We’ve all been hunkered down at home for a long time now. The pandemic has changed the way we work and live. Gyms have closed, and those that have re-opened have restrictions. Working from home means being around food all day long. The stress of COVID – 19, the election saga, the economy, home-schooling and more has led to eating more and imbibing more. So, the pounds have crept on. What can we do to get them off, and keep them off?
The first thing to do is to develop a new mindset. Look at this time as an opportunity to change your lifestyle for the better. For many, the pandemic has been a time for reflection on what really matters. And our health really matters.
To lose weight, it takes eating right, exercise, getting proper hydration, and enough sleep. According to most experts, eating right and getting proper nutrition is the most important step to take. And during these times, it can be the hardest. Or, with the right mindset, it can be a creative step to engage in.
At the start of each New Year, advertisements for weight loss programs ramp up. A structured program may be right for you. Counting points, calories or charting everything you eat certainly works for many people. Specialized diets like Keto may also work. However, if you are like me, I prefer a simpler approach. I’ve researched articles from the Mayo Clinic, WebMD, EatingWell, Prevention, Psychology Today, and the New York Times for tips. Here is a summary of some of the top tips I’ve found:
- Watch your portions. A balanced plate should contain 50% vegetables and fruits, 25% proteins and 25% whole grains.
- Clear your kitchen of junk foods. This reduces the temptation to binge eat. Instead, stock up on nutritious foods and snacks like cut vegetables, nuts, fresh fruits, sea salt popcorn, dark chocolate and more. Research good-for-you snacks and put some on your shopping list.
- Eat more fiber. This is key, because fiber is the non-digestible part of a carbohydrate that adds bulk to food. When eaten, fiber swells in the stomach. Therefore, when you follow a diet rich in fiber, you feel full after eating and you’ll generally eat less throughout the day, leading to weight loss. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds are rich in fiber. Soup is a great way to get more fiber. Throw that rotisserie chicken carcass in a pot, put in lots of vegetables and seasonings and you have delicious and fiber rich chicken soup!
- Try Intermittent Fasting. I’m doing this and it is a lot easier than you think. You choose the hours of the day that you eat, you eat healthy foods in reasonable portions and that’s about it. You are eating less. Simple. No more eating 5-6 meals a day or eating every 2-3 hours. There are several Intermittent Fasting plans available; do your research and find one that appeals to you.
- Change your habits. Don’t sit in front of the TV and binge eat. Go for a walk instead. Call a friend. Learn a new skill, a new language. Exercise!