• Melissa Laity

Your Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight During Lock-down

In the past weeks, life as we know it has turned upside down and our daily routines have gone out the window. Many people have lost their jobs, many are now working from home, those working in “essential” jobs are still going out to work, but the one thing we have in common is that we are now spending more time at home than we are used to.

Our legendary coaches, trainers and instructors at Davey Black, along with their industry contemporaries have jumped into action to ensure that, while exercising indoors and in groups is no longer possible, you can keep up your strength and fitness from home.

But when it comes to regulating body weight, exercise is only a part of the picture. What we eat determines approximately 75-80% of our body weight regulation with exercise making up the other 20-25%.

As we begin to adjust to our new circumstances, people are reporting more and more their tendency to snack throughout the day and their concerns that they will gain weight through this time.

So, the challenge now is how to regulate our body weight while spending so much time at home.

1. Before you open the fridge ask yourself “Is it hunger or is it boredom/procrastination?”

We tend to snack when we have nothing else to do or when we are not engaged in what we are doing. Ask yourself the question and give an honest answer. Grab a glass of water or turn on the kettle to make a cup of tea and then ask yourself again after you have drunk it.

2. Plan your day: as you would on any ordinary work day. Plan your breaks at either time-intervals or on completion of a task. Plan your breakfast, morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack. Know what you are going to have and when you are going to have it.

3. Eat breakfast. If you are not travelling to work you will most likely find yourself with more time in the morning. As blood sugar levels are highest in the morning, eating a balanced breakfast will help to maintain blood glucose control and avoid the spike and crash that leads to hunger and cravings throughout the day.

4. Balanced Meals. In order to regulate blood sugar levels it is important that each meal is well balanced. Include a serving of healthy fat (avocado, olive oil, cheese, hemp/pumpkin/sunflower seeds, oily fish), a serve of protein (meat/tofu/cheese/fish), complex carbohydrate (whole grains, starchy vegetables, legumes) and plenty of fresh vegetables (include a variety of colours and leafy greens) in every meal. The protein and fat will increase your satiety while the fibre-rich complex carbohydrates and vegetables will slow digestion, keeping you fuller for longer.

5. Healthy Snacks: avoid simple carbohydrates (the polite way of saying sugar and white flour). Refined (simple) carbohydrates are broken down to glucose quite quickly, causing a spike in blood glucose levels that is followed by the fall that leads to sugar cravings. Choose snacks that are rich in protein and healthy fats to satisfy hunger. Try sticks of celery or slices of apple topped with your favorite nut butter, a serve (30g – about the size of a small box of sultanas) of raw nuts, vegetable sticks with some humous or guacamole.

6. Don’t over-eat fruit: a piece of fruit makes a great snack but fruit is quite high in sugar so limit your fruit intake to 2 serves per day (1 serve= a whole apple or ½ a banana or 4 strawberries or ½ cup diced cantaloupe). Stick to whole fruits rather than juices. Did you know that it takes 3 whole oranges to make just one glass of juice? That is 3 times the sugar without the benefit of the fibre from the whole fruit.

7. Portion control. Increased portion size is a significant contributor to over-eating and weight gain. Use your plate as a portion guide. Divide your plate into quarters. 1/2 of your plate should be filled with vegetables or salad, 1/4 with protein,1/4 with complex carbohydrates and 1-2 tablespoons of healthy fats. Always eat your meals from a medium sized plate or bowl, not a take-away container. Keep snacks snack-sized!

8. You can't eat what's not there. Current lock-down guidelines direct us to only leave our home to shop for essential items. No matter how bored you are, this does not include a quick trip to the shop for ice cream or a packet of chips. Plan your meals and snacks for the week before you head to the supermarket with your shopping list and leave those sugary and fried snacks on the shelf!

9. Stay Hydrated. Keep your water bottle handy and make sure you are still getting your 1.8-2L of water per day. Not only is water essential for good health, it is also keeps us full and helps to reduce snacking. The upside of being at home is that you can make as many cups of herbal tea as you like. Limit your caffeine intake though (remember, green tea is caffeinated) and try new varieties of herbal teas and teas made from fresh herbs and spices you have at home, add a squeeze of lemon.

10. Emotional Eating. In these uncertain times people are experiencing a variety of emotions from grief to anxiety, stress, fear, frustration and confusion. Emotional eating is using food as a means of soothing or suppressing negative emotions. Now more than ever it is as important to look after our mental health as well as our physical health. Thankfully we are being offered a huge range of online yoga, meditation, mindfulness practice, counseling services etc to help us manage our mental health. Reach out, connect with people and seek support if you need it. If you need a hand finding where to access these services, get in touch and I will help to point you in the right direction.

If you are concerned about weight gain as a result of reduced exercise or training time/intensity, I can help you adjust your diet and calorie intake to accommodate a decreased energy expenditure. Book in for a free, 10 minute Discovery Call to find out more https://www.melissalaity.com.au/services/discovery-call

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