Being at home with high levels of boredom and in need of emotional and physical comfort, makes it easy to lapse into some unhealthy food habits, with the potential to gain weight.You may see lockdown as an opportunity to re-calibrate some aspects of your life and your weight could be one of those. If you want to lose weight there are some simple things that you can do to start that process.
Eat mindfully. When you eat, stop other activities and concentrate on chewing well and listening to your body. If you are approaching feeling full then stop eating. Research shows that by practising more mindfulness you may be more likely to control your sweet tooth and regulate your blood sugar.
Review your cupboards and pack away all of the foods that are going to lead you astray. Alternatively if they are in date and unopened you could donate them to the local food bank.
There are some foods and drinks which you should avoid if you want to increase your chance of success.
• Processed foods: White bread, rice, pasta are included in this category as well as manufactured foods such as cakes, biscuits, snacks. These can have loads of additives and artificial ingredients which your body is less able to process. In addition these foods tend to release their energy quickly into the blood stream, causing blood sugar spikes and fat storage.
• Alcohol: Cutting alcohol in its own right can help weight loss significantly. In addition your resolve to stay on track with your weight loss is likely to waver after you have had a couple of drinks.
• Refined sugar: refined sugar in sweet foods and drinks is unhealthy for many reasons. It spikes insulin levels and increases fat storage. It also doesn’t have any nutritional value in its own right but uses up valuable nutrients like magnesium in order to process it.
• Chocolate: not only does this contain a very high amount of sugar most usually, it also has high levels of fat and the combination of the two is particularly addictive.
• Takeaways: just like processed food, takeaway is high in calories and is more likely to contain unhealthy fats or carbs and be high in sugar or salt. You can have the occasional takeaway but if you want to lose weight this should be kept to an absolute minimum.
Theoretically whilst in lockdown you will be shopping less frequently and many supermarkets have reduced the deals on buying unhealthy foods. So if you have to plan your shopping more effectively this is an opportunity to buy more healthy foods and avoid bringing the tempting and unhealthy ones into the house. If you are working from home you will have greater access to food than if you were at work. This is especially true of snacks which are too easy to grab. So plan your snacks as well as your meals and have veg and fruit already cut up in the fridge so that you can eat it without too much preparation at each eating occasion.
It is important to review your portion sizes. If you use a salad plate to eat your main meals from this should enable you to have a plate full of food but eat less. Avoid pasta bowls as they are not that much smaller in terms of diameter but are quite deep and so can hold a lot of food. In terms of the balance of food on your plate you should aim for half of it to be taken up with vegetables and fruit, one quarter protein and one quarter unrefined starchy carbohydrates such as whole grains or potatoes. You should also include a small amount of healthy fats from oily fish, nuts and seeds. In terms of weight loss or management healthy fats are not your enemy. They will help you feel full and support your metabolism.
Finally try to ensure that you get enough sleep and that your sleep habits are regular. Research has shown that people who are tired have a tendency to eat more carbohydrates in and attempt to boost their energy. The consequence of this is that the increase in these type of calories can cause weight gain.