Battling Obesity - A close up image of a man measuring his waist

There are two types of people in this world, the fitness fanatics and the free-living fridge lovers, but one thing that hasn’t failed to unite the two is a lockdown.

Firstly, there is no shame in putting on a few pounds over lockdown. Regardless of who you are, we have all needed a little comfort over these extremely dark long months. With restrictions shutting down gyms and stopping us from our regular daily exercise, there were always other factors, which would eventually rear their ugly heads.

According to national statistics, 29% of those surveyed have gained weight over the last 12 months.

An astonishing, 60% of people said their mental health worsened during lockdown and alcohol sales rose by 36%.

This silent pandemic is creeping up on us all. Its time to consider what we are going to do about it and when we will start.

Battling Obesity during lockdown 3

Unfortunately, most of these issues revolve around weight gain, and weight gain is fed by most of these issues, leaving us in a dangerous loop of low self-confidence and the need for comfort.

Once we recognise this pattern, we can start by addressing each element. Due to lockdown, we can also add boredom to the pattern, as this is where “the loop” formed initially.

Battling Obesity - Lockdown. An infographic showing the bad traits of a unhealthy loop

If we start with boredom, we may be able to break the circle, but we need to find a way of filling time to do so.

Exercise

During a lockdown, think of exercise as a gap filler, rather than a means to become healthier. It is far easier to exercise in the morning when you are energised and feeling fresh, so when you wake, don’t reach for the coffee, do not grab breakfast, just go straight to it.

If you cannot get out, why not try an online lesson. There are currently lots of free classes based online. If you have a Firestick, you can stream them directly to your TV, but a laptop, phone, tablet or computer will do.

When you do come to grab some breakfast, you are more likely to reach for a healthy alternative as your body will repel the thought of stodge after a good workout.

Another good tip if you are a parent with children being homeschooled, is to get this done before they wake! If you can’t then make the first lesson of the day P.E!

Cleaning, Cooking and general housekeeping

Another good way to stop the binge eating and boredom is to prep your day’s meals after breakfast. This way you won’t be hungry while cooking (which is always a reason for snacking during prep) AND when you are worn out from your day of schooling, cleaning or Zoom calling, you won’t need to think “What’s for tea?”.

At this point, you can get your housework done. If you are working or schooling, try to fill up your afternoon and leave your morning open for you, and your space. This also includes cleaning. Remember, living in a mess can leave you feeling that way, so, try to start your day concentrating on you and your needs.

Time out

We are so super busy with life that we forget to stop. When you have no time to meditate, they say that is the time to meditate. So give yourself time towards the end of the afternoon to slow down, or even stop. You do not need to sit still or even find a peaceful place. Just spend some time reflecting on what you achieved today, what you would like for your evening.
Research has found that positive thinking can help stress management and even play an essential role in overall health and well-being.⁠

Another top tip for staying healthy in mind and body is to avoid the news. The way technology is now if something was so bad that it would impact you or your family, trust me, you will hear about it.
Turn off the TV, you don’t need to hear it all day, every day, especially when it is repetitive and unchanging.

The evening events

A lockdown study suggests, 8.6 million UK adults are drinking more frequently under lockdown and more worryingly, the time of day to start drinking is becoming early. Taking the “normal” 6 PM start down to 4.30 PM.

Those who drink during the evening generally find themselves being less productive the following day. And therefore “the loop” starts to materialise.

It may be easy to reach for the alcohol at this point after all your brain would like a reward for making it through; however, all your hard work will be undone.

Our top tip would be to have your evening meal when you crave wine or beer. This way, you are kept busy until you are full, and at this point, your craving should subside.

Get to bed at a reasonable time

Once you have digested your evening meal, set yourself up for the downtime. Read a book, watch a film, maybe even take a stroll around the block, but consider getting to bed early. That way you are waking with energy, earlier and more importantly, you start to create a “healthy loop” as tomorrow you are far more likely to exercise, cook and have a productive day.

Set yourself a healthy, achievable, and sustainable reward

If you have ever read The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters, you will understand the importance of rewarding good behaviour. (if you haven’t then I highly recommend it).

Every day you should reward yourself by reflecting on the good that you have done, and what you have achieved. Be that through exercise or work, cooking or cleaning.

Occasionally you can materialise that reward, with the odd glass of wine or sweet treat. But remember, only reward good behaviour!

Battling Obesity - Lockdown. An infographic showing the good traits of a healthy loop

Start today

Start today by planning your tomorrow. You could consider what you will cook for your evening meal, ensuring you have all of the right ingredients. Maybe get your work-out clothes out and ready.

Whatever you choose to do to prevent or end an unhealthy loop, start today.

If you would like more advice on health concerns, why not check out the rest of our articles.
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