Published May 17, 2021

Gained Weight During Quarantine? How To Lose It

by Helen M. Ryan

Life under lockdown gave us a lot of challenges, including the unwanted quarantine weight gain nicknamed “Covid-15.”

61% of adults had changes in their weight during the pandemic, with 2 out of 5 gaining an average of 29 pounds. That's more than 15, right?

So what can you do? I’ve got plenty of simple tips that will help you lose that quarantine weight.

Nutrition for Post-quarantine Weight Loss

EAT MORE VEGGIES. Vegetables are loaded with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Fiber helps you feel full, and many vegetables contain a lot of water, which takes up room in your stomach.

Hacks: 1) Replace part of your carbs with veggies. If you’re eating rice, have a half a serving and replace the other half with riced cauliflower or greens. 2) If pasta is on the menu, half your pasta portion and stir cooked veggies into the sauce to add volume. 3) Replace your mashed potatoes with cauliflower mash. Make vegetable soup and eat it before you eat the rest of your meal.

FILL ON FIBER: Fiber helps you feel full longer and is good for digestive health. Studies show fiber can help with weight loss. In addition to vegetables, add fruit, berries, beans, lentils, chickpeas, seeds, nuts, and whole grains to what your diet. Make sure you drink water to help your body adjust to the extra fiber of you'll be extra, uh, gassy.

Hack: Lentil, chickpea, or black bean pastas will give you a dramatic fiber boost that you won’t even notice. Chickpea pizza crust, anyone? Check.

DRINK WATER. Water helps with weight loss. In addition, water plumps your skin, helps food digest, keeps your energy levels up, relieves constipation, and keeps your kidneys healthy. How much to drink? Women need about 11 cups per day (2.7 liters), while men need 3.7 liters (about 15 cups!) About 20% of that will come from the foods you eat.

Hack: If a lot of water isn't your style, make it more exciting with:

🍋 Splashes of lemon or lime

🥒 Sliced cucumbers

🍓Sliced strawberries

🌿 Fresh mint

REDUCE ALCOHOL. If you’ve been going a little overboard during the pandemic, it’s time to cut back. Alcoholic drinks can have a lot of calories (and I mean a lot). Alcohol can also dehydrate you, so now you’ll have to drink even more water. Yikes!

Hack: Cut back. Pick lower calorie alcoholic drinks like distilled spirits mixed with sparkling water. Add a pineapple slice, mint, or something else that looks pretty.

Healthy Habits That Help You Lose the Pandemic Weight

EAT HIGH QUALITY FOODS. Make 70-80% of your daily calories nutrient dense (high quality, high nutrition, low calorie).

EAT TO LESS THAN FULL. Stop eating when you are about 80% full. You know when you eat too fast and suddenly feel very full? By stopping at 80%, you won’t feel miserable and it will naturally help you eat fewer calories.

EAT SMALLER SERVINGS. Serve your food on a smaller plate. It will make you think you’re eating more than you are. Mind. Blown.

DRINK WATER BEFORE MEALS. Drink a full glass of water about 20 minutes before eating. It will take up room in your stomach, helping you eat less.

EAT SLOWER. By eating slower, you won’t eat past your “hunger” meter. Put the fork down between bites, too. The goal is to slow down your eating so that the “satiety signals” kick in, helping you feel satisfied while eating less.

SIP. Sip water in between bites of food. Again, taking up room in your stomach while also slowing the speed you are eating at. Win-win?

MORE EFFORT FOODS. Pick foods that require a lot of chewing or effort to get to (nuts in shells, raw vegetables, oranges). It takes longer to unwrap, peel, or remove shells than it does to just grab a handful. (Macadamia nuts – the bane of my existence – come to mind. How many loose macadamia nuts can I eat? Too many. Way too many.)

CHOP STICKS SLOW EATING DOWN. Try eating with chop sticks. Unless you’re used to using them, it will take a while to eat your meal. You’ll already realize you’re getting full before you are finished with your meal. Another win, right?

INTUITIVE EATING. Don't watch TV or stare at your device during meals. Just focus on your food and enjoy the moment. The sensations. The taste.

CHAT DURING MEALS. Make small talk. The more you talk, the slower you eat (see the pattern here?).

Lose the Covid15 Weight with These Exercise Tips

USE A TIMER. (Online or on your device) and set it for 55 minutes. When the timer goes off, get up and do something to move. Movement throughout the day can help you lose weight, and also reduces your risk of diabetes. Yay us!

  • Walk around
  • Squat
  • Breathe deeply
  • Do big arm circles
  • Walk up some stairs
  • Hula hoop
  • Step
  • Dance
  • Sweep
  • Vacuum
  • Do anything to move

Lunges, mountain climbers, pushups, dips, jumping jacks, planks, and yoga are all awesome for movement breaks. Skip through the house, run between rooms, or walk with exercise bands around your knees. The bands work your booty and upper outer thighs. A lot.


The way to make daily movement very effective is to work hard during the movement breaks you take. You want to at least get a warm feeling when you’re moving your body.

You may not sweat but you will feel that you’ve gotten a little workout in.

Adding movement into your day can boost your metabolism and burn calories. It will also help you focus, be more creative, and have more energy.

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