|How to Break 7 Bad COVID Habits
In 2020 we became obsessed with staying healthy: wearing masks, washing our hands, keeping our distance, and Googling things like, “Should I disinfect my groceries?”
But ironically, we also picked up some not-so-healthy habits. We baked bread from scratch. We made “quarantini” cocktails. We stopped wearing pants with buttons.
The stats tell even more of the story: An international survey found that average physical activity dropped from 108 to 72 minutes per week during COVID, while sitting time increased from 5 to 8 hours per day. Alcohol sales rose by 54 percent. And packing on extra pounds became so common that it was dubbed the “Quarantine 15.”
Now that we can finally start to see the light at the end of this long tunnel, here are some COVID habits to leave in the past.
1. Stress Eating
Turns out, living through a global pandemic is pretty stressful. Who knew? You may find yourself reaching for comfort food to cope — especially if you’re home all day and can wander to the fridge whenever the mood strikes.
So how can you kick the emotional eating habit? Instead of snacking when you’re stressed, find a healthier way to decompress.
“Rather than over-indulging in ice cream when stress surges, take the dog for a walk, hit the gym, or do some yoga to calming music,” says Julie Mancuso, registered nutritionist and owner of JM Nutrition.
2. Winging Your Workouts
Work-from-home flexibility sounds great in theory — just squeeze in a workout whenever you have free time, right? But it can be hard to find “free time” when work, home, school, and everything else is all happening in the same space.
To get some structure back into your days, add workouts to your calendar and honor them like any other appointment.
3. Baking All the Things
This is the year we all learned to make banana bread…and sourdough starters…and cinnamon rolls…and homemade bagels. But turning your kitchen into a makeshift patisserie doesn’t exactly make it easy to eat healthy.
Want to flex your culinary skills without wrecking your diet? Try one of Beachbody’s healthier comfort food recipes or dessert recipes.
4. Wearing Stretchy Pants Every Day
A lot of us are rocking the “Zoom mullet” these days — professional on top, leggings on the bottom. But when you’re wearing stretchy fabrics 24/7, it’s easy to gain a few pounds without noticing.
Even if you’re committed to riding out the pandemic in elastic waistbands, make it a habit to try on your favorite pair of jeans once a week to make sure they still fit. It’s an easy non-scale way to check in with your body.
5. Unwinding With a Daily Quarantini
The quarantini — mixing Emergen-C packets with gin or vodka — became a thing.
But immune-supporting supplements aren’t really meant to be mixed with hard liquor, as the company noted on Twitter.
And on a broader note, many of us ramped up our alcohol consumption during the pandemic. One survey found that reports of binge drinking increased by 26 percent between February and April.
If you’ve taken up day-drinking as a hobby, switch to a healthier (and non-alcoholic) afternoon pick-me up instead — like a yummy Shakeology smoothie or a refreshing Bevvy mocktail.
6. Subsisting on Takeout
If your Uber Eats driver could be an official member of your COVID pod, you may want to start cooking more meals at home.
Try a creative new dinner entrée like vegetarian paella or bell pepper nachos, or check out our most popular dinner recipes for ideas.
7. Losing Ground on Your Weight-Loss Goals
If you gained the “quarantine 15,” you’re not alone.
One survey found that 22 percent of respondents had gained 5 to10 pounds during the pandemic. Don’t let that setback discourage you — just make 2021 the year you get back on track.
“Start with one small change,” says Melissa Lopez, ACE-certified personal trainer.
“Instead of trying to get back into a workout routine, change your diet completely, start meditating, and get better rest all overnight, choose one small goal — like going on a 15-minute walk each evening, or swapping your evening wine for an herbal tea,” she suggests.
It took months for those COVID habits to creep up, so give yourself time to undo them and build some new, healthy habits in their place.