Published May 29, 2020
Last month, a large chunk of the UK’s population moved out of the country’s offices and workplaces and into their homes as lockdown procedures were put into place to help curb the Coronavirus crisis. For most of us, this involved swapping pinstripes for PJs and, the daily commute for days spent on the couch. For many, an unwelcome side effect of this new regime has been the slow creep of weight gain. With lockdown lunches stretching from mid morning to mid afternoon, it’s no surprise that keeping the weight off is trickier than usual. Don’t worry though, it’s not too late to take action.
One of the most important tracks to take is to stay in a daily routine in terms of food consumption. With food shortages in some areas, it could be difficult, but steel yourself to purchasing the best that you can find healthwise, and minimise anything that could be classified as ‘junk food’.
The following is a guide to making a few changes to reverse the upwards Coronavirus curve in your weight.
Whilst working from home, most of us find ourselves temptingly close to the kitchen – which results in constant snacking on unhealthy treats such as crisps and chocolate. It is, of course, normal to be snacking more than usual at the moment but, not only are sugar and salt filled snacks fattening, they can also make us feel sluggish and bloated. Try slowly replacing these weight-bombs with fruit and vegetable crudites – this may not be too enticing but you can always add a dip such as low fat houmous to jazz it up a little. Even the smallest of snacks can soon add up to a whole bunch of calories during the day and, with warmer weather on the way, this is a good time to switch to a lighter and healthier option.
Combinations of salads and vegetable dishes will also help – they don’t have to be boring. Be inventive and think outside the box. Whilst fruit and vegetables may be hard to come by, when you can purchases them, but extra and use the freezing option, or by frozen as well – frozen items still have a great deal of goodness in them. Fruit such as oranges, grapefruits, bananas (sliced and frozen) and apples, freeze really well.
Remember that for every calorie you take in, you have to burn it off – otherwise, weight gain is inevitable
Keep on moving
For many of us, the new world order has meant that we’re moving a lot less. As well as the fact that we’re no longer able to visit gyms and leisure centres, we’re also missing out on incidental exercise such as walking to the bus stop and moving around the office. Exercise is vital for our physical and mental wellbeing and, even during lockdown, it’s important that we take part in some form of exercise. You don’t need to become a Joe Wicks devotee overnight but, even ten minutes of exercise a day can help to keep the weight down and your spirits up.
Even if you take an hour doing some housework, or tidy up the garden, it will still count to burning off those calories. A brisk walk in the park is obviously beneficial, not just for exercise but for fresh air and ‘green’. Scientists believe that green surroundings lift your mental attitude as well as keeping your body moving.
A moveable feast
During this strange time, it’s tempting to treat lockdown like the first day of an all-inclusive holiday in terms of diet. As we began to adapt to a new way of living and working, a huge number of Brits have turned to takeaways for dinner to cheer themselves up. Although it’s natural to crave comfort food at a difficult time, takeaways are generally not good for your waistline or for your health. Instead, take a look online for some tasty but healthy dishes to try – and save the takeaway for the weekend.
The demon alcohol
Cocktail o’clock is bound to become more frequent during this crisis – in fact, figures show that sales of alcohol in the UK have increased by 32% during March. There is, of course, nothing wrong with having the odd tipple but, a lot of alcoholic beverages contain a sneaky amount of calories so, try to cut down where possible. There are some excellent low or zero alcohol beverages on the market these days, so could be the time to try them!
There’s no denying that lockdown is going to change all of us in more ways than one but, by getting into some new habits, you can try to make sure that those changes are for the better – not fatter.
Written by Bev Walton
Food Writer and Nutritionist, dietician
A chef of over 35 years with experience in all types of cuisine, dietary plans, recipe development, health and nutrition. I have been writing for over 10 years for both magazines, websites and ghostwriting for ebooks, Kindle and fully published books. I have a degree in nutrition and dietetics and work with restaurants and organisations within the healthcare profession. I am also able to take high quality photographs of recipes created. No writing task is too great, and whilst I specialise in the above, I am able to write about any topic you throw at me. Member of the Guild of food writers.