How long has it been since the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has thrown what we considered a normal routine out the window? And how long have we (mostly) been staring out that same window wondering when we can return to live pre-Corona?
For most people who were used to a certain routine of exercise, work, home for dinner but have now been sitting slouched over their laptops in an attempt to meet the demands of a work-from-home life, there’s a good chance that the time spent on physical fitness they previously enjoyed has been cut down to half. Naturally, with a more sedentary lifestyle comes the inevitable lack of energy, lethargy and weight gain.
While gaining a few pounds here and there (short term) may not be as worrisome as people might make it out to be, if over time, you tend to gain and sustain that weight gain, it can prove to have a negative effect on one’s overall health and well-being. In fact, setting a new routine to help lose or manage one’s body weight is particularly important for those suffering from health issues like diabetes or high blood pressure. Even a modest amount of weight gain can negatively impact such individuals if they’re not vigilant.
So what are some ways you can make a conscious effort to keep your weight and health in check? Follow these simple rules to get your health back on track, and lose those lockdown pounds. Remember, it’s never too late to take care of your health.
Rule No 1: If you’re grown accustomed to enjoying sodas and fizzy drinks this lockdown, start by reducing the amount to half, and replace it with water. This will easily cut about 150 calories per drink, and in turn, lower your risk of a heart attack.
Rule No 2: While having a class of juice might seem like a healthy idea, if you’re drinking juice out of a tetra pack, you might want to swap the packaged variety for freshly-squeezed options. This healthy alternative comes with fewer calories and keeping the pulp in adds more fibre. Alternatively, having the whole fruit in place of just the juice will help you feel full longer.
Rule No 3: When having your meal, it’s advisable to pay attention to your food and not a screen. The act of turning off distracting screens – smartphones, TVs, tablets – will help you reconnect with your food, and help your brain register each bite and chew, signalling your stomach that you have indeed eaten a full meal, preventing you from bingeing or over eating.
Rule No 4: As hard as this rile might seem, it pays to keep your counters and cabinets free from any junk food. Instead, stock up on fruit. While it may not be your first choice, over time, when you feel those hunger pangs, you’ll be bound to bite into a healthy fruit. Besides, it’s as they say: out of sight, out of mind.
Rule No 5: If you know that you’re going to begin craving snacks between meals, it’s best to prep in advance. By this, we simply mean chopping up fresh fruit and veggies for easy grab-and-go snacking, without having to go to the grocery store and stocking up on junk food.
Rule No 6: No matter the workload or deadlines, ensure you get at least between seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Going to be at a reasonable hour will ensure you get more sleep and wake up fresh to take on the day. Moreover, studies show that a lack of sleep or sleep deprivation causes a changes in the hormones that regulate hunger and appetite.
Of course, following these rules while adding at least 45 minutes of medium-intensity workouts, four times a week, will help you shed those extra pounds and maintain a healthy body weight.