Maintaining a Healthy Weight During Uncertain Times
With the rise of Covid 19 more people are stress eating than ever before. Many are working long hours from home and have little time or opportunity to be active or get to the gym. I have heard jokes about the weight gains folks are acquiring during this time, but this is no laughing matter. Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are factors when it comes to how hard this illness can affect each of us. Here are some weight loss suggestions which will help you foster better eating habits as well!
Be mindful of your calories. To lose weight, you must operate on a negative calorie-balance diet. One pound of bodyweight is equivalent to 3500 calories. If you require 2500 calories just to maintain your weight (BMR – Basil Metabolic Rate), you need to cut back to 2000 calories daily to achieve a healthy weight loss of 2-3 lbs. in one week. This is a great program for days on which you are sedentary. On days when you work out, you will need extra calories, about 250 to 300 calories, to fuel your weight training and cardio. Keep track of calories by maintaining a food journal. Implement portion control by using a food scale and measuring utensils.
Eat breakfast and never skip meals. When you cut out meals, especially breakfast (your most important meal), your body goes into a starvation mode – it shuts down its calorie-burning mechanisms and begins to store fat. Never skip a healthy breakfast. Eat smaller meals and snacks throughout the day, every 2-3 hours if possible. This way your body gets a steady supply of carbs for energy, protein for healthy muscles and “good fats” for the production of essential hormones.
An exercise program is key. Aerobic exercise, like running, walking, cycling, and swimming require you to work harder and utilize more oxygen. These activities also burn more calories and they challenge your heart and lungs to work harder and become stronger. Anaerobic exercise, i.e. weight training, burns less calories overall, but increases your body’s muscle mass. The more muscle you carry, the more fat and calories you’ll burn, even at rest. Several recent studies have revealed that while anaerobic workouts don’t burn as many calories as aerobic training initially, those who weight train, especially early in the day, jack up their metabolism in such a way that their bodies burn more calories and fat all day long!
With these basics in place, here are some other factors to consider:
- Get enough sleep (8 – 10 hours) so that your body can rest and produce regulatory hormones that can affect your weight, appetite, and energy levels.
- Know the numbers (1 gram of carbs = 4 calories; 1 gram of protein = 4 calories; 1 gram of fat = 9 calories; 1 gram of alcohol = 7 calories).
- Be on guard against stress eating, mindless eating in front of the TV and, worst of all, late night binge eating.
- Too much partying on weekends can lead to extra calories and hang- overs that’ll ruin your training regime.