Losing weight often sounds far easier than it is. We know that to lose weight, we must consume fewer calories than we burn. When written down like that, it should be easy. Eat less, exercise more, or create a healthy balance between the two. Unfortunately, it’s rarely that simple. Our bodies are all different, so are our habits. We don’t all burn calories in the same way, and our metabolisms are different. The reasons behind our weight gain are often different too. Some people struggle to exercise because of time constraints, illness, or physical issues. Some of us overeat because we’re bored, unhappy, or stressed out. For many, food is a comfort, and despite the best of intentions, cutting back is much harder than we’d have imagined.
Another big problem with weight loss is that many of the diets that we read about are unhealthy. Cutting food groups, drastically restricting calories, and relying on meal replacements might work for some people, but many of us will suffer from unpleasant side effects and inevitably regain any weight that we have lost as soon as we start to eat normally again. These drastic diets can also have a negative effect on our mental health and mood, as well as our immune systems, and sleep patterns. Generally speaking, a diet that sounds too good to be true, or too easy, is.
Losing weight healthily is hard work. There’s no miracle fix. You have to stick with it and change your habits, to avoid future weight gain. Sticking to a healthy weight is a long-term commitment, and there’s no healthy quick fix.
This might be a bit of a knockback if you are carrying extra lockdown pounds and eager to get back into you pre lockdown jeans. But it shouldn’t be. Here’s a look at some of the healthiest ways to get back to your pre-lockdown best.
Why Have So Many of Us Gained Weight in Lockdown?
If we’re honest, most of us have gained at least a little weight over the last six months. There are a few different reasons for this, and for many of us, it’s been a combination of different factors. Some of the reasons for lockdown weight gain include:
· Comfort eating. It’s been a very uncertain time, and many of us have felt anxious and unhappy. We’ve eaten more and drank more alcohol for comfort.
· Entertainment. In all honesty, there hasn’t been much else to do. Your evenings may have been spent in front of the TV, binging shows on Netflix with crisps and wine, just for something to do.
· Lack of movement. Even if you’ve been working out at home, your day to day life might have been far more active, with so much more time spent at home.
· Working from home. Not having to travel to work means fewer steps, and working from home often means more frequent snacking.
So, what can we do about it, without turning to unhealthy crash diets?
It’s often said that losing weight is 20% exercise and 80% eating well. This might be true for many people, but really it depends on the reasons for your weight gain.
If you gained weight in lockdown because your gym was closed, you weren’t travelling to work, or you weren’t enjoying your more physical hobbies, then exercise might be more important on your personal journey.
Prioritising exercise doesn’t mean eating what you want. You should still eat well. But, it does mean that you will lose weight slowly and healthily while boosting your fitness levels and cardiovascular health. Your body will become toned and healthy, and you’ll feel much better.
Increasing the amount of exercise that you do also means that you’ll sleep better and feel more confident, both of which can help you to make the correct food choices and support the healthy eating part of your journey.
Basically, 80:20 is fine if that’s what your body needs. 50:50 is also fine. But, whatever ratio you go for, don’t neglect the importance of exercise. A plan such as the Joe Rogan muscle workout, which focuses on diet and exercise, can be ideal, especially if you struggle to stay motivated on your own.
There’s no perfect way to lose weight. We gain weight for different reasons, and so we should lose it in different ways. Ask yourself why you have gained weight and be honest. Are you an evening snacker? Do you spend your afternoons picking at biscuits? Are you active? Even things like not getting enough sleep can make weight loss harder.
Once you know your habits, you can combat them. If you are a snacker, make sure you’ve got healthy things prepared, or that you are busy in the evenings so don’t eat out of boredom.
Crash diets don’t work because they aren’t sustainable. The best way to lose weight and to keep it off is to create habits that you can stick to. Simple things like switching to low-fat options, cutting sugar from your hot drinks and swapping crisps for fruit, are often more effective.
If you have a bad day, let it go. Don’t punish yourself, and don’t try to make up for it the next day. This can create an unhealthy relationship with food, and often leads to binge eating. Instead, forget it. Consider it a treat and get back on plan the next day.
We’re far more likely to stick to exercise plans if we enjoy them. If you hate the gym, you won’t go, no matter how much you are paying for it. Explore different options until you find things that you enjoy doing.
The same goes for food. We struggle to stick to restrictive diets because we get bored. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring, however. There are some fantastic healthy recipes and even treats out there, for you to enjoy.
If you’ve got some extra lockdown weight, don’t worry. You certainly aren’t alone. Take your time, get into healthy habits, and get help if you need to.
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