The coronavirus pandemic has placed many Americans in isolation. Bored and stressed, some of us may find comfort in food. This worries many health experts.

When people are turning to food for comfort (couple that with lack of physical activity), this may lead to weight gain. Hence, the term “Quarantine 15” was born. This refers to the 15 lbs gained while on quarantine.

Weight gain, especially to those who already have serious health issues, may further aggravate their condition and/or lead to other health issues. 

If you feel like you’re heading to that direction, the following tips from Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons in Knoxville can help you avoid overeating and mindless snacking during this time of crisis:

  • Create a structure

Staying at home can feel like a vacation for the first few days but after a while, the lack of structure can throw you off, causing some people to stress out and eventually turn to food for comfort.

This is why it’s very important to plan out your day. Creating a routine can help keep you from snacking and grazing all day long.

Set a schedule for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner, as you would normally do when you’re at work. And on those hours, when you’re not doing anything, try to move around the house or outside, if possible. 

Exercise is a proven way to release those feel-good hormones, a way to battle the stress from this pandemic.

  • Prioritize nutrition

This is the time when you should be prioritizing your health. That means eating not just the right amount but also the right kind of food.

It may be tempting to load on comforting, processed foods but this is the time when your body needs more nutrient-dense food like vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and good sources of protein like lean meat. 

A healthy diet can help boost your immune system, which is what we need the most this time.

  • Stock your pantry and fridge strategically

Having healthy staples in your pantry and fridge can help you stay on track. 

Load on whole wheat pasta, frozen and canned vegetables, nuts, beans, canned fish, and canned low-sodium, non-creamy soups. Not only are these staples easy to prepare, but they are also filling and healthier than packaged, highly processed junk food.

If you’re planning to get a treat, stick to one variety. For example, if you’re getting ice cream, stick to one flavor. Getting several ones will only tempt you to eat more than you should.

  • Don’t eat from a bag

Eating straight from the packaging is the surest way to overeat. Keep this from happening by taking the food out of the box and using a cup (or other measuring devices) and pour out the amount of food you intend to eat. 

  • Avoid having your meals in front of the TV

When you eat in front of the TV or when doing something else, you tend to ignore your satiety signals. This often results in overeating. 

Set aside time to eat your meals without any form of distraction. Take small bites, chew it well, and savor each bite. You’ll be surprised as to how much your body only needs to feel satisfied.

This is a stressful time. Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons reminds you to make your health a priority. Eat right, eat well, and stay safe! 

To learn about your bariatric surgery options, watch our online seminar at

Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons is part of Premier Surgical Bariatrics in Knoxville, Tennessee. Foothills is affiliated with Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery, a member of Covenant Health Bariatric Services.