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Currently, the coronavirus pandemic has put the United States and many other countries across the world into lockdown, closing gyms, restricting people’s movements, and keeping them at home. For those of us on a weight loss journey, being told to stay at home is a scary thought - How will we keep our diets in check? How do we work-out? Will we undo all of our progress?
The truth is that weight loss is often not a linear journey and we can expect to hit a variety of ups and downs along the way, what matters most is how we deal with them. So here’s how to continue your weight-loss journey while being confined at home.
Being told that your city or state is on lockdown and that there is a very contagious and potentially dangerous virus sweeping the nation can cause people to panic, but it’s important to stay calm and to assess your situation in order to find out what a lockdown will mean for you and what changes you will need to make to your daily routine.
Panicking will only cause a rise in the stress hormone, cortisol, which is responsible for changing the way in which your body metabolizes glucose and determines how much energy your muscles burn. Prolonged periods of stress can lead to a rise in cortisol levels from which the body can struggle to recover, causing insulin resistance and making it harder for your body to burn fat, so it’s important to try and avoid stress wherever possible.
In an ideal world, the best way to reduce stress would be to eliminate the source, but unless you have a cure for coronavirus up your sleeve, that isn’t going to be possible at this time, so you’ll need to find some alternative ways to reduce your stress levels. Here are a few things to try:
You may now be working from home, not working at all, or having to home-school your children, all of which will greatly alter your daily routine. Rather than letting all sense of routine fly out the window, try to stick to a new normal by getting up at the same time every day, getting dressed even if you aren’t leaving the house, eating at regular mealtimes and going to bed at the same time each day. Our bodies love routine and sticking to one will help you to keep calm, to reduce your stress and to make better use of your time.
As a rule of thumb, losing weight is 80% about diet and 20% about exercise, meaning that if you need to let something slip during lockdown it should be your exercise and not your diet. You should still have access to your local grocery store and wherever possible try to maintain a healthy and balanced diet with the products you have available. It can be tempting to turn to comfort foods in times of stress but now more than ever your weight loss journey needs you to stay diligent.
If you do find yourself craving a comforting bacon macaroni cheese, a pizza or some other food that you would usually avoid, then rather than let the craving build try to satisfy it by making a healthier alternative. Why not make your own pizza at home, use low-fat mozzarella and lean proteins and serve with a side of salad, or if you are craving greasy bacon then try sprinkling something like Flavor God Seasoning on some turkey bacon which is a zero-calorie seasoning blend that tastes just like the real thing.
With gyms closing and social classes banned, if you want to keep up some form of exercise routine you are going to need to be able to perform it at home. If weight training was an important part of your routine then you may be able to improvise with items from around the house, or if you can afford to, then consider investing in some free weights for your garage.
Alternatively, use this time to try something new and take up something like pilates, yoga or HIIT which can be performed quickly and easily in a small space by following one of many online tutorials. Exercise right now will be important for your mental health, so make it fun, keep it simple and if you can then make it a part of your new routine.
Finally, it’s important to remember that this won’t last forever, and so even if you do put on a few pounds, that’s ok. As we mentioned before, weight loss is not always linear and you will experience bumps in the road, just do your best, stick to a routine where you can and when this is all over get back to your usual routine with a new sense of gratitude for the freedom you have. With consistency and persistence you will lose weight and change your life forever.
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