6 Reasons Why You Gained or Lost the “Quarantine 15”

Well, we are about 40 or so days into this whole stay at home deal. How are things going for you health-wise? Run through a quick systems check for me:

  • Physical Health
  • Mental Health
  • Spiritual Health
  • Social Health
  • Financial Health

All of these can be intertwined, and affect one another, but for the sake of this post, I want to look at physical health. Now, more than ever, we are seeing that our physical health is literally a determining factor between life or death.

For the sake of right now, let’s dive into what has happened with your health lately over the past 40 or so days.

You may have either gained or lost weight during quarantine life. Now, these are just observations and extrapolations, so they may not apply to you directly – but something to consider looking into and exploring the reasoning behind them.

Let’s start with a weight gain…

Were you someone relying on the gym a ton for the sake of “burning calories”, while not addressing your diet? The time has come, the gym is closed, and you can no longer try to outrun your fork by doing multiple Bootcamp classes per day.

This is an extreme case, but I always stress that you cannot and should not look to exercise as a fat loss tool. Sure it helps, but you can only add more exercise for so long. At some point, one cannot exercise more, and it’s actually been shown that even more exercise can mean fewer calories burned overall! 

It’s time to reassess your relationship with exercise – use it to BUILD your body up, and release some stress – but don’t fixate on the calories burned or the sweat equity created.

Spending a lot more time at home – and gaining weight – this is many of us. We are constantly working within 50 feet of our kitchen. How easy is it to walk in and see what’s available?

This, coupled with stress, is a tough uphill battle – but we can win! It all comes down to the environment that you have created.

Are the snack foods in your kitchen there to support your goals? Or are they for your kids? Remind yourself of this – whos food is it? Keep it that way.

Next, make sure you increase the amount of resistance between you and junky snack foods if they are there. Hide them away. Put them far back, put them high or low. Or don’t let them get there in the first place – stop buying crap food – there’s a simple fix.

Lastly – if you are used to having a schedule during a normal work life that works well for you, keep that schedule! Just because you now can eat breakfast at 10 AM instead of 7 AM doesn’t mean you should if it was working fine before.

We need schedules and structure – so force yourself to create one.

Complete Loss of Structure – going off of mindless snacking above – you just aren’t aware of how much you are eating when you lose structure/routine if that’s what you were counting on for calorie control before (whether you knew it or not).

Think of it this way. Your “normal” daily routine always was roughly the same. You eat breakfast at about the same time, the same choices. You eat lunch at the same time, the same options, and same thing goes for dinner.

But now, you have taken up baking bread. And you constantly have baked goodies all around. And you can eat a bagel at 11 AM because “hey! I made this”.

Wednesday late afternoon? Great time to crack a bottle of wine! Cookies for breakfast? Why not?

Spending all day in your comfy clothes could be triggering some of this too. Maybe it’s time to go check your work clothes. See how those are fitting. Relaxed clothes are very forgiving and can put you in a more relaxed state.

You see – we thrive on structure – as much as some of us want to rebel against it, the structure is important.

If you have let your structure go, maybe it’s time to be real with yourself and get back into it. After all, this will come to an end and we will be back to normal soon…

Now – weight loss. Have you lost weight during the lockdown?

Home cooking – studies have even shown that the more someone eats out, the harder it is to lose weight and the higher BMI they will have. This is because you aren’t in control of what goes into restaurant food – and why do you think it tastes so good?

If you normally go out to lunch daily at work, you could easily be saving yourself 500-1000 calories per day! That’s amazing. Now you see why I’m so adamant about learning how to cook and doing more of it! 

Think about your meals out. Side dishes of fries or soup and salad – chased with a soft drink maybe… are you making those things at home for lunch? Likely not. Do you have a free bread basket or bottomless chips and salsa sitting on your table at all times? Does a family member come to your table with the dessert tray options? If so – send them to my house 🙂

No happy hour. No after-work cocktails. No after dinner “I’ll hang around for just one” moments… Don’t get me wrong, I miss social interaction more than anyone else – BUT you can have social interaction without adding in 500-1000 mindless boozy calories.

I hope many people realize this and when restaurants start to open back up for lunches – we keep supporting them, but in a more mindful manner when it comes to our waistline.

You have become more “active” – I love seeing all my neighbors out walking on nice days. It’s a total mood changer. They aren’t doing crazy workouts 24/7, they are just simply moving more.

You see – walking is a secret weapon. It’s boring. But it’s effective. Thats why so many people in the industry stress step goals. It’s been proven to be very effective for sustainable fat loss.

Maybe you normally sit at a desk for 8 hours a day, workout 3 hours per week, and call it fitness.

Now, you have added in little walks. Home workouts that maybe aren’t as long or “good” as the gym, but more frequency. Your kids want to play more. Your dog is whining to go for a walk. Whatever it is, you have added more movement in general, and that’s a good thing.

Take note of what you currently are doing if it’s working well, and think about how you can continue that back into normal life.

Sleeping more – some of you might be getting way more sleep than normal – and that is a magic pill.

I stress this all the time – more sleep isn’t sexy, but it works. It is the ultimate fat loss pill, the ultimate energy drink. The ultimate performance and mood-enhancing drug. And it is 100% free.

When we are chronically sleep-deprived, a few things happen. We are more likely to gravitate towards junk food. You cannot eat when you are asleep – so it is less likely to be having a midnight snack if you are asleep by 10. Inhibitions are lowered – thus we are less likely to stay “on plan” with our workouts, with our diet, etc – because our brain says so.

Maybe you are the opposite, and have been sleeping LESS, and are gaining weight. Time to get back to that part about routine, schedule, and self-discipline.

No matter which side you fall on, it is not an end all be all, nor is it an excuse to keep going down the wrong path.

Take notes on what is going on – positive or negative – and create a plan to either break newfound bad habits or sustain newfound good habits for when things start to return to normal.

If you want more daily guidance through this crazy time we are in, look no further than online coaching – training and nutrition – let me help you find the best plan for you!

For more information, click the button below!

Like what you read? Want to get even more weekly wisdom, training tips, and nutrition nuggets along with up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up HERE!

Stay healthy my friends,



Published by Mike Gorski

Registered Dietitian and Fitness Coach OWNER OF MG FIT LIFE LLC