Photo by Jennifer Burk
With so much time spent cooped up at home as coronavirus has restricted our abilities and opportunities to get outdoors, it’s inevitable that we have put a few extra pounds on.
Working out at home requires more motivation and effort, especially when we have to do this alone without our favourite partner to keep us going. Not only is it harder to exercise when we’re forced to stay at home, but the proximity to the kitchen cupboards means that we’re likely to be tempted to overeat by snacking to fill our time as we sit on the sofa bored.
For many people, working or studying from home has reduced their contact with the outside world and this lack of socialisation has been difficult. It has meant that the term ‘comfort eating’ has never been more relatable as we have used food to deal with our anxiety and uncertainty. With gyms back open – for the time being – and now we’re allowed to get back outside to see small numbers of people from a distance, you might feel that it is time for you to work on yourself and get rid of that extra weight you’ve piled on over lockdown. Alternatively, you might just be sick of being sat down inside all day and so you’re looking for ways that you can get yourself in better shape.
We’ve come up with some different ways that you can shift the excess weight that you’ve gained so that you are able to feel better inside and out again.
Change Up Your Diet
Unfortunately, if you want to shift that extra weight, you’re going to need to cut back on your consumption of fatty, sugary and calorific food. However, this doesn’t mean that you can never eat it again, but it does mean that it cannot be a daily occurrence. Having your favourite takeaway or chocolate bar will seem even more satisfying when you know that you have earned it and haven’t tasted it in a while!
Eating healthier doesn’t mean that you have to eat leaves and nuts because there are so many recipes available for free online or available to purchase in healthy cookbooks. It is better to learn to cook healthier dishes yourself, rather than rely on pre-made ‘healthy’ microwave or oven meals. By cooking your own meals, you are able to learn about the importance of nutritional values to a healthy diet, and the food you consume is tastier because it is fresher.
If you are struggling to know how much you should be eating, you can consult a dietician or seek out help from the many research guides available on the internet that have nutrition plans already mapped out for you. However, there are some basic principles that you can stick to when changing up your diet.
You probably are already aware of most of these but stick to three main meals a day and drink at least two litres of water. Avoid processed food that is high in saturated fat, and monitor your usage of oil, butter and cheese if you are looking to lose weight. Opting for wholegrain or wholemeal options instead of refined sugars and carbohydrates like white pasta, rice and bread will mean that you feel fuller for longer and so less likely to snack. Snacking is probably what has led you to put on weight, so don’t expect to lose the weight if you continue snacking on easy to reach items like crisps, chips and dips. You need to consume other food in order to build a well-balanced diet. If you do feel that you need a snack to boost your energy in between meals, opt for healthier options like cucumber, carrot or celery sticks with pre-portioned amounts of hummus or Greek yoghurt.
If you are really struggling to stick to a healthy diet, you might want to consider supplementing your meals for shakes, such as Shake That Weight, which can be found at shakethatweight.co.uk. Shake That Weight has flexible plans and products that will suit a variety of people who are wanting to see quick results, with the glowing reviews to prove it. This option can take away the stress and anxiety that preparing meals or consuming food may give you when you are trying to lose weight and not seeing results.
Keeping up a consistent training regime over several weeks and months will mean that you are likely to lose weight quicker than if you only exercise once or twice a week. This is due to the simple fact that you are burning more calories than you are consuming by exercising regularly. However, if you are new to the fitness game, there is nothing wrong with starting small and building up from there. For example, you could start with a combination of walking and running three times a week, before pushing yourself to run longer than you walk, until you can finally go for a run without feeling the need to slow down or walk. There are lots of applications available for your phone that can actually train you to run a 5k, and will guide you through your weekly runs so that you increase your running intervals safely.
If running isn’t for you, there are lower intensity exercise routines that can get your heart pumping and your palms sweating, without needing to run for extended periods of time. Going to a yoga or pilates class either in person or virtually from your own home, can help to destress, build up your muscles and boost your cardiovascular health without feeling as though you are doing exercise! Putting aside time each day to dedicate towards exercise and prioritising your health above your other responsibilities means that you are more likely to stick to a routine or regime, and see results.
In combination with regular exercise, use any opportunity you can to get moving. This might involve getting up from your desk or chair every 30 minutes to do some stretches, taking the stairs instead of the lift, and walking to the office or shop instead of driving – where possible. These extra small bursts of movement will help you to get into an active routine, improve your cardiovascular health, and contribute towards more weight loss than you would achieve by living a sedentary lifestyle. Even parking further away from the entrance to a shop or your house could mean that you burn a few extra calories, especially if you are carrying heavy bags. Even heading out to the park with your children or grandchildren can be an opportunity for you to burn some calories with short bursts of exercise without you even realising!
There is no set method or technique that will guarantee you to see results but combining and trialling different ways will allow you to find out what works best for you. How you manage to lose weight and enjoy exercise will be completely different to someone else because we all have different bodies – so don’t compare yourself. Trust the process and more importantly, enjoy looking after your body because it is only then when you will see real results!