We had all hoped we wouldn’t find ourselves in Lockdown again, but here we are. Lockdown can be a time to regroup, rest and spend quality time with family, but it can be a time of worry, loneliness and despair. It can also be a time when your weight loss goals slip off track. If you are feeling down please reach out to someone you trust or check out these websites. If you’d like to use this time to focus on your weight loss goals then read on…
Make the time count
Spending time at home can either be a blessing for your health (time to exercise and to eat healthily) or a curse (eating because you are bored, lonely or with too much time on your hands). A staggering 76% of people report gaining weight during Lockdown. Don’t become one of those statistics. What if you could use this enforced time at home to redefine your weight loss goals and pave out a practical path to get there? Could you use this time to transform yourself and come out of isolation a NEW YOU?
We know that Lockdown brings challenges – our days may be less structured, we have more time alone, more access to snacks and we may feel bored, depressed or anxious – all these things can serve as stumbling blocks to weight loss. The key is to make a plan that minimises these roadblocks. There are also many things about Lockdown that can help with our weight loss goals – more time to exercise, more time to prepare healthy meals, less temptation from workplace morning teas or client lunches. The key is to harness the positives and plan so you can minimise the negatives. Here are a few suggestions…
Make a daily plan
One of the challenges of Covid is the abrupt change in our daily schedule. Most of us are working from home, or are now at home all day. The things that brought structure to our lives are gone – we don’t need to rush out the door to catch the bus, get the kids to school, or arrive at the office. Lunchtime can stretch out for the whole afternoon, dinner can start at 4 with wine and cheese. Where structure disappears, food can fill the gap.
Making a plan for each day helps to structure meal times but also to minimise stress. Either make a general plan for each day that you stick to, or write a new plan for each day the evening before. Actually writing your daily plan and putting it somewhere visible will help you to stick to it. Making everything in your day planned and intentional will help ground you, keep you mindful and improve your mood. All these things help with weight loss.
Make your bed
Making your bed begins your day with a success. Before you even leave your bedroom you have successfully achieved a goal. Making your bed creates an environment of order and productivity and makes it less likely you will crawl back into it.
Review your Weight Loss WHY
Read back over your weight loss WHY (if you haven’t found and written down your WHY, read our blog). Pinpointing WHY you want to lose weight and reminding yourself of it every day, is perhaps the single most effective tool in sticking to a weight loss plan.
Shower and dress for the day
Getting out of your pajamas sends an important message to our brain that we are now in productivity mode. Remaining in your pajamas sends the unconscious message that you are resting, which can limit achievement. It can also make it harder to get to sleep if you have been in your Pjs all day. Getting showered and dressed at the beginning of each day sends a message to your brain that it’s time to be productive and then getting back into your pajamas at the end of a day sends the message that it is now time to sleep. This might seem silly but the temptation to hang out all day in pjs or sweats is massive but will undermine your feelings of control and positivity which can sabotage your weight loss efforts.
Make every meal a ritual
Make eating a ritual. Don’t shove a piece of toast in while standing at the kitchen bench. Don’t chug back your FastFx smoothie while checking your emails. Prepare your meals mindfully, pour it into a pretty glass or present it on a nice plate. Sit in the sun, or a comfy chair. Enjoy each sip or mouthful. Making eating a ritual prevents overeating and helps you tune into your body more. Both of these things will help with weight loss. Check out our blog on Mindful Eating for more on this.
Create a positive work space
If you can, prepare in advance a pleasant place to work in. Keep your desk clean and decluttered. Cut some greenery from the garden and put it in a vase by your computer. Have a jug of iced water and a pretty glass. Get a comfy cushion for your back.
Exercise is not only great for burning calories and ramping up your metabolism, but it helps you feel more positive, gives you fresh air and fresh perspective. Exercising releases endorphins, the brain’s feel good neurotransmitters, which help you feel happy and motivated.
- Go for a “Sanity walk”
- Ride a Bike
- Do a Youtube exercise video
- Do some situps, pushups or lunges
- Vacuum with high intensity with your headphones on
- Shoot hoops with the children
- Jump on the trampoline
Plan your meals
The more you plan your meals, the less likely you are to have a blow out. Sit down and plan out your meals for the next week. Use that plan to write your shopping list. This is a great opportunity to try new recipes, to learn new skills in the kitchen. Take your time, enjoy the process of cooking high flavour meals. Use lots of herbs and spices, fresh lemon and crisp vegetables. Maybe commit to learning a new skill in the kitchen – learn how to make the perfect curry, or poached egg or medium rare steak.
Shop with Intention
Getting to the supermarket is difficult during the Lockdown so use this as your secret weapon. You will either be shopping on-line (which is perfect if you find it hard to resist the chocolate at the checkout) or you are getting to the supermarket but probably trying not to go too often and not to spend too much time once you are there. It’s the perfect time to shop with real intention. You will only have access to the food that you buy at the supermarket (no cafes or restaurants), so make sure that food works for you!
Before you go, write a list – and only buy what’s on that list. Try and buy healthy and whole – baby carrots, berries, seeds, sparkling water. If in doubt buy things that look as close to how they came out of the ground or off the tree as possible. The less food looks like what it is, the worse it is for your health. For example a potato that still looks like a potato is a better choice than chips. Seeds and nuts are a better choice than a muesli bar. With limited shopping and limited choice, use it to focus on buying whole foods and less of the foods you know trip you up.
When you’re bored or stressed it’s easy to reach for the wine. We get it…a glass of wine, especially during Lockdown can be nice , but don’t let it tip your calorie intake over the edge. There are about 120 calories in a glass of white wine, so a few drinks in an evening can really add up.
If you do enjoy a drink, try these tips for minimising the calories
- Have a Spirit with a Diet Mixer (for example Gin and Diet Tonic)
- Alternate drinks – 1 glass of Wine then 1 glass of Sparkling Water or Diet Fizzy Drink
- Spritz – mix half Wine with half Sparkling Water
- Try just drinking a calorie free drink (sparkling water or diet Fizzy) but in a nice wine glass.
Use your commute time
For most of us, we are spending a lot less time commuting. Why not specifically tag the time you save not driving to work or school to do something specifically to make yourself feel better. If you usually spend 25 minutes driving to work, you could set aside 50 minutes of time a day to building up your spirits. You might use this gifted time to exercise, to read, to take a bath, to sit in the garden in a sunny spot, to knit, to call a friend. Don’t waste this extra time with things that don’t build you up – don’t use it to check Facebook, or do dishes or fold the laundry. Carve this time out for something special that is just for you.
Boredom is one of the most common reasons for overeating. That makes the long days of Lockdown a potential trigger. Being bored can often mean we snack and so with more time on our hands, the temptation to snack increases. Keeping busy and stimulated can not only help you feel happier and less stressed, it also minimises the time we have to eat. When we are bored, it can often make us feel stuck, and it can be difficult to think of things to do in the moment. It’s a good idea to prepare in advance. – write a list of things you could do when you are bored instead of snacking, then reach for that list when you start to feel stuck.
- Read a book
- Listen to music
- Go for a walk
- Write a poem
- Restore an old piece of furniture
- Listen to a blog
- Do a crossword
- Do a sudoku
Try and have things on the list that are stimulating and not mind numbing. Mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, watching episode after episode of Netflix might make you think like you are enjoying yourself, but these types of activities actually make us feel worse over time. Limit yourself to just a few minutes or one episode of activities like these and then move onto something that is more stimulating. All the research suggests that stimulating activities make you feel considerably better about yourself and the world – and feeling better about yourself and the world make it more likely that you will stick to your weight loss programme.
Learn a new skill
Why not commit this Lockdown to learning a new skill? Fill your down time with working on that skill. If you brain and your hands are busy you are less likely to reach for the snacks. There are many tutorials online that teach new things, so get googling. Here a few ideas to get you started;
- Learn to cook a souffle, scones or Beef Wellington
- Learn to paint
- Learn a musical instrument
- Learn to Cross stitch
- Learn to do a handstand
- Learn to juggle
- Learn to say “Hello” in 30 in languages
- Learn to play Chess
When your environment is calm and stress free you are more likely to feel calm and stress free. An out of control home can lead to feelings of being out of control, which for lots of people leads to stress eating. Lockdown is the perfect time to do a deep clean. Go through every room in your house and get rid of everything that is no longer essential. This makes space for adding things that do bring joy and serve a purpose. Once your desk is free from clutter, cut some greenery from the garden and put it in a small vase by your computer. Throw out all the paperwork that has piled up by your bedside table and instead add a scented candle and a good book. Throw out all the food that has expired from your pantry and fridge, give the shelves a good wipe down and then refill with healthy, fresh food that fuels your body. Declutter so you can replace the space with things of value.
Lockdown can be a time of overeating, stress and boredom or it can be a window of opportunity to create rituals in your life that feed your soul and focus your efforts on being healthy and happy. With some intentional planning you can make this time in Lockdown really work for you. Prepare, plan and press into your self discipline and you can use this time to start working on the new you! Hopefully, we will be back to our busy lives before we know it, so make the most of this time.
If you are struggling with weight loss over the Lockdown, do email us. Our support team are here to help.