Articles, COVID-19, Health, Mental Health, Staying Healthy, Thinking Positive, Tips

Gain the ‘Quarantine-15’? How to Feel Better Inside and Out


This year, we’ve seen massive changes in the state of the world around us and in our personal lives. For many, this includes changes in our bodies. Specifically, weight gain.

Many are calling their Pandemic weight gain the “Quarantine-15“, or even “Gaining the Covid-19“. Catchy names aside, this can feel sudden and demoralizing. But I’m here to tell you that it’s okay. Whether you need a boost of confidence, a place to find some new clothes (regardless of your budget, size needs, and/or shopping preferences), or tips to help develop (or re-develop) healthy habits, I have you covered!

But First, Something I Need to Say

Bodies change! Most of us have heard of/ lived through puberty, but even with this, I want to remind you that we continue to grow and change as we get older and it’s NORMAL and HEALTHY.

Finding Confidence

I want you to think about your best friend in the entire world right now. If you’re anything like me, you think your friends are GORGEOUS. You’ve also probably seen them at their best and worst. Days when they’re glammed up and conquering the world AND days where… let’s face it… you both probably look like you need a shower. But even after seeing them in all kinds of contexts, you still think they’re amazing. 

And yet we often don’t extend that same kind of love and grace to ourselves.

So why do we hold ourselves to such unrealistic standards? 

Some people will say it’s the media, some will say societal bias, and some will even say maybe we’re just a little too self-absorbed (bringing up the “Why does having a flat stomach make the world a better place?” debate). Regardless of the reason, facing weight gain can be HARD.

For me, it was hard to recognize that, during the pandemic, a lot of my healthier habits were broken. I didn’t move as much as I used to and I ate out a lot more (and I wasn’t choosing healthy options). I just didn’t prioritize fitness and nutrition. 


I DID prioritize connecting virtually with friends and family, as well as my schoolwork and my writing. 

And overall, I prioritized surviving the pandemic. Just like all of us did. 

Putting my weight gain in context of something that just happened to be less important during that period of my life, it doesn’t feel like such a big deal anymore. 

So if you’ve also gained some weight this past year, I urge you to dig a little deeper. Imagine you are your best friend and think harder about the positive things you prioritized. You just lived through a massive time of uncertainty and tragedy. Your entire world probably changed and yet you made it through everything thrown at you. No amount of size change can take that away from you. You are amazing no matter what your body looks like.

Places to Shop for Cute Summer Clothes (on a Budget)

PS. Don’t worry about the size. Nobody sees it but you and you’ll look and feel so much better when you wear things that fit comfortably.

Thrift Stores: 
  1. Sozo Trading Co
  2. Vaper
  3. LoveLady Thrift Store
In Person (non-thrift stores):
  1. Target
    1. I’m obsessed with their clearance racks and have been for YEARS!
  2. Old Navy
  3. Ross
  4. TJ Max
  1. Shein
    1. I recommend sizing up, as they typically run a little small (just make sure to measure yourself, look at size charts, and read reviews before purchasing). 
    2. Depending on the item, they carry sizes XS-XXXL
  2. H & M Online
    1. Not extremely pricey (especially if you shop the sale section on the website like I do) and they carry sizes 0-4XL.

What If I Want to Get My Healthy Habits Back and Don’t Know Where to Start?

  1. Move More, But In a Way You’ll Enjoy:
    1. I committed to walking an hour every day. This has allowed me to enjoy the summer sunshine, relax as I explore my neighborhood, and listen to my favorite music and podcasts, and… tbh… my legs have toned up a bit. 
    2. Here’s a list of fun exercises that I can do almost anytime.
      1. I like to hula hoop while watching TV and I try to incorporate movement like hiking (or just walking around), swimming, and dancing when I hang out with friends. 
    3. Make an effort to do smaller movement-oriented tasks throughout the day. 
      1. For me, this includes cleaning, going to the mailbox, and helping unload heavier groceries.
  2. Learn Your Hunger Cues: 
    1. Sometimes, when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually thirsty, tired, anxious, sad, or bored. If you struggle with knowing your hunger cues, you can ask yourself:
      1. Am I procrastinating on a task? 
      2. Could I be I thirsty? 
      3. Am I sad or anxious about something I can’t change? Do I need to go journal, talk to a friend or a family member, or self-soothe with a bath, a good book, a walk, or my favorite music or movie? 
      4. Am I bored out of my mind right now? What can I do to mix up my routine in a safe and inexpensive way? 
    2. I also let myself eat anything I want. I just keep my portions and serving sizes in check. 
  3. Eat More Fruits and Veggies! 
    1. I know… you saw this one coming. I’ve made a point to bulk up my meals with leafy greens, yummy cooked and seasoned vegetables, and tons of delicious fruit. This allows me to eat more and to feel fuller without being tired and sluggish after my meals. 
    2. You don’t have to spend a ton of money or to eat a huge array of foods either. I’m a relatively picky eater (on a budget) so I just took note of the fruits and vegetables I enjoy most and buy them in-season.

REMEMBER, COVID-19 has taken a lot away from a lot of people, so don’t let your happiness and sense of self-worth add to those things you may have lost.

Check out more articles by GirlSpring contributors!


Skylar Summers is a senior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She's passionate about empowering women through storytelling, writing, and creating visual media. To learn more about Skylar, visit her Instagram page @skylarsummers20 and watch her short films on her website (linked on her Instagram page)!

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