Last Updated on June 7, 2021 by Melissa S.
Smart ways to get your health goals back on track
It’s no surprise to find that during lockdown, many people’s health goals took a bit of a backseat. Although I am pleased that home workouts and walking have actually had a positive impact on my fitness routine, I know that my eating has definitely gone a little off track.
Statistics show I’m not alone: Unsurprisingly, 48% of adults in the UK admitted to gaining weight over lockdown, according to a recent survey. The stats in the US show a similar picture with 61% of Americans gaining weight over the past 12 months.
What has caused weight gain over lockdown?
There are a whole range of reasons why lockdown may have caused weight gain in so many adults.
- Stress and comfort eating: The pandemic has been a stressful time for most people and so turning to food and drink for comfort is hardly surprising. An occasional treat of course, is fine; but it is the length of time that this may have become “normal” causing the impact.
- Lack of routine: So many of our usual jobs and daily routines involve being active all day. Staying at home has eliminated a lot of this. In my job as a teacher, I am on my feet all day. Returning to school on March 8th in the UK meant I was completely wiped out by the end of my first day back! But it was actually a good feeling of being active all day.
- Mental Health and Depression issues: Unsurprisingly, mental health issues have soared during the pandemic. While some may lose their appetite, others may use comfort food as a coping strategy, while their desire to be active and exercise is probably diminished. If you feel like your mental health is suffering, make sure you get help.
- Using food and alcohol to compensate: With restaurants, bars and clubs shut indefinitely, it’s no wonder that there has been a sharp increase in the consumption of takeaway food. This can obviously impact spending as well as health. As a rule, we try and stick to one takeaway a month to keep grocery costs down.
- Closure of gyms and sports clubs: While I have enjoyed exercising at home far more than I expected, I know some people are really missing their gyms and sports clubs and cannot find the same motivation at home. This is another factor that may lead to weight gain for those who have not been able to continue their exercise routines.
How can we get our health back on track?
With spring just around the corner, and the easing of lockdown restrictions finally being rolled out across the UK and elsewhere, many people are feeling more positive and motivated to take action. Here’s my top suggestions of how to get back on track.
PROBLEM: I want to start eating more healthily again but I’m not sure where to start
SOLUTION: This handy tool will calculate your required daily calorie intake based on factors including height, weight and amount of weight you want to lose. Thus making it simple to stay within your health goals.
Full disclosure: I have never done a “diet” in my life, because I simply find them too restrictive. Admittedly, my weight has never been a problem, but there are times when I know I have over indulged with my eating and I need to get back on track. The strategy that never fails for me is to track my calories.
Yep – that simple. I can eat whatever I want, providing I’m within my daily calorie limit. This in turn encourages me to be far more mindful with my meal choices, and snacks especially. Rather than mindlessly reaching for an extra biscuit, I consider what that will do for my daily total.
PROBLEM: I’m ready to get active again but I can’t motivate myself to workout at home. The gyms are still closed.
SOLUTION: Start with simply walking. Grab your headphones, put on some music or a podcast, and plan a route. Even just a short 20 minute walk is a great start!
Also, I am a big fan of free YouTube workouts. There are tonnes that are just 10 mins long. If you are struggling to exercise at home, pick a 10 minute workout and see how you get on. You may be pleasantly surprised at the difference just 10 minutes can make!
You can even calculate the amount of calories you have burned during a workout using this calculator, which could give you a bit more wiggle room with your calorie intake!
PROBLEM: I have a minor ailment but I cannot get to the GP due to lockdown
SOLUTION: Consult a pharmacist or private clinic
There are many services that are still available, including Cleaner Ears for ear conditions.
PROBLEM: Too many takeaways
SOLUTION: Make your own “Fakeaways”!
Instead of spending extra money (and calories) on takeaways, cut down the amount you have and cook your own versions instead! You can find hundreds of fakeaway recipes online – including this collection from BBC Good Food . Both your wallet and your waistline will thank you! You can also find recipes here on my blog.
Do you have any health goals you’re aiming to get back on track with in the next few months? Let me know in the comments.