Lockdown has been extended for two more weeks. Why not use this time to do one thing we always wanted to do-Lose weight.
Lack of time, busy schedules, and professional responsibilities were some excuses we gave ourselves for not being able to lose weight. 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. Our physical activities have gone, we are home all the time, we are anxious about the future and mostly bored. Turning to food for the companionship and comfort is not uncommon. Stress eating and mindless munching can easily add a few inches to your waist.
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 extended 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.
Our 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 the lockdown. Our daily routines have changed, gone a little haywire if truth be told, but we should try to keep your meal timings regular.
To lose weight skipping meals never helps. Eat small meals instead of large, calorie-dense meals to lose weight during the lockdown.
Eating food at fixed times balances your blood sugar levels, keeps your digestive system healthy, stops you from overeating, and boosts your metabolism.
Start your day with a hearty breakfast. Research suggests that eating a healthy breakfast curbs cravings throughout the day. Dinner should always be early, several hours before your bedtime; say between 7-8 pm. This gives your body ample time to digest food and metabolize it.
3. Cut down on processed food
We all have come to rely on processed foods and convenience foods. Fair enough, we need things simplified in our lives, and ready to eat food saves time and energy.
Processed foods are high in fat, sugar, saturated fat, and sodium (HFSSS). These are the very things you should avoid to lose weight during the lockdown. They are one reason why lifestyle disorders like diabetes, obesity, heart problems are rampant.
To lose weight during the lockdown, we recommend you to stick to foods that are natural, fresh, and minimally processed.
4. Go for The Good Carbs
Its controversial, carbohydrates, and weight loss. Carbohydrates have been linked to weight gain and obesity as well as making it difficult to lose weight. several low carb diets claim fast weight loss are trending on the internet and
But, is it wise to restrict or cut down carbohydrates?
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. There are two types of carbohydrates -the good carbs and the bad carbohydrates. Learning to distinguish between good and bad carbohydrates is our key to lose weight during the lockdown.
As the names suggest, the good carbs are what we want in our diet and avoid the bad carbohydrates. 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.
5. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated protects from the heat of the summer and is necessary to lose weight during the lockdown. 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, in fact, we can go for hours without water and not realize it.
Have you ever wondered, why this happens? Why we miss out on thirst signals from our brain?
The problem lies within the brain. Our brain confuses the thirst signal with hunger signals. So, we end up eating even though we are not ‘actually’ hungry and still thirsty.
So, what to do? Since your brain is confused, take matters in your own hand.
Next time you find yourself hungry after a snack or a meal or eating mindlessly, drink water, and see if you are still hungry.
Some people find drinking plain water boring. Well, to stay hydrated you need not stick to plain water. You can drink fluids like herbal teas, infused waters, coconut water, soups, juices, lemon honey water, etc.
6. Eat mindfully
Practicing mindful eating is necessary 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.
Be cautious of what you are eating. Before you turn to food always ask 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 behavior and make necessary amends. Keeping a food journal is a good way to practice mindful eating and lose weight during the lockdown.
7. Lighten-up your recipes
We are unable to go out for dinners, nor can Swiggy our favorite meals, but what we can do is cook delicious food for ourselves. This is the best time to enjoy some home-made, healthy meals.
Eating healthy food and following a diet to lose weight during lockdown doesn’t mean you have to eat boring, tasteless food. 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 colorful as possible.
Enjoy food but the catch here is to not get carried away and overindulge our recipes with calories from fat and sugar. Remember, your weight loss diet should be healthy, not bland, and boring. Spice it up with spices and herbs. When done right, healthy food can be fun too.
8. Stock up on healthy snacks
Snacking in-between meals is a good habit. It prevents you from overeating, curbs cravings, and helps you lose weight during the lockdown.
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). Munching on unhealthy snacks not only leads to weight gain but also increases 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 the 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 now, whatever limited physical activity we performed as a part of our daily activities, have also gone down.
With lockdown extended, gyms will be 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. you can start with simple exercises at home, like Yoga, Aerobics, Burpees, and many more.
To lose weight during lockdown stick to the mantra – sit less and move more! Several gyms and fitness experts are providing online fitness programs to help you get fit and lose weight during the lockdown. Get on-board with any of them and get moving.
Working out and exercising can help you in more than one way during this extended lockdown. Exercise helps you burn body fat and build muscle. It increases your strength and stamina, improves digestion, builds cardiac and respiratory health.
Other than this exercise will also help you stay happy. 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. This is something we all want amongst all the panic and uncertainty with Covid-19.
10. Sleep well
This is the easiest thing you can do to lose weight during the 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.
Now, hold that thought. Yes, you have to sleep to lose weight during the lockdown but this doesn’t mean you sleep the entire day. How much and when you sleep is also crucial to your efforts to lose weight during the lockdown.
Ideally, one should get 6-8 hours of sound sleep to lose weight during the lockdown. Set up a sleep routine. no more staying up late and sleeping late in the morning.
Let’s go back to what we learned as a child, early to bed, and early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy, and wise. It may sound old school but this is how our body is designed and how you will lose weight during the lockdown.
To Sum It Up
Obesity and weight gain are a result of our unhealthy lifestyle. Unhealthy eating habits are the main culprit but physical inactivity, 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 while the other aspects are largely ignored. As a result, after a time even the strictest and best of the diet plans stop yielding results. We are not able to lose weight, there are complications or end up gaining it back.
To lose weight during the lockdown, work on all the aspects of your health, and upgrade your lifestyle, not just one aspect, and you will see the results.