Weight gain and disordered eating increased during the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is no wonder as your daily routine was disrupted during lockdowns. You may have been working from home or lost your job and have been socially isolated. As a result, your healthy eating habits may all have been turned upside-down.
You may have found yourself drawn to the kitchen like a moth to light, as you were looking for food to comfort you.
Weight gain is perfectly normal during such abnormal circumstances. Many of your normal coping strategies to manage your weight where not available. Going to the gym, meeting friends, and pursuing your hobbies was not possible and you would have spent a lot of time at home trying to deal with the isolation and loss of your routine.
So, what is the best approach forward if you are looking to lose the weight and that you have gained and adopt healthy eating habits?
First of all, try not to be too hard on yourself, it is not your fault that some weight may have crept up and unhealthy food choices have crept in. Give yourself a break and have some self-compassion to start with.
Here are my 5 top tips to get back in control:
Set yourself small goals to change habits. For example, if a habit of eating sweets/ice cream 7 nights a week has crept in, reduce it gradually down. Start by having it every alternative night and then reduce further. If you make small changes at a time, you are more likely to succeed as they are realistic and sustainable. It’s so much easier to gradually change habits than setting a goal such as “I will give up sugar” or “I am going to walk every day”.
Establish routines. Disruptions to routines during the pandemic contributed to weight gain, so now is the time to bring in new routines. Can you bring in a routine around sleeping, exercising, regular meals? Start again slowly. Exercise once a week for 15 minutes and gradually increase it. Bring your bedtime a bit forward and reduce screen time before bed. All the little steps add up to results in the long term.
Set up your environment for success. Remove unhealthy food, fill your fridge, and presses with nourishing food. Prepare healthy snacks that you can grab and go. Put out a fruit bowl insight. Maybe you can get some help to prepare food.
Having all the healthy food easily available and no processed, high fat, high sugar food in the house, will make it much easier to nourish yourself with healthy meals.
Monitor yourself. Keep a food diary, either digital or in paper form, track your physical activities and keep an eye on the hours of sleep you get. It has been proven that tracking and self-monitoring are associated with higher rates of weight loss.
Focus on Health and not on Weight. When you’re focusing on your health, your nutrition, sleep times, physical activity, and screen time, you remove the stigma attached to the number on the scales. The number on the scales is not a measure of success. Your success is the small behaviours/habits that you change on a daily basis.
If you are looking to create new healthy habits and need some help, I am offering a special discount of 30% on my self-directed online course to help you get back on track.
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