The "Quarantine 15" is totally real, and it's not a club you're incredibly happy about joining.
The weekly DoorDash deliveries.
The nightly comfort snacks.
The lack of gym access.
If being home-bound for months has taught you anything, it's that your metabolism isn't quite what it used to be.
And now, you're ready to take the reins and make an effort to slim down.
Fortunately, you don't have to wait for your gym to reopen to cut some weight. You can absolutely shed a few pounds without having to leave the house at all.
So let's review seven tried-and-true at-home weight-loss strategies.
1. Try High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Of all the common excuses people make for not exercising, a lack of time is one of the most popular.
About 42% are “too busy” to work out.
With a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session — it only has to last ten minutes (or less!). But you can burn an impressive 15 calories/minute.
That’s 150 calories (equal to two chocolate chip cookies).
If you’re stuck at home, you can pick your favorite HIIT method. Hop on the treadmill, whip out the jump rope, or even venture through the neighborhood.
Do 30 seconds at a high-intensity.
Slow it down for 30-60 seconds.
Not only will you burn up to 150 calories in 10 minutes, but you’ll also send your metabolism into overdrive for a little while after your HIIT training.
2. Keep Track Of Your Diet With a Food Tracker App
Do you know how many calories you should be eating a day to lose weight?
Hint: It’s not 2,000 like we’re all led to believe!
If you don’t have the slightest idea, your weight issue likely stems from an improper diet lacking nutrients.
Regain control with a food tracker app (like MyFitnessPal).
Most importantly, it’ll recommend a calorie intake based on your fitness goals.
Each day, you’ll log every meal you eat, down to the ingredient. The app will then show you how many calories and nutrients you get with each meal.
Now you can see where you’re going wrong.
You may find that you're eating 1,000 extra calories a day. Or accidentally ingesting a high-sugar diet that's packing on the pounds. Even worse, you might not be getting essential vitamins and minerals.
You’ll find yourself second-guessing that midnight snack.
3. Clear Out the Pantry (and Fill It Back Up)
When you’re stuck at home, you have 24/7 access to whatever food you have stockpiled in your pantry and refrigerator.
Unfortunately, these comfort foods are only adding on pounds.
Set aside a few hours this weekend and look at every single food item in your house.
Get rid of foods that are high in:
Feel free to donate unopened items to your local food bank!
Then, make a quick trip to the grocery store and restock your pantry and refrigerator with healthier snack alternatives.
Choose foods like Greek yogurt, berries, fruit, granola bars, hummus, and more.
If you’re going to snack, at least nourish your body with low-calorie, healthy foods.
4. Get Up & Start Logging Those Steps
The more time you spend lounging on the couch and sleeping when you’re stuck inside, the more your metabolism begins to slow.
It’s time to ignite your metabolism, burn some calories, and log some steps.
For every extra 1,000 steps you take, you can burn an additional 50 or so calories.
It slowly begins to add up, so get up and get moving.
Walk laps around the house between episodes during your Netflix binge-a-thon. Jog in place during commercial breaks. Clean the whole house from top to bottom.
Add an extra 5,000 steps and shed 250 calories (that’s a small serving of French fries).
5. Squeeze In Five 30-Minute Workouts a Week
The CDC and every other health organization recommend 150 minutes of exercise a week, or five 30-minute workouts.
But nobody wants to be on the treadmill five times a week, right?
Switch it up and keep things interesting.
In a half-hour, a person weighing 154 pounds can melt off:
Hiking: 185 calories
Running: 295 calories
Walking: 230 calories
Basketball: 220 calories
By just doing the bare minimum, you can shed ⅓ of a pound a week (about 1,000 calories) only by adding 150 minutes of exercise to your routine.
Step up the intensity and time, and you’ll burn even more!
So find an activity (or a few) that you love to do. Whether that’s circuit training, jumping rope, swimming outside, or riding the stationary bike — just get moving!
6. Get 7+ Hours Of Sleep Every Night
Sleep on its own won’t be a quick fix if you’re looking to drop a few pounds.
Yet, a lack of restful sleep each night can take a significant toll on your weight.
When you’re not well-rested, you may feel hungrier than usual, be too tired to exercise, or slow your body’s fat-burning mechanisms.
Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
To be sure the sleep you’re getting is making a difference:
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine too close to bedtime
Make your room dark, cool, and quiet
Exercise during the day to burn off excess energy
Take melatonin or natural sleep aids
A good night’s sleep may help you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to work out as well. So the benefits of decent sleep are wide-reaching.
7. Stick to Homemade Food
Smartphones have made weight gain easier than ever.
Tasty meals from your favorite restaurants are just a few clicks away, thanks to apps like DoorDash, GrubHub, and Uber Eats.
Though convenient and delicious, these foods are also high in sugar, fat, and salt! You can ruin an entire day of healthy eating with one juicy steak from the local pub.
So homemade foods are your best option.
Cook up your own versions of your favorite restaurant meals. Swap low-fat milk for whole-fat dairy, lean turkey for beef, and baked chicken for fried.
Homemade meals can be both healthy and tasty. It just takes a bit of effort.
You want to lose weight, and you want to do it quickly! You’re finally ready to get your summer body back before springtime rolls around again.
But losing weight too quickly can be dangerous.
So here’s what you need to do:
Between calorie-cutting and exercise, aim to create a 500-calorie deficit each day. This will help you shed a healthy one pound over the week.
Stick to this goal, and you’ll be down 12 pounds in three months.
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Arch at Bloomington to help them with their online marketing.