LOCKDOWN – YOUR GAIN OR LOSS
During the global Covid-19 pandemic most populations have been or are in some form of lockdown, there has been a growing concern to manage nutrition properly and ensure health, proper weight management, as well as to stay in top shape.
There are several genuine and valid concerns.
Firstly, before lockdown occurred most people were leading consistently active lifestyles. Gym visits and outdoor activities such as running, and cycling were routine. Calorie burn rates were up nicely due to a higher and consistent volume of training.
Then, for many it came to a grinding halt. The minute your training intensity and volume drops so too should your calorie intake to fall in line. Eating more calories than you burn off will absolutely lead to weight gain.
Over and above this lockdown has left people more sedentary than their normal daily routines. Driving around, walking to meetings and general office run arounds such as shopping and walking around for longer periods of time which add to calorie burn rates have also dropped significantly.
There is way more lounging around and frequent kitchen visits have become part of the normal daily routine. Emotional stability has been thrown out of whack due to the uncertainty of what lies ahead. Stress levels are on the rise for many and in a lot of cases depression has started to emerge.
This has led to emotional eating for a lot of people. Easy kitchen access and comfort foods has exaggerated the situation even more. Sleeping problems and elevated stress levels also play a part in this emotional roller coaster ride many of the world’s population is currently on.
It’s not an easy situation by any means. However, there are some ways to manage it and emerge in a healthy state.
The Power of Exercise & Nutrition
No matter your circumstances whether indoor training equipment or not this is the time for adaption. Human movement including some strength training is vital from a health perspective. There are plenty of creative ways to mix it up from body weight strength and core exercises to simple intensity interval sessions.
If you have access to indoor training equipment such as treadmills, smart bike trainers and weights then there is no excuse for keeping it up. It does not take a lot to prevent muscle atrophy and just doing at least thirty minutes of exercise daily is sure to keep your body happy physically and mentally.
As mentioned earlier nutrition is numero uno in keeping in shape. Not just from a weight management point of view but to also fortify and strengthen the immune system. What you put into your mouth each day will ultimately determine how your overall health.
My 9 Top Tips for Managing your Nutrition
1. Avoid the Junk
Keep the processed / junk foods out the house. If its not in the kitchen it is not accessible.
2. Natural is Best
Stock natural whole foods to make wholesome valuable nutrient dense meals.
3. Higher Fibre Low Glycaemic Foods
Aim for higher fibre and lower glycaemic foods to ensure good satiation as well as lowered blood sugar and controlled insulin levels. Incorporate a decent amount of nutrient dense lower glycaemic plant-based foods mainly in the form of vegetables.
4. Plan your Plate
Do not wake up without an eating plan for the day. If you have a structure you will not go wrong. However, if you have not planned your eating for the day you will base your meals on emotion and will just go off the path.
5. Drop the Treats
Treats in the form of sweets or pastries needs to be controlled. Lockdown has left many experimenting and baking away in the kitchen. This will just boost the emotional need for more and lead to a decline in healthy eating potentially promoting weight gain. If you are looking at making treats there are plenty of healthy options out there which are sugar free and low in calories.
6. Overeating Health
Most do not understand how to construct a meal based on proper required macronutrients intake. It is possible to overeat health. Just because the ingredients are healthy does not make your overall meal healthy. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats play an important role in any nutrition planning. Get them wrong and you will land up gaining weight.
7. Portion Control
Instead of large meals at any one sitting. Rather eat smaller meal portions more frequently throughout the day. This is the best way of managing insulin levels and ensuring you do not overeat.
8. Healthy Fats
Fats come in different forms. Avoid all processed fats such as hydrogenated vegetable oils and trans fats. Eat natural healthy fats and try to ensure the majority are unsaturated fats which provide much better health benefits to the body.
9. No Out-Training Bad Nutrition
This will never work. If you can train a lot due to being in lockdown then it does not mean you can out train a bad diet. The opposite. The minute you increase stress on the body due to intense or volume exercise then proper quality food intake needs to come up to help support it. Hard training and poor eating will place your body at risk for injury or illness.
In short, this period has provided challenges to many of us and its by no means easy when curve balls are thrown at us in life. Routines are completely turned upside down and all it requires is adapting quickly. Sitting around thinking about what is wrong does not solve the problem.
When it comes to health quick decisive decisions must be made to preserve and strengthen it. My advice is do not let yourself down you are in complete control. What you do today and tomorrow will set you up nicely for many weeks and months to come. Just give it some planning and focus.