happened and why we gained the unhealthy weight or made unhealthy decisions. I invite you to write some things down. Make a T-chart. On one side, write down what is not working. Is it your schedule, motivation, routine, environment, having to stay at home without equipment? I’m sure you can list at least 5-10 things. Write on the other side everything that is working AND how you can improve on each item. For example, if you wrote down your schedule being different, on the other side jot down, “I get to create a schedule for my day and use a planner.” Referred to as mind dumping, this technique allows you to realize how much you can control and take action on.
Zero in bad habits we acquired in quarantine
Next focus on some bad habits we can replace with good habits. The most important one is what time we are going to bed and what time we wake up. I noticed when I didn’t “have to” get up early anymore, I stayed up later and woke up later. I knew I needed to change, so I focused on having something to wake up for. That’s why I started something called Morning Mastery, which is a Zoom that anyone is invited to. We practice breath-work, movement and mindset. How you start your day, usually dictates how the rest of the day will follow, so master your own morning routine. I recommend doing something that gets you to get into a positive state of mind.
Set alarms to help with time management
After we get that down, then we can take a look at our days and map out our non-negotiables. Some examples could be movement for the day. I say movement because working out does not mean you always have to crush it with some High Intensity Impact Training (HIIT) or something really intense. Mobility and stretching are just as important. I recommend 1-2 recovery days per week where you solely focus on active recovery. These may include foam rolling, massages, acupressure, stretching, yoga, etc. Some other non-negotiables for me include family time. Something that has really helped me is setting alarms throughout the day on top of my time blocking. The alarms on my phone help me prepare for what I am about to do, so I usually set them 10 minutes early so that if I snooze, I have one minute to get ready.
Time-restricted eating, ice baths
Another health hack that I like to practice is time-restricted eating. I try to stop eating at 8 p.m. and I don’t start eating again until 10 a.m. the next day. Fasting experts believe that the more you let your digestive system rest, the more effective it will be. If you are going to be eating in a smaller window for the day, you want to make sure you are getting enough nutrients throughout the day. I eat bigger meals and snacks in between as well. (Dr. Oz is also a proponent of restricted eating, which you can explore more in “Should you skip breakfast? Dr. Oz thinks so.”) Cold showers or ice baths are also helpful. That might not sound very enticing, but there are a lot of benefits. It helps reduce inflammation and helps with blood flow. It is also a huge energy source (the best cup of coffee you’ll ever have). I try to do mine earlier in the day.
Practice nasal breathing
The last thing I want to mention is breath work. I encourage you to make breath work a part of your daily practice as well. It has helped me on so many levels. There are tons of benefits to nasal breathing. If you take away one thing, just remember: The nose is for breathing. The mouth is for eating. Breathing through the nose will help filter the air from pathogens, aid in nitric oxide production, get more oxygen to your muscle tissue and allow you to slow your heart rate down more efficiently. This in turn will lead to less stress and more control. Breathe consciously often. I would research Wim Hof. He has some amazing tools and breathing protocols. I really love cadence and box breathing for a calming breath. The super ventilation is more to oxygenate the body and feel more awake.
Setting long-term goals
Overall, take a step back and assess where you are and what you need to work on, This helps us understand what we need to do to be more successful. Remember, we are playing the long-term game. Start with small changes. Acknowledge yourself for the small wins. Make your bed, have a morning routine. Wins breed wins. We want to create long-lasting habits for our lives. Adding in some of this will be super helpful for you to feel more in control of your day. As the quote goes, “You run the day or the day runs you.”
–Blaine Strong, is a fit lifestyle entrepreneur, with a passion to help people reach their fitness goals. He’s a fitness coach, model and influencer.
Find him on https://www.blainestrong.com/