Hands up if you have been overindulging a little since lockdown?
Now, keep it up if you have been skipping a few too many workouts, instead opting for more doona time each morning?
And nod your head if your clothes are starting to feel a little tight?
The good news is that you are not alone – difficult times both emotionally and psychologically can make it more challenging to find the motivation to eat well, while physical limitations can mean that many of us are moving far less than we usually would. So, if you are keen to reverse this cycle before a couple of kilos on the scales becomes a lot more, here are some effective ways to get your diet back on track, even in lockdown.
Recruit your crew
One of the most powerful influencers over human behaviour is other humans. Specifically, human beings like those we spend our time with. This means that if your partner, children or flat mates are committed to eating healthy foods and exercising you are much more likely to as opposed to living with people who have a preference for fast food eaten in front of a screen. This also means that seeking out others to join you literally or virtually on any new diet and exercise program will mean you’re much more likely to remain committed to the program and achieve the results you are looking for long term.
Make a meal plan
Planning our meals takes away the temptation to go rogue; it facilitates meal preparation and shopping in advance and it frees up a whole lot of time and energy when you do not have to constantly be making decisions about food and meal choices. At this point in lockdown, it also creates an opportunity to seek out and try new calorie-controlled meals to help make meal times a little more exciting. Even better, if you are not confident writing your own weight loss meal plan, you can always consult with a dietitian online to point you in the right direction.
Go light at night
A simple and extremely effective weight loss principle is to keep the last meal of the day light – think a controlled portion of grilled fish, prawns or lean meat or chicken teamed with 2-3 cups of brightly coloured veg or salad.
Simply bulking up the low-calorie portions of salad, vegetables or soup instantly reduces your overall calorie intake, without you feeling like you are on a diet at all.
Supercharge the veggies and salad
The best diets are diets that require you to eat more food for fewer calories. Here, you do not feel restricted, are kept full and satisfied whilst also losing weight.
To kickstart your lockdown diet regime and kick off a few kilos quickly, all you need to do is seriously increase your intake of salad and veg every day. Think a fresh vegetable juice each morning; or a side of tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms with any warm breakfasts. Add a whole salad or soup to your lunch meal. Make a concerted effort to munch on extra salad vegetables such as carrots and capsicum as part of your snacks and add at least 3-4 different vegetables to your evening meal.
Not only will consuming the extra fibre aid digestion, but you will feel lighter and eat fewer calories when you include this much low-calorie salad and veg bulk in your diet.
Factor in a meal off
Another secret to keeping motivated on any weight loss program is to factor in a meal or two off your program each week. A meal off your program gives you something to look forward to each week; you can factor in any special occasion eating and it is a whole lot easier to be compliant with a program when you are not feeling overly restricted. Examples of meals off include a take away meal, dessert or a few drinks over the weekend.
Author Susie Burrell is a leading Australian dietitian and nutritionist, founder of Shape Me, co-host of The Nutrition Couch podcast and prominent media spokesperson, with regular appearances in both print and television media commenting on all areas of diet, weight loss and nutrition.