From the very first month of the year 2020, social structures all over the world have turned upside down. With mentally debilitating lockdowns and isolation to strictly adhere to, many of us have been prone to various physical and mental disturbances due to the deadly coronavirus. However, this pandemic has led to a drastic difference in people’s lifestyles, including their dietary habits, from an active, healthy one to a more sedentary, passive one.
According to WHO, 1 in 4 adults does not receive even half of the recommended amount of physical activity in a day. In addition to this, according to research, a majority of the population in India saw a 2.1 to 5 kg increase in the first 49 days of lockdown itself. This increase in weight has further taken a toll on their mental health in addition to their physical well-being. This situation has also led to an increase in obesity and diseases like diabetes.
In addition to the aforementioned lifestyle change, there is an added pressure of running a home and taking care of a family while also meeting deadlines at work. Therefore, the lockdown can be a stressful time for any person, to say the least.
Hence, presented below is our personally curated list to stay in shape during the lockdown.
From diet hacks to exercise, there is a lot that can be done from home. Here is a list of ten lifestyle and diet changes that can help to achieve that healthy weight loss:
One of the most evident reasons for the overall increase in the weight of the general population is the phenomenon of “bored eating”. This refers to the situation where an individual eats irrespective of whether they are hungry or not. The most significant way to combat this is to stay occupied until normal meal hours. Set and adhere to particular times to eat during the day.
Planning one’s meals is another surefire way to ensure healthy eating. In addition to making the process of cooking easier, one will also be able to track calories fectively. Therefore, they can attain a sense of visibility when it comes to what they eat.
Not to mention, this practice will also reduce the chances of ordering food from other restaurants or even indulging in pre-cooked, processed foods. Watch out for our next blog on a seven day healthy meal plan.
Exercise is just as important as diet. To ensure that one exercises regularly, they must designate a small but sufficient area to exercise. This can motivate one to put in the much-needed work and reduce sitting hours even if there is not much place at home.
The basis of this practice involves restricting unhealthy foods entirely but also healthy foods to a moderate level. You can decide on your portion sizes by using the Plate Method – Fill half your plate with veggies, 1/4th with your cereal/grain and the other 1/4th part should comprise of protein sources (lentils/lean meat).
Weight loss is the most effective when an individual follows a set plan that has goals. However, while you can set simple goals such as weight or inches loss; increase in stamina and strength are goals too, if you are working towards achieving higher fitness levels. Make sure your goals are measurable and practical. For eg. you cannot set a goal of losing the weight gained over a period of 10 years within a week. That can be dangerous too!
Mindful Eating involves enjoying your meal and being aware of when you are full. For example, If you are eating while watching TV or working on your computer, you will mindlessly consume more than you need.
Although portion control is a good option, it may not be the healthiest option, especially for younger individuals. The aim of dieting should be to practice mindful eating to carry out daily tasks and exercise as well.
One should learn to stop eating when they are full. Therefore, mindful eating holds a priority when it comes to attaining a normal weight.
Learning to be mentally sound is just as important as being physically fit. This lockdown has also been a hard time for the individuals who live alone and away from the family. Therefore, it will be a good practice to call frequently and interact with family and friends. This can have a significant but positive impact on an individual and may even motivate them in their weight loss as well.
As for adults it is 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Both children and adults have been recommended to do muscle strengthening activities, involving all major muscle groups at least 2 to 3 days a week, ranging from moderate to vigorous.
There has also been an uptick in stress eating during this time. This happens when the cortisol hormone is released in response to the increasing pressure that individuals are feeling, especially during this time. Therefore, people tend to develop an appetite much more quickly. Breathing exercise helps regulate your stress levels and may prevent stress eating.
Another side effect of increasing cortisol levels is the need for sugar. Ingesting foods with high amounts of sugar can decrease these levels and thus reduce the stress that one may be feeling. However, not only is sugar harmful to diabetes patients but other people as well. Sugar can have a negative impact on one’s body, both physically and mentally. Mindless consumption of foods such as sweetened beverages, fruit juices, smoothies, ice creams and cookies etc. can infuse excessive amounts of sugar into your body.
Diet and exercise always go hand in hand for any weight loss plan to truly be effective. Therefore, these 10 tips will help guide an individual as they take up this challenging but not impossible task of attaining a normal BMI.
In the end, the key to losing weight, especially during the lockdown, is all a matter of overcoming mental challenges to get past physical limitations!
Author: Sripriya Ravi, MSc,M.Phil,MS, Dietitian/Diabetes Educator, Diahome