Slowly but surely we are starting to emerge back into society after a year and half of being starved of social events and travel and we now are hearing from lots of people that are not happy with what they are seeing when they look in the mirror. Well if you are unhappy with what you see in the mirror, my first tip would be not to be too hard on yourself, this pandemic has been a perfect storm for weight gain for a lot of people! Chances are with everything that has happened you may have adopted a few bad habits and maybe lost a few good habits along the way as well.
So what I wanted to share with you are some suggestions that might be helpful to get you out of this rut and back on track with your health and fitness plan.
For some the mere mention of the word ‘Fasting’ is enough for them to break out in a cold sweat at the very thought. This could be because they perceive it as being a really drastic measure and something that is extremely difficult for them to do. However it certainly doesn’t have to be this way. It can actually be really easy to fast. To get a 16 hour fast, you simply stop eating after your evening meal then go to bed and sleep, skip breakfast and have your first meal at 11-12pm, and as easy as that you have done a fast.
One of the reasons I like fasting so much is that it can be a great way to control eating in the evening (evenings are often the trickiest part of the day to navigate).
If you have a strict cut off time for stopping eating it can take away a lot of the anguish of trying not to snack after dinner and stop you battling with yourself. For many people when you make a hard and fast rule with yourself it can be easier to adhere to rather than just relying on willpower.
Try fasting 3-5 days a week and it might just be what you need to get you back on track.
No Mid Week Alcohol (unless there is a special occasion)
With not having to drive to work in the morning or having to get yourself looking presentable for those early morning meetings, many people have become a bit more relaxed in the evenings in midweek and have started drinking more alcohol.
Others have reached for an alcoholic drink to help get them through the stress of living through a pandemic. I know if I liked alcohol I would have certainly been reaching for a glass during the first lockdown when I was struggling to move our business online whilst also homeschooling (but hey, I always have ice cream for my comfort blanket).
Regular midweek drinking is going to mean a significant increase in your weekly calorie intake.
Particularly if it is wine or beer you are drinking, and when you then factor in the bad food choices that might go along with alcohol you will almost certainly see a gradual increase in weight gain in response to these extra calories. As well as extra calories, drinking more alcohol will likely lead to; poorer sleep, lower mood, less exercise, and less general physical activity. All of which will lead to poorer health.
Us humans run a lot of our behaviours on autopilot, so it might be that you have gotten into a bad habit with alcohol without really noticing it. So the first thing I would suggest is that you analyse it objectively and if your alcohol intake has crept up during the pandemic, this might be a good time to start to reduce it again.
We are not saying you need to reduce your alcohol consumption to zero. It might just be a case of setting yourself limits that you are happy to drop to.
Maybe try going 3-5 days per week without alcohol, and as I always say to my clients when we are going to try something new – why not view it as an experiment. Try it for 4 weeks and if you don’t feel better then what have you really lost?
Most people are not yet fully back at work and are still spending a lot of time in their house. With this in mind the big food shop becomes key to your getting healthier again. If you are buying lots of calorie dense foods you are almost certainly setting yourself up for failure. If you don’t buy it, then when you get the urge for a bar of chocolate or bag of crisps the chances are the thought of having to leave the house to hunt down unhealthy snacks could be enough to deter you.
Aim to fill your fridge and cupboards with healthy snacks and lower calories foods to help you make better choices.
So that when you do have a craving for something to eat between meal times there are good options to hand.
Trust me on this one, when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle much of your success will come down to how well you do your food shopping.
Move More Often
Working from home meant we lost a lot of the inconsequential movements that come from being physically in the workplace and this could be one of the factors that will have contributed to weight gain and poorer physical and mental health over the past year and half.
It is vital therefore that you now manufacture some movement into your day. Try:
- Taking walking breaks.
- Do something physical in the evening.
- Get up from your desk and go upstairs for something every hour.
- Walk about when you are on the phone.
- Walk to the shops rather than taking the car.
The cycle of going from your bed to your desk then to the couch in the evenings will mean your calories burn for the day will be very very low, not to mention the other negative effects it will be having on both your physical and mental health.
It is not the most exciting advice you will get for your health and weight loss but getting up and moving more often could be a key component to you get back on track with your health and wellbeing.
If you are working from home you are going to need to work extra hard to be active every day,
…and maybe more so as we approach autumn. When the weather starts to change for the worse, the chances are you are going to be even more likely to want to cosy up in the house. However you must challenge yourself to get outside every day, as Billy Connolly famously said:
“There is no such thing as bad weather – only the wrong clothes!”
Another trick I like to use is, to vow to get outside and do at least ten minutes every day, once you’re out and start moving if you are not feeling it you can go home (but 99% of the time when you get out there and start you will want to keep going).
Set Some Short & Long Term Goals
Nothing can break you out a rut like a well selected goal. Over the years some of the most successful clients I have worked with have been brides-to-be. The goal of a wedding is such a strong motivator for them they simply get their head down and make it happen.
So why don’t you set yourself a goal, something to aim for; book a holiday, sign up for a race:
Make a date in the calendar for an event that will excite you and will be something you want to attend looking and feeling great.
This past year we have not had holidays, weddings to attend, or events to dress up for. So it has been very easy to hide away in our baggy clothes and tilt cameras at a flattering angle for zoom meetings. However I know it might feel like this pandemic may never end, but it will, and when it does you will want to reappear into the world full of vigour and proud of how you are looking.
I have included a link to our free consultation that we do with all our new clients to get their health and fitness masterplan up and running. This really does work and is often the overlooked part of many people’s health and fitness regime.
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