If lockdown life has got you eager to shift some extra kilos, then you’re not alone.
Spending most of the day both sitting down and in dangerously close proximity to the fridge have made our desires to lead healthier lives all that more trickier.
But not to worry, let’s take a look at my top ten tips and tricks to help us get back in shape:
1. Do: Take your time.
Drastic change rarely works. So if you’ve been consuming copious amounts of junk food recently, then both your body and brain may struggle to adapt if you suddenly decide to go 100% health guru on them.
Instead be patient and give this a go: write down all of the unhealthy stuff you ate last week and pick just one of those things to cut out next week. This approach will give you the chance to adjust gradually without feeling overwhelmed.
2. Don’t: Skip meals
Nothing increases the likelihood of the munchies striking than skipping meals. The longer you wait to eat, the higher the chance is that you’ll eventually reach for that chocolate bar out of sheer frustation.
If you do find yourself at a loose end where meal times are concerned and are starting to get desperate, then make sure you always have some healthy snacks nearby to satisfy any hunger cravings before you’re able to eat something proper.
3. Do: Brush your teeth
This obvious but effective trick signifies to your brain that eating time is over. No more food is going to be consumed. Doing this can be particularly powerful if you struggle with endless snacking after you’ve finished your main meal.
So try this: after every meal today, immediately go and brush your teeth. What may seem strange at first will quickly become second nature and you won’t have to think twice about it.
4. Don’t: Go it alone
Teaming up with like-minded people who would also like to lose some weight can give you a huge boost. You’ll be able to share experiences, tips as well as motivating each other stay on track.
Or if want to go the extra step and work with a qualified personal trainer then find yourself an accountability partner who has your back through thick and thin.
5. Do: Keep track
Keeping track of the progress you’re making on your weight loss journey can be highly rewarding. Whether you decide to chart your success on a graph or cross the days off a calendar, you will have a real-time feedback system giving you valuable insights on how you’re doing.
Do this: open an excel spreadsheet and start entering your figures and/or print off an A4 copy of the current calendar month and stick it up somewhere you’ll see it every day.
6. Don’t: Weigh yourself too often
Weighing yourself is part and parcel of a weight loss journey, however, if you do it too often, the numbers on the scales can start to mess with your head.
If you feel like you’ve been doing all the right things, then don’t forget there are other tried and trusted feedback methods: observing your general sense of wellbeing, looking in the mirror or noticing clothes becoming loose-fitting.
7. Do: Look at the big picture
Just scoffed down two donuts in the heat of the moment without pausing to breathe? Don’t panic, you may feel crappy now but it hasn’t ruined your day, it hasn’t ruined your week.
Don’t get lost in the moment. An 80:20 ratio between healthy and unhealthy is what we’re ideally aiming for but sometimes things don’t always go as planned. That’s life. Just get back up and try again.
8. Don’t: Make it boring
Healthy eating shouldn’t feel like a punishment. Get creative and try out some recipes that you like the look of.
Whether it be from that cookbook you were gifted years and completely forgot about to the plethora of food-related shows on TV nowadays, you’re bound to discover both healthy and tasty meal ideas
9. Do: Drink lots of water
Just woken up? Before you do anything else be sure to drink two big glasses of water. This will help to both rehydrate the body and flush out any toxins.
Feeling hungry? First drink some water. More often than not you’ll find that you’re mistaking hunger for thirst.
10 Don’t: Ignore your cravings
If there is something you would like to eat then eat it. But before you do, eat something healthy first, a handful of nuts, chopped veg. This will both fill you up and reduce your appetite for anything sweet.
If you are still hungry afterwards, then have your treat and savour it. There is nothing wrong with you eating what you enjoy as long as you do it consciously and in moderation.
NB: I am neither a dietician nor nutritionist. This is merely anecdotal evidence based on my own experience.