We all want to lose weight, but couldn’t due to lack of time, busy schedules, and professional responsibilities. These are some of the top excuses we give ourselves for not being determined enough to work on our weight and overall health.
But as the COVID-19 pandemic is at its peak and lockdown is in full swing, time is not an excuse anymore. We have ample of time, our schedules are relaxed and slack and work is not a priority.
Several jokes and memes are trending on Social media about how lockdown will be a reason for people gaining weight. Though it is meant to be harmless fun, it is not entirely wrong though. We have to be careful or we may end up putting on weight while staying home, staying safe from Covid-19.
Let’s use this lockdown to work on our health; more specifically lose weight during the Lockdown.
1. Make a diet plan and stick to it
We get it, you are at home and you are bored, but this doesn’t mean that you have to eat all the time.
cOur body needs food as fuel and several essential macronutrients and micronutrients to function efficiently as well as lose weight – the good carbs, the good fat, and the precious proteins.
To make sure you get all these essential nutrients in the right amounts, following a well-balanced diet plan and more importantly sticking to it is your first step towards losing weight during the lockdown.
Don’t fall prey to the fad diets that are hyped and sensationalized, promising quick weight loss. These diets often very strict and exclude certain food groups leading to nutritional deficiencies. But they don’t work and you will just end up wasting time and getting demoralized.
When it comes to weight loss, the slow and steady always wins the race.
2. Keep a fixed eating schedule
It is like a sabbatical for most of us during lockdown so our routines may have gone a little haywire but try to keep your meal timings regular. This keeps your digestive system healthy which is important to lose weight during the lockdown or otherwise.
Skipping meals is bad when it comes to losing weight; always start your day with a hearty breakfast.
Go for small meals instead of large, calorie-dense meals. Eating food at fixed times balances your blood sugar levels, stops you from overeating, and boosts your metabolism.
Dinner should always be early, several hours before your bedtime; say between 7-8 pm gives your body ample time to digest food and metabolize it and prevents weight gain.
3. Cut down on processed food
Processed foods and convenience foods are something we all have come to rely on. Fair enough, we need things simplified in our lives. But not all processed foods are good for your health. Most processed food, snacks, and ready-to-eat meals are high in fat, sugar, saturated fat, and sodium (HFSSS). They are one reason why lifestyle disorders like diabetes, obesity, heart problems are rampant.
As COVID-19 lockdown is in full swing, resources are scarce and processed foods are easily available. To lose weight during lockdown stick to food which is natural, fresh, and minimally processed.
There are several snacks and foods, which are packaged but not processed. Always Rad food nutritional labels before buying; screen for the sugar, sodium, and fat content before buying them.
4. Go for good carbs
There is a lot of controversy surrounding carbohydrates and weight loss. While some low carb diets claim fast weight loss, restricting carbohydrates or cutting them out is not wise.
Carbohydrates are an important part of your diet because our brain cells recognize only carbs as a source of energy. In the absence of adequate carbohydrates, the body can go into a state of coma known as ketosis. The type of carbohydrate you eat makes all the difference to the way you lose weight during the lockdown.
The good carbs can be found in all-natural grown foods like whole grains, pulses, fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, etc. The bad carbs include your refined flour and sugar and all products made from them like cakes, candies, biscuits. Learning to distinguish between good and bad carbohydrates will help you lose weight during the lockdown.
5. Stay hydrated
Summer is in full swing and to lose weight during the lockdown, drink plenty of water and fluids.
Water helps in digestion, regulates your body temperature, manages your blood pressure, keeps your kidneys healthy, and lubricates your joints.
Water flushes out toxins, metabolites, and wastes from the body. it keeps your skin glowing, your hair healthy and weight in check.
We know that 60% of our body is made up of water, and how important it is. yet we forget to drink water, go for hours without water.
Have you ever wondered, why this happens? why we miss out on thirst signals from our brain?
this is because our brain confuses thirst signal with hunger signals and we end up eating. As a result, we eat when we were not ‘actually’ hungry and are still low on water.
So, what to do? since your brain is confused, take matters in your own hand.
Next time you find yourself craving an unhealthy snack or eating mindlessly, try drinking water.
Some people find drinking plain water boring. to stay hydrated you need not stick to plain water. You can drink herbal teas, infused waters, coconut water.
Lemon honey water is the best. It keeps the pH of your body alkaline. An Alkaline pH is just the environment you need to burn fat and lose weight during the lockdown.
6. Eat mindfully
Practising mindful eating is necessary to lose weight and imperative if you want to lose weight during the lockdown. The current Covid -19 quarantine situation cries disaster. With offices shut and no fixed schedules and kitchen just a few steps away, mindless munching and eating when bored is something that can mess up your quest to lose weight during the lockdown.
Stress eating and turning to food for companionship is understandable with all the panic and fear of COVID-19. But this can adversely affect your health and weight goals.
Always think and question yourself are you eating because you are hungry or just bored?
Start keeping track of what you eat, how much you eat, and when.
This helps you analyze your eating behaviour and make necessary amends. Keeping a food journal is a good way to practice mindful eating and lose weight during the lockdown.
Generally, our lives are full of hustle, trying to make ends meet. We are either skipping meals or surviving on fast food. When was the last time you sat down to a quiet, peaceful meal?
Our meal-times are mostly rushed, with deadlines and other pressure weighing down upon us. Now is a good time to sit down for a peaceful, relaxed meal; Take your time eating and savouring your food.
7. Lighten-up your recipes
We are unable to go out for dinners, nor can Swiggy our favourite meals, but what we can do is cook delicious food for ourselves. This is the best time to enjoy some home-made, healthy meals.
Following a diet to lose weight during lockdown doesn’t mean you eat boring, tasteless food. But the catch here is to not get carried away and overindulge our recipes with calories from fat and sugar.
Keep your meals light but delicious. Be resourceful and creative with ingredients you have and make something healthy for yourself. Be partial to fresh fruits and vegetables in your recipes. Replace sugar with healthier options like honey or Jaggery. Use healthy fats in your cooking. Make your dishes as colourful as possible.
Remember, your weight loss diet should be healthy, not bland, and boring. Spice it up the way you want, healthy food can be fun too.
8. Stock up on healthy snacks
It is wise to eat small meals rather than large meals. This way you can be watchful of the calories you consume in a day. Snacking in between your meal is a good habit and can help you lose weight during the lockdown.
Next time you crave a snack while working from home or watching your favourite series or film or late at munches, snack and you will end up losing weight.
This stands true only if the snacks you choose are healthy. Snacks you generally get in the market are processed, refined, and high in fat, sugar, and sodium (HFSS).
These snacks not only lead to weight gain but also increase the risk of diabetes, blood pressure, and heart problems.
Maida-filled junk like biscuits and cookies, fried chips and crackers, sugar-filled drinks, and cakes are not the snacks you want to eat to lose weight during the lockdown.
Stock up on snacks that are high in protein and fiber, minimally processed. Healthy snacks you can keep handy to lose weight during lockdown are nuts, seeds, roasted chickpea, energy bars, dried fruits, yogurt, and fresh fruits.
9. Stay active
Being physically active was a challenge before and whatever limited physical activity we performed as a part of our daily activities, have also gone down.
The funny thing is now we have time and will to exercise but all the gyms are shut, parks and roads are inaccessible. but this doesn’t mean that we give up and spend the lockdown slouching on the couch.
To be physically active you don’t need gyms or elaborate pieces of equipment. There are several exercises, real good ones, you can very well do at home. Yoga, pilates, aerobics, planks, can easily be done at home.
To lose weight during lockdown stick to the mantra – sit less and move more! Several gyms and fitness experts are providing online fitness programs. Get on-board with any of them and get moving.
You can set routines to exercise with your family. This will keep you motivated and make your workout session fun.
When you exercise your body burns fat and builds muscle, increasing your strength and stamina, improves digestion, builds cardiac and respiratory health.
The benefits of exercise are not just limited to your physical self. when you exercise your body produces endorphins, also known as the ‘happy hormones’. endorphins help you overcome anxiety, improves your mood, keeps you motivated, and happy.
10. Sleep well
This is the easiest thing you can do to lose weight during lockdown is sleep. Sleeping helps relax our body and mind. Inadequate sleep leads to an increase in anxiety and promotes the release of stress hormones. When stress hormones are dominant, your craving for salty, sugary, and high-fat food increases.
Obesity and weight gain are a result of our overall lifestyle and not just eating habits. Unhealthy eating habits are the main culprit but physical inactivity and stress, erratic schedule, irregular meal times, and lack of sleep are all linked to weight gain and obesity.
We always focus on our eating habits and diet plans to lose weight while the other aspects are largely ignored.
As a result, we are not able to lose weight or end up gaining it back.
Work on all the aspects of your health, upgrade your lifestyle, not just one aspect, and you will see the results.