I have seen so many memes, jokes and posts lately about people worried about putting on weight during lockdown because they won’t be able to exercise like they normally do. Some comments even imply that being at home is a guarantee that they will overeat.
How does that logic work?
Yes, we do need to practice self-care now and gaining EXCESSIVE weight could have short-term and long-term effects on our health, immunity and self-esteem. Much more important for our longevity right now is BEHAVIOUR CHANGE and A HOLISTIC HEALTH (body, mind and soul) MINDSET.
So many of us have been conditioned for decades to believe that exercise is a key ingredient — perhaps the most important ingredient — of any weight loss or weight maintenance effort. Of course exercise has tremendous benefits for health, physically and emotionally, but it is not THE miracle cure for weight loss – LIFESTYLE CHANGES ARE!
Although exercise does help to burn calories and does support weight management, IT NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT YOU SHOP FOR AND WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO EAT! That is 100% your responsibility and you have 100% control over your nutrition choices. The science is in on this – if you eat too much of anything, especially unhealthy, processed, sugary and salty foods, you do risk gaining weight on the scale and jeopardising your health in the process.
Shift your mindset to see the OPPORTUNITIES to improve your lifestyle and create NEW healthy habits during the Stay at Home period. These are the ones I have identified for myself:
1. More time to meal prep and get creative with new recipes.
2. No eating out and socialising (less calorie consumption and no opportunities to eat massive restaurant portions)
3. The opportunity to eat whole meals instead of buying convenient, processed ones.
4. Less time in the stores (resulting in less time to browse and make emotional food decisions)
5. The opportunity for power naps and more sleep (less tired therefore decreased production of hunger hormones)
6. A “new normal” exercise regime (I don’t have a treadmill or indoor trainer so my sessions will be much shorter over the next few weeks – when I exercise less, I eat less automatically because I don’t need the fuel)
“Exercise can undermine weight loss in other, subtle ways
How much we eat is connected to how much we move. When we move more, we sometimes eat more too, or eat less when we’re not exercising.
One 2009 study shows that people seemed to increase their food intake after exercise — either because they thought they burned off a lot of calories or because they were hungrier. Another review of studies from 2012 found that people generally overestimated how much energy exercise burned and ate more when they worked out.
“You work hard on that machine for an hour, and that work can be erased with five minutes of eating afterward,” Hall says. A single slice of pizza, for example, could undo the benefit of an hour’s workout. So could a cafe mocha or an ice cream cone.
There’s also evidence to suggest that some people simply slow down after a workout, using less energy on their non-gym activities. They might decide to lie down for a rest, fidget less because they’re tired, or take the elevator instead of the stairs.
These changes are usually called “compensatory behaviors” — and they simply refer to adjustments we may unconsciously make after working out to offset the calories burned.”