In the early days of the shutdown, the “quarantine 15” and the “COVID-20” were merely cautionary tales. But as gyms closed and more people began working from home — or not at all — for many of us, in-home exercise regimens quickly gave way to comfort food and sourdough starters, and reality set in that our former diet and exercise routines would need a refresh.
Staying active has been a challenge in recent months, but the key to staying healthy is finding a way to adapt in a changing world. Healthy eating and exercise go hand-in-hand with accountability toward weight management, says Richard Onishi, MD, family medicine physician at Scripps Clinic Carmel Valley.
“We’re eating too much, we’re making the wrong choices and we’re deprived of our normal workout routines,” Dr. Onishi says. “When you’re watching your diet, it gives you more incentive to get to the gym and put the work in. It boils down to making the right choices.”
These five tips from Dr. Onishi will help you restart your routine, simply and safely.
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, beans, nuts and legumes are all healthy choices. Bonus: A healthy diet is an immune system booster. Learn to recognize when you’re eating in response to stress, despite not actually being hungry.
Pause for 15 minutes to think about what you’re really craving, and whether you’re using food to comfort yourself. Limiting your alcohol intake will help you avoid empty calories as well as the health risks associated with binge drinking. Also, trying drinking some water — we often mistake thirst for hunger.
Keep your refrigerator and pantry stocked with wholesome, nutritious foods instead of processed snacks that are high in sugar, sodium or fat.
“Eating fruits and vegetables throughout the day helps prevent you from overeating,” Dr. Onishi says. “When dinnertime rolls around, you’re not as hungry as you would have been if you hadn’t taken in those calories.”
“If you let yourself get very hungry, you tend to make poor choices,” Dr. Onishi says.
Walking, jogging, swimming, biking and surfing can all be done while respecting social distancing protocols. And the internet is filled with free or low-cost cardio, yoga and body-weight workout videos that can be done from the comfort of your own home.
“Even small amounts of physical activity do make a difference in your health,” Dr. Onishi says.