When it comes to post-lockdown weight gain, you’d think I would know better.
It’s been a while since I have struggled with managing my weight; that’s not to say that I don’t put on weight whilst on holiday or during a busy phase when my eating habits are a little erratic, but once back on track with my usual eating and exercise habits, the weight effortlessly falls off…there’s still that statutory 2-3kilos I’d always love to rid myself of, but at least I’m back in my normal zone where I’m comfortable and happy.
Now, rewind to a few weeks back when lockdown began…caught up in that initial holiday feeling that veiled the drastic measures evolving around us, one meal led to another, starters, desserts…the lot. Then the baking began and one cake led to another and before long, the sourdough challenge didn’t escape us! Sound familiar?!
I thought I’d kissed goodbye to restrictive dieting many years ago; my approach is not about strictly avoiding food, this is never something I advise nor practise myself. But that’s exactly what I did; eating minimal quantities with very strict meal timing and avoiding anything that looked vaguely appetizing or interesting! My relationship with food became incredibly unhealthy and this needed to change.
Now, I made the mistake of embarking on a very restrictive “diet” to deal with lockdown weight gain even though I knew it wouldn’t work. I know that practising my usual intuitive eating habits works but without a daily routine, this was much harder to keep up. And the lockdown weight gain was slowly becoming something I wasn’t in control of.
So, if you’ve fallen into that restrictive eating mindset and find yourself frustrated that you’ve lost control, here’s how the right mindset can get you back on track.
Eat for nourishment
Intuitive eating is all about fundamentally understanding what your body needs; how much food it needs, which nutrients it’s craving and when it needs them. Some days, you’ll find yourself craving carbs and fats whilst other days, you can devour a mound of roasted vegetables. Listen to your body; it’s giving you all the signals you need!
Be mindful of how you feel after eating certain foods
Whilst you may crave sweet treats, chocolate or pizza, and you may even convince yourself that you are nourishing your body with these foods, take some time once you’ve eaten these foods to note how you actually feel. Do you feel energised and invigorated or perhaps the reality is, you’re feeling tired and sleepy after you’ve eaten? If you do take the time to note how you’re feeling, you’ll soon realise that eating the right foods has a direct impact on helping you feel your very best.
The jury’s out on this one! If you’re serious about maintaining your weight, you should know how much you weigh. Now, your body weight can fluctuate with so many things and will react to the foods you eat, your emotional wellbeing and hormonal imbalances for example. But fundamentally, over time, it is a tool that reflects your body’s reactions to these influences and it can help you develop a deeper understanding of your own health. I’m in the “weigh yourself regularly” camp!
Cooking from scratch doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming. It can simply be a case of throwing healthy ingredients together to create a colourful and interesting meal in minutes. Make your favourite meals using great ingredients and you won’t feel that you’re missing out. In fact, you’re likely to enjoy the meal, even more, having made the effort to prepare and cook what you’re eating.
Need Inspiration: each week in THRIVE, I send out 4 meals, with recipes, that you can easily mix in with your usual meal choices. Never get stuck on “what to cook today” again!
Don’t forget your favourite treat
Staying healthy and at a weight you’re comfortable isn’t about restriction; it’s about moderate, intuitive eating and that includes your favourite foodie treats. So, rather than mindlessly filling up on unfulfilling snacks throughout the day, look forward to a moderate portion of your favourite dessert or glass of wine as part of your meal later in the day, knowing this is part of a healthy way of eating.
RECIPE: Healthy Homemade Protein Packed Granola Bars
So how has it been for you?
I’m guessing, you’ve gone one of 2 ways when it comes to your eating habits during the lockdown; either you’ve embraced incredibly healthy habits and are feeling better than ever or you’ve abandoned restricting yourself and feeling frustrated and perhaps a little down as a result.
Next month in THRIVE, we begin our post lockdown weight gain challenge. I will show you how to lose weight, whilst still enjoying carbs and chocolate! Why not join us THRIVE? CLICK HERE for more details