During these times when it’s necessary to stay at home, it’s all too easy to let yourself go and gain what has been nicknamed the ‘Quarantine15’, the average pounds a person may put on during our lockdown environment.
Binge eating, stress eating, emotional eating out of boredom– whichever you may be more prone to, it is not unavoidable just because you’re stuck at home. These five strategies will help build your defense against the so-called pandemic pounds.
Draw Up A Weekly Meal Plan
With all the extra time around the house and a kitchen full of tempting snacks, it might feel harder to stay on course during your health and fitness journey, so the first thing to do is draft an eating plan.
Be as detailed as possible: Have a timetable for cooking, eating and even snacking; decide on a weekly budget that covers groceries, takeaways and deliveries; decide how frequently you eat out, get takeaway or delivery. Print it out, stick it somewhere prominent – such as in your kitchen or dining area so that you’re constantly reminded of your plan – and stick to it!
It’s also a good idea to keep a written record of what exactly you eat at every meal and review it once a week to see if or how far you may have strayed. The point is to have a structure as to what, when and how much you eat each day so that you don’t lose track of time and purpose, and simply eat to fill the void.
Set Your Snack Rules
If you’ve love to snack – or suddenly find yourself relying on them more during lockdown – it becomes more difficult to resist when cravings strike. But if you do cave in, try not to feel horrible afterwards (unless you’re snacking on these healthy treats!), and try to compromise: Set a rule for the indulgent foods and snacks you tend to crave, for example, if potato crisps are your Achilles’ heel, make a rule that before opening any a new bag of crisps you do 25 push-ups. Little reminders like this will make you pause and perhaps reconsider if it’s worth ‘paying’ for.
Prep a Your Daily Menu
Now, more than ever, it is crucial that you keep your nutrient levels high. That means getting all the essentials vitamins and minerals through fresh, whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean protein and good fats. At the same time, you want to minimise foods that can adversely affect your immune system such as sugar, dairy, grains, processed foods, alcohol, and caffeine.
To ensure you’re on track to consuming the required amounts, plan out all the dishes you would cook for every meal within a week. That will allow you to fit in what’s necessary while keeping tabs on the less functional foods.
Don’t Go Grocery Shopping Without a List
Use your meal plan to populate your shopping list, and only get the items needed to cook what you have decided, and nothing more! You maybe inspired to try something new that you find, but simply take note and work it into the following week’s meals. This will help you avoid the discounted chocolate on the sale aisle as well!
Sleep Tight, Good Night
Recovery is just as important as training. Likewise, getting adequate and quality sleep plays an important role in weight management. A study by the University of Colorado in the US found that participants who only slept an average of 5 nights for a week gained an average of two pounds. That’s because when you don’t get enough sleep, the hormone leptin (which tells your body when you’ve eaten enough) goes down while another hormone, ghrelin (which triggers hunger), goes up.
Just like your schedule for future meals, make sure you have a plan for how long you are going to sleep, and stick to it. When you’re in a routine, you’ll find it easier to turn off Netflix for your regular bedtime and get some good sleep.