It’s like our first year in college experiencing new ways of life and adjusting to new eating and exercise schedules. We are all a bunch of freshmen who have put on that extra weight as we adjust to a new normal.
The “Covid-15” is a real thing and if you are finding that you have put on weight, this post is for you!
I truly empathize with many peoples situations...we are still coming out of a lockdown which saw most people sitting at home with high levels of stress and long hours of boredom. The quarantine has had lasting impacts for a lot of fitness and health enthusiasts.
Eating far more snacks than you normally would, drinking far more alcohol to help get you through each day coupled with the fact that gyms are closed which has you relying on your own self motivation and self planning to get up and move.
It’s extremely difficult to motivate oneself during such an uncertain time - the fear of not knowing what will happen with your kids school for this year, the fear of another lockdown, and the bad habits that were amplified are still in your life. Roll all these things together and you find yourself looking in the mirror asking yourself “What happened?”.
Let’s go over 7 tips to help you start losing the “Covid-15” so that you can again feel confident and proud of yourself and the work you are putting in to be a better version of yourself in this new landscape!
Write down your reasons for being fit
First thing’s first....you need to know why you are making this change back to your normal healthy routines. Through the quarantine I’ve heard that most people's “goal” was just to survive it. When we are faced with such daunting circumstances it’s easy to let go of those reasons for why you stay in shape.
For example you might have planned a trip to another country during the summer months and wanted to look good in a bathing suit. Maybe you had a business trip to attend in which you wanted to look your best and feel confident.
Once these things got cancelled...it was game over. No longer did we need to worry about that trip to the carribean but instead you were having a trip to your backyard. The motivation was lost and the snacks and poor choices became your reality.
What I want you to do now is to literally write down 1-3 reasons for getting back into shape. Do you want to be as healthy as you can be to stave off any possible virus? How about wanting to promote good health to your kids? Do you want to look sexy for your spouse? Do you want to feel more energy?
The important thing here is that you physically write it on paper and I want you to put this paper somewhere you can see it day in and day out. Let these new motivations push you and be your reminder for why you are choosing a healthy lifestyle.
Clean out your fridge and pantry
It’s time to throw away that old bag of chips or cookies that have been sitting in your pantry for 3 months. Time to throw away old food in your fridge and start to cleanse yourself from these past few months of bad choices.
I am a huge believer in setting your environment up for success before you even do the work to start losing weight. Cleaning out your fridge/pantry can help to clear your mind and get rid of physical clutter surrounding your food choices.
You may find that you’ve been holding on to different foods “just because” or perhaps you’ve gotten a bit lazy when it comes to clearing stuff out.
I can assure you that once you start clearing bad choices out, the good foods and healthier options will become a bigger part of your visual environment.
If you only have solid food options to look at - you will be far more likely to choose these things either in a pinch or when you are preparing for a meal.
This one is a simple yet effective one - I want you to make eating great choices the easiest thing you can do. One of the best ways is to clean out your fridge and pantry!
Set one habit to work on each week
This quarantine has done a wonderful job of mixing up everyone’s normal routine. One week you can be motivated and on point with your eating, then the next you feel depressed and uncertain of you and your family’s future.
Through all the uncertainty, habits get thrown out the window for a more reactive style of living. When you are reactive, you give control to your in the moment emotions. These emotions generally lead us down a path of binge eating, poor choices that make us feel good in the moment, and a general disregard for physical fitness.
When looking at the changes you want to accomplish, it may seem overwhelming. You look in the mirror and at the scale and realize you want to lose 15 lbs to just get BACK to where you were before all this happened.
You might tell yourself “starting Monday I’m going to set up an exercise routine, eat more vegetables, snack less, and only drink on the weekends”
Sorry to break this to you but this is a recipe for disaster.
Start slowly and build momentum over time.
On Sunday night I want you to set 1 habit to focus on for the week. Some examples of habits may look like this:
I’m going to exercise before breakfast 3 times this week
I’m going to eat 3 servings of vegetables per day
I’m going to limit my treats to 3 nights a week.
I’m going to cook dinner at least 5 nights this week.
Among many other possible habits - set something that feels right for you and put your full focus in accomplishing that each week. This is all about getting these good habits to feel normal again to you. It’s not about trying to accomplish everything quickly!
Track your food and drink intake
If you don’t know what you are eating everyday - you can never know what needs to change to be better.
By writing down everything you eat and drink you can give yourself the awareness necessary to make changes.
I’ve found in my experiences coaching people with their nutrition habits - people will often underestimate how much they eat in a given day. For example when asked “What’s your normal eating schedule look like”
The answer is usually “I eat pretty healthy...I have eggs for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and always have a vegetable with my dinner”
Upon further investigation this person might be conveniently forgetting the muffin before breakfast, the chips with lunch, and the cookies at night after dinner.
Before you know it you are eating too much food without being aware of it. This leads to that unwanted weight gain.
Do yourself a favor and start writing down everything you eat for a week straight. (Bonus points, this can be your habit of the week!)
Being completely honest with yourself is key here...there is no reason to lie to yourself about those half a bag of chips while watching TV last night. At the end of the day you are the one who cares the most about your health and the one with the most control over your decisions!
Drink more water (half your body weight)
If there’s one tip on here that is the easiest, this one has to be it.
Many people do not drink enough water which can lead to feelings of exhaustion... which leads to believing you are hungry... which leads to eating crap when you don’t need to!
Water is such an understated tactic for weight loss - it almost seems too easy or that it wouldn’t have as big an impact as food does.
Toss those perceptions to the side, fill up a water bottle and start drinking!
The best way to get an accurate measure on how much water to drink is to simply cut your body weight in half, and drink that many ounces. For example if you weigh 150 lbs, the recommended amount of water for you in a given day will be 75 oz.
By drinking more water, more often you will help to keep your energy levels up, your brain feeling sharp and hunger levels will subside. I can’t express how many times that I personally feel hunger coming on but remembered that I just ate a meal an hour before. I’ll feel my energy drop, my stomach feel unsettled and my head is foggy. The gut reaction without even thinking is “I should go get a snack”.
Your body does not need food every hour. What your body is really craving is hydration in the form of water!
Next time you feel hunger in between meals - try drinking a glass of water to see if you were just thirsty instead!
Take 15 minutes to eat each meal
When you are stressed - do you tend to eat fast?
This is true for many people - we tend to see eating our meals as an interruption to our daily routine. With all the tasks/chores/work to do each day it’s no wonder why many meals in households are rushed.
I’ve heard stories of finishing a meal in 2 minutes flat! That is a seriously quick eating time...one that doesn’t help you to lose weight.
The reason this becomes a problem is the fact that your body cannot completely digest and satiate in such a short time frame.
Have you ever eaten your meal only to still feel hunger after the plate was clean? Well then, you just might be eating too fast!
My recommendation is to try and aim for 15 minutes per meal. This allows time for your brain and body to digest and send messages to tell you that you are filling up.
Try these tips to help get you to those 15 minutes!
Put down your fork in between bites
Engage in conversation with family
Put a timer up and pause every few minutes
Exercise 3-4 times a week
The big elephant in the room - exercise is key to helping you stay on point with your fitness and health.
I know that it’s far harder to get into a good routine when gyms are still closed and fitness equipment takes months to arrive at your door.
Exercise is something that has taken a big hit during this pandemic - so many people do not know what to do or don’t have the motivation to breathe heavy, lift weights and move the body!
You can start simple by going for daily walks for 20 minutes. Maybe head to a trail that you enjoy and get some nice fresh air surrounded by trees!
Once you can consistently do some light activity step up your game to some online workouts. There are plenty of apps out there that have exercise videos and programs to follow. Find something that works with the equipment you have available and shoot for 3 days a week.
When you are ready to go out into the world for exercise - gyms are currently allowed to operate with outdoor classes and training.
I’m a big proponent of this because having time and a place to do your workout sets your schedule into place. For example at LIFW we have outdoor classes at 6AM, 730AM, and 930AM.
No matter what type of exercise you choose, choose to do it consistently and start with 3 days a week. After a few weeks you can bump that number up to 4 and see how that feels.
When it comes to success in fitness it always comes down to how consistent you are.
These past few months have been crazy and have caused many poor habits to trickle back into our daily lives. By using these 7 above tips I can guarantee that you will start to feel better, lose weight, and get back in control of your life.
The “Covid-15” is but a temporary phase that you have the power to get out of. The time is now, the day is today. The sooner you start making these changes the better you will be both physically and mentally!
If you have any questions about either virtual training or in person training, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org