Content supplied by Fuel Your Life
While many aspects of health (both physical and mental) have likely suffered for many people during the lockdown period, one of the most common complaints is weight gain.
Over 1 in 3 Australians have reported weight gain during the Covid-19 global pandemic, and approximately two thirds were already attempting to lose weight prior to lockdowns.
There are undoubtedly many factors at play, ranging from an increase intake of alcohol, higher fat takeaways and additional snacking on ultra-processed foods such as chocolate, chips and ice cream to combat the boredom and isolation resulting from lockdown.
Couple that with restrictions preventing gym access and community sport and you can understand why many Australians have gained at least a few kilos during the past 18-24 months. So how do you lose the extra weight and get back on track?
1. CHANGE YOUR FOOD ENVIRONMENT
As the saying goes, ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Use the next few weeks before lockdowns lift to clear out the pantry, fridge and freezer and restock on nutritious ingredients.
· Start with a plan. Make a list of nutritious meals and snacks that you and your family have historically enjoyed (and maybe a few new ones to keep things interesting), then add the ingredients to your shopping list.
· If you are keeping less nutritious options in the house (we all have those packets of biscuits or chocolates around ‘just in case’), keep them well out of sight in an opaque container out of reach. If you can’t see them you are less likely to be thinking about them and then reaching for them when you know you shouldn’t.
2. TRY SOMETHING NEW
Whilst there is the importance of routine in achieving consistency when it comes to exercise and eating well, there is also room for new things to keep the process interesting.
· We all get sick of the same foods week after week too. Why not use some time whilst still in the last phases of lockdown to find a few new recipes to try. Sites like Taste.com.au or Delicious.com.au have a range of nutritious options to spark inspiration when it comes to cooking meals at home
· As the restrictions ease, why not try a new form of exercise. Maybe that’s resistance training in the gym for the first time, or joining a local sporting club with a bunch of mates.
3. FIND OTHER WAYS TO MANAGE EMOTIONS
It’s completely understandable that many have struggled with their mental health during this time, or have been generally feeling sad and isolated during lockdowns. Unfortunately, this has led to the use of food and/or alcohol to manage those emotions.
· Whilst it isn’t always a bad thing to use food or alcohol to soothe an emotion, it becomes an issue when this is your only coping mechanism. Food and alcohol is one way to increase serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain that make us feel happy but it isn’t the only way. What else do you enjoy? Would a new hobby help to boost your mood? What about watching a funny film? The answer will be different for everyone so brainstorm a few things that work for you and try to implement those alternatives at least some of the time rather than defaulting to food or alcohol.
· As restrictions continue to ease, make most of the opportunity to socialise face to face once again. Catching up with friends and family is another great strategy to help boost our mood and make us feel more connected.
4. SWAP IT, DON’T STOP IT
Changing our habits is hard and is one of the factors that makes weight loss challenging for most people. This is why it is often easier to make swaps rather than completely stop a behaviour.
· For example, if ice cream is your thing, swapping a Magnum to a Chocolate Paddlepop saves 700kJ (for reference, if you reduce your average daily energy intake by 2000kJ you can expect to lose about 0.5kg per week, so this change alone is almost halfway there!).
· You could also try making more nutritious treats at home. Check out our Chocolate Bark recipe over on the Fuel Your Life website which is an awesome replacement to a Snickers bar!
These are just some of our tips and more can be found over on the Fuel Your Life website. Check out our online nutrition programs designed around some of these concepts, as well as our blog for other recipes, tips and tricks.
Fuel Your Life is an award-winning nationwide company who work directly with the Melbourne Storm players and their staff. They have dietitians available to clients in all areas of the country. For more tips, be sure to check out our Instagram page @fuelyourlifeaus, or to find your closest dietitian, get in touch with our team today via our website www.fuelyourlife.com.au.