Don’t Diet For A Post-Lockdown Body! Do This Instead
What’s been your go-to snack during lockdown? For Brits, cheese on toast came out as the most popular #stayathome snack followed closely by crisps and then a bacon sandwich. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that, on average, people in lockdown consume an extra 333 calories a day – equating to over 2331 extra calories a week! This has led to new phrases such as ‘the lockdown body’ and ‘quarantine 15’ which is the added 15-pound weight people can gain during lockdown. But, if you want to lose weight, a post lockdown diet won’t work. Here’s what to do instead.
Why Did I Gain Weight During Lockdown?
With restrictions in place, all your usual coping mechanisms, such as the gym, socialising and mooching around town were restricted. With added anxiety and stress of the Coronavirus panic, it was only natural to look for a way soothe fears and boost your mood through food indulgences, snacking and drinking alcohol.
In fact, the average Brit is now consuming more alcohol in lockdown. Alcohol offers a short-term fix. However, because alcohol is a depressant, it can make anxiety symptoms even worse. There are also a lot of hidden calories in alcohol. For example, a large glass of wine contains around 200 calories. Furthermore, alcohol stimulates your appetite and disrupts your sleep which can also lead to weight gain.
The Stress Factor
It’s easy to underestimate the impact of stress on the body. Even if lockdown hasn’t made you feel particularly worried, a disruption in routine can lead to stress. When stress levels rise, the body produces cortisol which causes cravings for sweet, salty and high-fat foods. Giving in to these cravings then stimulates the same neural pathways in the brain that are equivalent to a drug fix – releasing feel-good hormones. However, just like an opioid drug fix, these cravings are super-addictive and really hard to stop – they often lead to binge eating.
If that wasn’t bad enough, elevated stress levels also inhibit testosterone in the body which leads to a decrease in muscle mass. If you’re getting less exercise in lockdown too, this is made even worse. With decreasing muscle mass, the body then burns fewer calories, making it harder to lose weight. This means even if you aren’t giving in to the temptation of comfort food, your body is still making it harder for you to maintain your normal weight.
What’s The Best Post-Lockdown Diet?
Going on a diet may seem the obvious solution now that lockdown restrictions are being lifted. However, due to causes of lockdown weight gain, this is almost the worst thing you can do. The likely reason for your weight gain will be somewhat down to using food as a coping strategy, and there is now an emotional attachment to eating. Depriving yourself with a restrictive diet will only cause further strain to your emotions and can cause your stress levels to rise.
As your stress levels rise due to restrictive eating, you get yourself into a stress-eat-diet cycle. As mentioned above, higher stress leads to cravings, binge eating, and fewer calories burned. With the added worry about all aspects of the Coronavirus, a diet can be incredibly counter-productive.
How To Get A Post-Lockdown Body
Instead of dieting, there are much more effective ways to lose excess weight and ensure you address the reasons behind the weight gain – whether that’s boredom, stress or comfort eating. Follow these key steps.
1. Write It Down
This is the most uncomfortable thing to do, but it really works. A food diary makes what you eat ‘real’, and it holds you accountable. Lockdown likely leads you to snack more. Those extra visits to the fridge or cupboard to grab a handful of something are calories you may not remember consuming.
By writing it down (or at least knowing you will have to write it down) means you may only reach for the biscuit tin once rather than several times a day.
While you’re writing down what you eat and the time you eat, it can be helpful to write down the emotion you’re feeling at that time too. Or answer the question; ‘why am I eating this?’. The answer you provide will help you to determine what type of eater you are. For example, comfort eater for stress, habitual for TV watching, boredom during working from home.
Once you know the triggers for your eating habits, you can begin to put in place measures to make healthier choices.
2. Create An Eat-Only Space
Commit to only eating in one set place at home. For example, at your dining or kitchen table. Even if you’re grabbing a quick snack, make yourself go and sit at the table and take time to savour and enjoy it. This makes the process of eating much more mindful.
If you know you have to get off the sofa to eat a snack or cannot eat standing up in the kitchen, you may find you won’t bother. The times you do bother, you’ll have the chance to really focus on what you’re eating, helping you to concentrate on all of your senses while you eat.
3. Make Healthy Switches
It is the small, consistent actions you take that can make the most significant difference and are much more effective over the long term than a crash diet. The first thing you can do to help encourage this is to rearrange your cupboards and fridge so that healthy options are at the front and unhealthy choices are really hidden away.
Then, make conscious, healthy switches. For example, next time you crave something sweet, go for fruit. If you’re craving carbs, then try and have a filling protein-rich option that will mitigate the carb crash you’re experiencing.
If your go-to relaxation is to watch a film and snack, then opt for a healthier alternative such as taking an online dance class, getting out for a bike ride or practising meditation. It is essential to see these healthy switches as a treat, so you feel it is a reward rather than a burden.
4. Reprogram Your Brain
A cycle of emotional eating can be so difficult to break free from. The comfort of home during lockdown means finding the motivation to exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle can be just as hard. However, with hypnosis, you can rewire your brain for healthy, sustainable weight loss and a positive approach to a healthy lifestyle.
I have developed a six-week weight loss hypnosis plan, designed to create positive and lasting change. Each week covers a different aspect for you to focus on and take control over, such as emotional eating, cravings, exercise motivation and portion control.
So, ditch the diet and instead reprogram your mindset for a healthier post-lockdown. Discover my ultimate weight loss hypnosis course here.