CONTROL YOUR WEIGHT DURING COVID 19
Under normal circumstances one of the main goals for many people is to lose weight or at least to keep a healthy weight and we do a lot to reach that goal
Going to the gym, buying fresh fruit, vegetables and fish, distracting ourselves from food with a walk in the park. Those are all things that help with weight loss.
So what the hell are we doing now? We are stuck at home. No gym, no fresh air, no daily groceries, no physical movement.
Instead we are sitting around all day long, the fridge is just 2 steps away and full of comfort food (because we really need that now), not to talk about the cold beer and the bottle of white wine that’s just waiting for it to be 5 o’clock in the afternoon, which is when it is ok to have alcohol. We are not talking about weekends because what would a Sunday lunch be without a tasty glass of red wine?
How can either we lose weight, keep a healthy weight or if anything please just not gain more weight??? Argh… Even if there’s just a tiny chance that we are going to need a bikini body this year, it still exists!
Ok guys. Relax. The solution is simple even if you won’t like what we are going to tell you at first.
Weight is like maths. It’s just as easy as that:
Lose weight = eat less than you burn
Keep weight = eat what you burn
Gain weight = eat more than you burn
That's all the magic around it. We’re sorry. And before our friends and fitness freaks out there start raising hands to say “it’s not that simple…”, it is. We are only talking about the pure and naked fact of losing or gaining weight.
We are not talking about losing or gaining muscle or fat mass, about body composition, hunger, satiation, insulin levels, health or whatever. Because in these cases you are right, it gets more complicated. But that’s not the aim of this article.
If you are having trouble with your weight you might want to get a bit of an overview about your calorie intake. Use this calculator to get to know your caloric needs.
Track your food over a couple of days to see how many calories you are eating. There are many apps for food tracking available (like MyFitnessPal for example). If this is a no go for you, you can control your portions with your hands.
Once you know your real caloric intake from your tracking, you can compare it to the calories you should eat and adapt the amount up or down. To lose weight a caloric deficit of 500 cal per day is a good starting point. Try how that works for you for a couple of weeks.
What else can you do right now? First of all you have to know what you want and why you want it. Set SMART goals (Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time-bound) and define your purpose which will be the most important factor of success or failure.
You need a compelling reason for what you want to achieve. Otherwise you won’t succeed.
In case of wanting to lose weight during the rest of the confinement period (let’s say it is two weeks more) this would be an example for a SMART goal:
S: “I want to lose 2 kilos in the next 2 weeks starting from today”.
M: This is clearly your scale. Aim to weigh yourself today, in one week and the last day.
A: 2 kilos in 2 weeks is perfectly attainable and healthy.
R: Is your goal realistic for you? Be honest with yourself. You have to work towards it. Your compelling reason will come into play here.
T: Create a calendar leading up to the deadline with all the steps you need to take to reach your goal.
So whenever you are clear on your goal, there are several things that can help you to reach it. In terms of healthy eating we want to mention the POSE factors:
Preferences: the more you like what AND how you eat, the easier it will be to stick to a diet. There are millions of diets out there and the best one of all of them is the one that works for you. So don’t search for the “best diet in 2020” in fancy magazines but think of what you like or can do and then find the diet that best matches your needs.
Organization: you will almost certainly eat what you have at home. If your pantry is full of chocolate you’ll eventually end up eating it. Being stuck at home, the moments when we are tempted to go grab a piece of chocolate are uncountable. So don’t buy it. Instead plan and prepare healthy meals. Once a meal is prepared it is very unlikely that you won’t eat it.
Support: it has been shown that having a buddy for whatever goal you want to reach makes you more likely to eventually reach it. Right now there are tons of challenges going on. Being part of a community with similar goals helps with motivation and consistency.
Environment: as we mentioned at the beginning, what you don’t have at home you won’t eat and the other way around. If you are co-living just make sure your friend’s chocolate bars, crisps or whatever is tempting for you is not at plane sight.
When it comes to weight loss our mind has a huge impact. The right mindset is by far the most important success factor. Close afterwards comes organization.
The type of foods to eat is surprisingly unimportant once the key leverage points are identified and set.
There are foods or food groups that can help a lot with weight loss though. Let’s see which ones they are:
- Protein is by far the most important nutrient to eat when trying to lose weight. A high protein consumption will keep you from getting hungry or from cravings. It will help not to lose muscle mass and it boosts your metabolism, which means you are burning more calories when eating protein than when eating the same amount of fat or carbs.
Here you can calculate your ideal protein intake. Getting enough protein is not as easy as it seems, even less for vegetarians or vegans. Protein powders can really help a lot here.
- Fruit and vegetables do not only provide your body with nutrients but also with fiber and water which satiates you and helps you with your digestion.
- Healthy fats from nuts and seeds are important for your heart, for the production of hormones and many other things. Chia pudding is an example for a super healthy that comes with Omega-3 fatty acids, B-Vitamins and a lot of fiber that will keep you satiated for a long time.
Other very important points that help you to stay in control of your weight are:
- Get enough sleep whereas an average of 8 hours is recommended. Getting enough sleep will help you with your food choices.
- Be physically active. The more exercise you try to implement in your day the better for your body, your mind and your weight. Do whatever you like, jump around, dance, do online workouts, buy a jump rope, run your stairs up and down. Commit to make 10 burpees anytime you enter the kitchen or whatever but get your ass off the couch.
Life will go back to normal at some point. Or at least we will be able to leave the house again. The kind of world and society we will find there will be different from what we knew before Covid19.
One thing is for sure, your physical and mental shape now and after all this is over determines your health and well-being. Try to do your best to be able to go out the day we will be allowed to and to show up in your best shape. You can do this.