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Pandemic Pounds: how can you get rid of the "Quarantine 15"?

Experts shared advice, not gimmicks. They said anyone can easily follow certain routines to get back on a healthy track.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — We're almost one year into the coronavirus pandemic and during all that isolation, binge-watching, comfort eating, and stress, you may have packed on some extra pounds. Many of us are reaching for comfort food more often and moving around less during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mary Dye is a Registered Dietician in Virginia Beach who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders. She said our days have started to run together and that we've lost structure, which has affected our eating pattern. 

"We are often working, schooling, teaching, eating, sleeping, entertaining," Dye said. "Everything is happening in that home and environment so everything has kinda really gotten clustered together." 

Dye said we don't need to turn to "trendy diet programs" to get back on a healthy track. 

"If all of these diet programs were so successful, why would we be where we are today: the most disconnected, stressed out, nutrient-lacking group of people. And we have more info on it than ever," Dye explained.

Dye said the new year is the perfect opportunity to focus on what we can take in instead of out of our daily meals.  

"Maybe that's a new cooking skill. Maybe it's starting to put a bowl of fruit on the counter to make it easily accessible. Maybe it's a snack drawer."

The other factor to getting back on track is to get moving! 

Tabitha Darrell keeps busy running a Virginia Beach preschool and daycare. Her trainer Rey Goodman meets her there after hours so she can get her workout in. 

"With the pandemic and all of us being stressed and worried about what's going on, it's easy to get stagnant and fall into a depression. I have three boys that keep me pretty active in sports as well, so getting moving about helped me a lot," Darrell said.

If you can't get to a structured class at a gym, there are virtual options and even exercises you can do with simple items you already have at home.

Rey Goodman is a personal trainer and owner of Uptown Fitness Norfolk.  

"If you have cans in your in the cupboard, you can do curls and presses with it," Goodman said. "There's lots you can do with it and they basically assimilate dumbbells." 

And if you don't have any gym equipment, Goodman suggested bodyweight moves. 

"Push-ups, squats are always mandatory. Can't leave out the legs, jumping jacks get the heart going," Goodman explained. "Burpees. A lot of people don't like burpees, but it's a great full-body exercise."

 And don't discount a good stair workout!

"A stairway is always a great source of exercise. Most people don't like taking the stairs, so it's bound to be empty.  So there you go. You social distance, you got stairs, you got plenty of good cardio," Goodman continued.

Credit: Nicole Livas
Personal Trainer Rey Goodman from Uptown Fitness Norfolk trains client Tabitha Darrell at her daycare, Little Achievers Preschool in Virginia Beach

Remember the weight didn't come on overnight so it is a process to reach your goal so take it one step at a time. That's how Tabitha Darrell stays motivated. 

"It doesn't have to be a full hour, it doesn't have to be a full 40 or 30 minutes. Even 15 minutes just walking outside... it really changes your mindset and gets you feeling more focused, more positive," Darrell said.

According to Harvard Health, improving your diet and fitness routine can boost your immunity,  which is especially important during this time. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new diet or fitness program. Also, check out online sites and apps for free workouts and recipe ideas.

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