The Covid pandemic brought many changes to how people live and work, but something that is not being talked about much is weight gain. The loss of a daily routine is the main culprit in putting on a few extra pounds, as is having an endless supply of comfort food only a few steps from a home office. The following outlines how to lose weight and maintain a trimmer figure as life returns to normal.
Get Back into a Routine
The journey to pandemic weight loss begins by resetting the daily routine. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day will get the body back into a regular sleep-wake cycle and re-establish proper mealtimes.
Planning meals for the entire week is a good way to stay on track. Knowing exactly what is available removes guesswork and limits temptation to order takeout or snack excessively.
Even if working from home is still the reality for a while longer, dressing for work promotes awareness about weight gain. Loose-fitting clothes like sweatpants just makes it easier to ignore.
Cook Healthy Foods at Home
Preparing healthy meals at home not only saves money, but it helps a person learn what they like and how to get full from taste rather than quantity. This is one of the best ways to lose weight and keep it from returning.
Cooking enough protein, such as lean meat, for one week makes meal planning easy. Each meal should include vegetables, whole grains and fruits.
Practice Mindful Eating
Controlling food portions plays a large role in weight loss. Filling up a salad plate with food instead of a large dinner plate can bring on a feeling of fullness sooner.
Another approach is to drink a glass of water before a meal. In some cases, hunger will diminish or go away altogether.
Too many carbohydrates in a meal can cause the blood sugar to spike and make a person feel out of control. It is best to eat proteins first to feel full more quickly.
Avoid candy, cookies, chips and other foods that may lead to binge eating. Keeping them out of the house is the best way to avoid temptation and to lose weight.
While exercise is not directly related to weight loss, it is good for weight maintenance once the extra pounds are shed. If going to the gym is not an option yet, doing online workouts or even going for a socially distanced hike a few times per week can be helpful for weight-loss goals. In addition, if there are mood issues from social isolation or chronic joint pain, exercise and losing weight will help with both.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep not only affects mood and energy levels, it also plays a big role in a person’s weight. Most adults require at least seven hours of sleep each night to be at their best the following day, and there is growing evidence that many overweight or obese individuals do not sleep enough.
Lockdown and working from home has contributed to irregular schedules, which can cause insomnia or other unhealthy sleep patterns. Having a strict bedtime each day will result in falling asleep faster and staying asleep for at least seven hours. Getting up at the same time every day, even on weekends, helps the body to feel sleepy at the correct time.
Stress is a major trigger for overeating and weight gain. Being at home all of the time, even when working, can contribute to elevated stress levels that some may try to alleviate with snacks and alcohol. Drinking beer, wine and spirits is also dehydrating, which can stimulate even more eating, as well as disrupted sleep.
Along with long walks or hikes, practicing yoga and meditation can help center a person and allow them to release the stress that may be contributing to weight gain. Setting aside time for prayer each day allows for reconnection with faith, even if going to church is not possible yet. Adopting a pet, especially a dog, brings love, companionship, anxiety reduction and the need for daily exercise.
Keeping things in perspective is important, especially for those who need to lose weight post-Covid. Putting the focus on being healthier, not being perfect, will get the best results