The pandemic was one of the most stressful things we’ve experienced in recent history. Until today, despite progress in vaccine rollout, a lot of things haven’t come back to normal. In one survey conducted via Facebook, 22% of 1200 participants experienced gaining 5-10 pounds during quarantine. Some are eating due to stress while others are snacking more than they used to.
If you’re one of those who gained weight during the pandemic, it is important to find your way back towards a healthier lifestyle. If not, this can lead to bigger health problems if your habits persist. Here are some ways on how you can go back or even have a better version of yourself.
Understand and accept your current situation
The first thing that you should do is to admit where you are currently standing. Maybe, you’ve gained more than 10 pounds during the pandemic. Perhaps, it’s because of your stress-eating habits or you don’t feel exercising as often as before since you don’t have the same access to a gym.
If you are too afraid to admit to yourself your current situation, you can always look at things just as numbers that you need to improve. There are weighing scales accompanied by apps to make monitoring easier for you. You can get a measure of your current body weight, muscle mass, fat percentage, and even your metabolism. This makes it easier to know where to start.
Find ways to alleviate stress
Stress can be highly problematic. The pandemic is something that has increased our stress level to the roof. Negative news you hear every day from businesses closing due to lockdowns to deaths and new cases, these are things that can affect different facets of your life. Not only does it lead to unhealthy habits, but it can also even affect your productivity and make you lose your focus. Understand that heading back to a healthier version of yourself requires stress management.
One way to relax is to meditate regularly. Meditation doesn’t have to be too long. 10 minutes of meditation a day can do wonders. Do a bit of yoga as well and meditate by focusing solely on the poses. It’s a good distraction that can help reset the mind.
With remote work normalized, a downside to this is that there are blurred lines between the workplace and your home. It can turn into a stressor making it hard to sleep even in your home. To go back to a healthier life, you will need to get enough number of hours of sleep. On top of that, you also need to improve the quality of your sleep.
Though these are stressful times that can disrupt the way you sleep, there are many ways how you can feel more relaxed. Figure out the right temperature that gets you sleepy. And also, try to block the light when you sleep. And on top of that, you want to be disciplined about your habits such as taking caffeinated drinks near your bedtime.
What makes sleep important? Sleep is the body’s natural way to recover. With enough sleep, you can tweak your stress hormone down. You will feel less hungry and even have a faster metabolism.
Taking Out The Unnecessary Food
The pandemic made people look for YouTube recipes, experiment with delicious recipes, or even explore restaurants that they haven’t tried. Unfortunately, these habits may have led to surplus calories resulted in extra pounds.
To go back to your healthy lifestyle, it is important to take out all the unnecessary foods that you can’t burn. Does it mean that you should start counting calories right away? Ideally, yes, you would want to count calories. Unfortunately, not everyone is keen on the number of calories that they eat. It also takes a lot of work to track your macronutrients and the total calories that you took.
As an alternative, what you can do is to divide your foods into two. Just determine the healthy and the unhealthy. Take out unhealthy foods that you can manage to take out every week next week. The following week, you can take out more unhealthy foods. The next thing you know, you’ve cleaned up your diet.
To get you motivated, you can always assign one day a week as your cheat day. You can get to enjoy some of your cravings.
Don’t be afraid to restart your physical activities
Exercise is an important part of living a healthy life. However, you may have stayed away from the gym for a few months. You may have regressed in terms of your physical fitness. What you can do is to start from where you are. If you were active before the pandemic, don’t expect to pick up where you’ve left. You may have to give your body some time to relearn all the things that you’ve been doing.
If you can only last 15 minutes jogging, this is better than nothing. Just remember to do things consistently and you will see progress in your physical conditioning. Also, try to mix things up. Don’t just focus on cardio or resistance training solely.
The pandemic may have placed some of your fitness goals on the shelf temporarily, but it is the best time to go after them once again. With these strategies, it is possible not only to go back to your pre-pandemic fitness level but even find yourself in a better situation.