Since lockdown I’ve more time on my hands than usual. I am still working the same number of hours but; I’ve no need to travel to work, take the kids out and about, organise play-dates and all the other things I did way back in what was my normal pre-lockdown life. For me, my hectic life of running (or actually driving) from one place to another has really slowed down, and thankfully for me life seems so much calmer for it.
However, not everyone is enjoying this time with many people losing their jobs or concerned that they might, many people are finding this a boring, stressful and/or lonely time. Amidst all this uncertainty and stress food can provide a moment of comfort. So, I thought that some tips on how to keep the weight off on during lockdown might be useful.
Keep yourself busy
The devil has work for idle hands, and this case it’s eating, so keep them busy!
Set yourself a goal, start a hobby, go for a walk, volunteer, do a course (there are loads of free amazing courses on open learn), re-invent yourself, do or plan that thing you have always wanted to do. Take this special time that we have been given and make the most of it!
‘‘If the benefits of exercise could be packed into a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation’Dr Robert Butler
Exercise has so many positive benefits on the body, burns calories, makes us feel good, regulates appetite and so very much more. Do what you love, a walk, a run, an online chair-based exercise class, a You-tube yoga video, Marie’s zoom exercise class (link!). Try it, you might love it!
This is a great way to relax your body and reduce your stress levels, and so you are less likely to emotionally eat. There are loads of free mindfulness sessions on You Tube, you can try Martin Allinghams here
Be present when you are eating
Usually our lives are so busy, that we eat quickly or with so many distractions we barely notice what or how much we have eaten. Why not use this time to learn how to eat mindfully; focus on our food; how it looks, how it smells, how it feels in our mouths, ideally chew it for longer than usual. Not only will you enjoy your food more, but you’ll also notice when you are full, and you won’t be constantly reaching for snacks.
We so often confuse thirst for hunger. If you are feeling peckish, try a nice brew or a glass of water before reaching for another calorie loaded snack.
Aim for healthy snacks
If healthy options are as easy as the more convenient ones you are more likely to go for them, so perhaps have a few pre-prepared in the fridge, ideas can be found here.
Keep a Food diary
Writing a food diary can be insightful and help you to see your eating patterns so you can decide which you’d like to change, some people find writing down how they felt before and after the food also helps them too.
Many people who keep a food diary are not that honest with themselves or pop food into their mouths and forget to write them down later. To get the most out of it be honest, try to write everything down and spend some time reviewing and seeing what changes you’d like to make.
Get a good night’s sleep
When we haven’t had enough sleep our bodies produce a hunger hormone, and so we reach for high calorie foods. Getting a good night’s sleep and taking advantage of being able to have a lie in the morning can make the difference. If you’re not sleeping well, consider why. Exercise can help or look to gain support to resolve any issues which are causing you stress, these local organisations can help; insight, SWYPT, & healthy minds.
Eat in company
Food is such as sociable thing, and eating together with someone can make a difference, as you’re more likely to make a proper meal. Try setting up a video chat over a mealtime, at the dining table.
If you want to make it extra special and they live locally you can make extra and drop it round, order takeaways to arrive at the same time, or if they live further afield try cook.
If you are finding you are bored or lonely, contact Staying Well, as well as advice and support we are also running a new telephone befriending service.
Remember to be kind to others and yourself!