By now you’ve probably heard of the saying ‘lockdown weight.’ Many of us have piled on the pounds and it’s because we have been stressed, eating comfort food, haven’t been able to properly exercise, and we’ve become lazy in our shopping practices. This leads many to think that a poor diet has become the norm in lockdown. Do you feel this way? You’re not the only one. Millions of people are now trying to melt off the pounds while summer is still here. Do you see more people running outside? Going for an afternoon bike ride? Families are beginning to realize that although they may have (hopefully) escaped the novel coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, they haven’t come out of this unscathed. Your body has suffered in one form or another, here’s what you can do about it!
The Essentials and Weight Gain
Since going into lockdown, the essentials have become the highest priority for all of us. When it comes to grocery shopping, the essentials come in the form of rice, cereals, bread, and pasta. All of these foods are in the complex carbs category. They have made us very overweight, in such a short amount of time. It’s because complex carbs are very dense in calories yet they don’t weigh a lot. So, it’s more likely that you will fill your plate with pasta and still feel like you are hungry. Whereas, a small portion of steak will fill you up because the meat is very dense.
We also don’t realize that carbs take a lot of time to digest and to burn off as fat. It means that the fat that carbs have been converted into, takes more effort to shift off our bodies once they are on. The main cause of this sudden weight gain is because carbs are full of starch which is released over a long period of time. Hence they take more effort to burn off.
Eat complex carbs as opposed to simple carbs. Consider eating more vegetables, nuts, whole wheat bread, and whole-grain pasta. You can also limit your carb intake, which will force your body to burn fat for energy quicker. Eating more fats and protein should suffice your appetite and cravings.
First of all, there’s no shame in eating comfort food every once in a while. Food is something that excites our senses and makes us feel good and happy. But, let’s never see food as something that can fill a void. But during the lockdown, that’s all most people have been doing. And who can blame them!? Everyone has been in the same boat, locked down, unable to see family or friends, and constantly worrying about the future.
We have turned to junk food, such as chips, ice cream, pizza, and candy. Why? Because it tastes good and makes us feel satisfied. But we’re now paying for the consequences. We thought that a short term hit to our health wouldn’t be so dire, but now we’re finding out that our clothes don’t fit us anymore, we don’t look healthy in the mirror, we are not feeling confident in ourselves and this plagues our mental health.
No pain, no gain. We’ve done this to ourselves, so now it’s time to workout. There are lots of at-home exercise groups you can join. Cycling clubs have started out of nowhere, right from within the family home. Getting on a modern screen bike that you can use to watch a class or be part of it, can be really motivating. Or perhaps, following a YouTube channel like Joe Wicks, who has been doing pilates and intense cardio aerobics for many weeks. It’s time to get moving and exercising again.
Too Much Candy
In lockdown, we have been more likely to give in to our cravings because we are either too bored or simply too stressed to comply with our good nature. This has led to many people not taking care of their teeth and gums. What can happen is that our gums and teeth begin to shrink and become far weaker than before. The sugar will eat away at our gums, making them recede. The smaller or shrunken gums can then make your teeth loose and potentially fall out. The issue comes from a lack of strength in the root canal.
Speak with a certified endodontist who has done many root canal operations and has the experience and track record you will trust. They will give you advice on what your options are. They don’t always recommend you go for surgery, because if there’s hope to save your teeth, then they will do everything they can to do so. This goes for your root canals too. If there is an infection or inflammation, you can be given medicine for it. But if there is no alternative, then a root canal removal will need to be done. Don’t worry, you’re in safe hands.
Fat and Stress
Fatty foods have always been tempting to the majority of people. But now that we have been in lockdown for so long, eating junk food has been almost irresistible. Chips, chocolates, deep fried chicken, pizza, cheese, and all the rest of it, has been far too delicious to not have as part of your daily diet. But what does this mean?
Combined with stress, this has led to an obesity surge. Why? When stressed, the hormone cortisol activates and stimulates fat and carbs to metabolism and releases insulin. This then means that the fat in our body is increased due to the promotion of rapid digestion and absorption of energy. The chronic stress we have felt from lockdown has just added so much to this problem.
You need to have more endorphins and positive chemicals rushing through your body. Thus will make you feel far less stressed and able to return your body to it’s normal function. The constant stress of worry will activate our body’s fight or flight response. The body is simply protecting itself by absorbing more fat, which is basically just energy. Go outside now that the lockdown is mostly lifted. Go to a park, go for a walk in the countryside or by a river. Eat less and do more casual exercise such as cycling, walking, stretching and things like yoga. You should also do things that make you less stressed, such as turning off the news and staying away from social media. Focus on your diet and exercise, while focussing on your personal life, not what’s going on in the rest of the world.
A Lack of Vegetables
A lack of greens in your diet is always a bad sign. But why has this happened? Well, for the first time in a long time, vegetables have not been part of the shopping list. Items such as toilet paper, medicines, bottled water and hygiene products like sanitizer have been at the top. Vegetables have neither been seen as necessary or worth the spend due to everyone also being put on hold from their professions. We haven’t known when we’re going to return to work so why bother spending money on food items that we may have already seen as a chore?
This has led to a drastic loss in minerals, nutrition and vitamins. Our skin has suffered as a result, due to a lack of vitamin B12 and vitamin E. We have also found that due to a lack of vegetables, our immune system has been weaker. We feel more distraught over an allergic reaction to the summer pollen, we feel more alive when the sun hits our skin and gives us the daily dosage of vitamin D we need and we feel heavier internally. Our system needs a good clean.
Make something with every ingredient being a vegetable. A vegetable baked with spices and herbs, or a vegetable smoothie with some natural sweetness, or perhaps a quiche with some summer vegetables? The bottom line is we need to increase our intake of vegetables, some way, somehow. Have vegetables as part of your normal breakfast. Bacon and eggs, with a side of onions and mushrooms? Pan-seared halloumi with some seared broccoli? Maybe even a bowl of porridge with some blackberries and cherries?
Eating At All Hours
Since the lockdown has broken our normal routines, we now eat at abnormal times. Do you find yourself having dinner later than usual? Perhaps you have it earlier and then can’t stop yourself from snacking. Well, now is the time you should stop eating and snacking at the wrong times and get your life clock back to where it should be.
You can do this by not eating breakfast for one day. You will then be hungry at lunch and have a chance to reset your eating habits to where they should. This only works if you are eating too much, however.
A poor diet has indeed become the norm. We shouldn’t get too comfortable with our poor eating habits and no longer use the lockdown as an excuse. Let’s take a more proactive approach in what we eat, how much of it, and when.
Thank you for reading!