It has been an emotional time for most people. But it’s relatively difficult to avoid stress when there are so many things happening around us. With the pandemic restrictions, risks, and places like the gym and offices closed, it certainly gave way to gaining weight.
When we’re stressed, we often turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as making unhealthy food choices. Also, people are not as active as before since they can’t commute or walk outside. Places where you could’ve had exercised like the gym, parks, and public pools closed down, too. According to the American Psychological Association’s survey, two in five of 3,000 adults gained more weight than they had expected last year.
It’s not too late to adopt some habits that can help you lose your pandemic weight. It doesn’t mean you have to change everything at once—we’ll show you how to do so gradually.
Balance Your Meals
Having a balanced meal might get complicated due to calorie counting. Sometimes you might get obsessive over it. We tend to use calorie tracking tools to help us with our food, but it can be time-consuming and a bit overwhelming, and we might not likely stick to it in the long run.
As an alternative, you can use hand size measures to work out portion sizes. You can measure your food intake with your hands. A dietitian recommends that vegetables make up half your plate, while whole grain and protein should fill a quarter.
Fiber is also essential for building a healthy body. Fiber-rich food, like whole grains, fruit, and vegetables, helps control appetite and make you feel fuller longer. By increasing your fiber intake, you’ll reduce the number of calories you consume. It can also save you from the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Drink More Water
Drinks that contain a lot of sugar put a lot of unnecessary calories into your body. Keep a bottle of water handy and try to drink at least a glass of water before and after you eat, or better yet, every two hours for the entire day—aim for six to eight glasses.
Put your bottle of water near your working area or wherever you go, so you won’t forget to drink up. You can download an application on your phone to remind you to drink water at a specific time.
Although gyms are still closed, there are types of equipment you can buy online to build your mini gym at home. There are a lot of workout videos you can find online, depending on your fitness goals, whether you wish to stay toned or lose weight.
Being physically inactive can lead to serious health risks and issues like coronary heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Your muscles will also weaken and lose bulk, and you’ll become more breathless and get easily tired over small activities.
If joint problems or injuries hamper your exercise routine, you can call in-home care services to regain your strength without exposing yourself to COVID-19 at the hospital.
Choose the Right Snacks
Everyone knows tempting snacks, like chips, fries, and sweets, are hard to resist but can often cause weight gain. During the lockdown, replacing them with healthy ones and being busy with work and chores can help you curb those snacks. Try mixed nuts, sliced fruits, yogurt, and even fresh veggies with a dip.
Never Skip Breakfast
Many office workers opted for work-from-home arrangements during the pandemic. Before COVID-19 happened, if you’ve ever had a schedule that required you to race through and fight traffic to get to your desk on time, you know that breakfast is often the first thing that gets cut from a morning routine. And you might have usually made excuses for not having sufficient time to have breakfast.
Start eating breakfast. Skipping it can lead to weight gain over time. A study published in June 2021 shows that some people who skip breakfast tend to eat more and consume higher amounts of fat and sugar during the day.
Refrain From Ordering Takeout
Restaurant visits have declined across the country due to establishments closing and capacity restrictions, but some have now switched to food deliveries and getting takeouts instead. A study from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Journal has found that most restaurants serve you way more calories than you need for a single meal.
It’s best to stick with prepared lunches. You can know the ingredients, control the portion, and the calories depending on your meal plan. Preparing healthy meals can help keep weight in check.
An entirely new lifestyle to lose pandemic weight can be challenging to manage. But you’ll notice a lot of difference once you shift to healthy meals and stick to your workout plan. Just do it gradually, and don’t dive headfirst. Otherwise, it might do more harm than good.