Helpful Tips for Losing Weight Gained During the Covid-19 Pandemic or the Holidays
By Hareem Ahmad
The Covid-19 pandemic has not been particularly kind to fitness enthusiasts. Keeping people inside their homes while closing gyms due to safety concerns is a recipe for disaster. Despite regularly working out and maintaining a healthy eating schedule, I found myself constantly overeating out of boredom. In addition, the holiday season is no help. It brings in more sugary foods and large, albeit delicious, meals to the table. This combination of ingredients results in many of us carrying a few extra pounds around, but all is not lost. With these helpful tips, you’ll be able to start losing weight regardless of what fitness level you’re at.
Tip 1: Track What You Eat with MyFitnessPal
Any weight loss journey must begin by looking at what you’re eating and the number of calories you consume per day, and determining the actual number of calories you need to lose weight.
Luckily, MyFitnessPal can do all of this for you. The basic services you need are free and easy to use. Once downloaded, create an account and follow the on-screen instructions to set up your profile. By picking weight loss, MyFitnessPal will show you the exact number of calories you should be consuming per day in order to be in a calorie deficit. This number is specific to you based on your body and lifestyle characteristics. Once you’re in a calorie deficit, you will be burning more calories than what you’re consuming, thus resulting in natural weight loss.
Tracking your food with this app is easy since you can either scan the barcode of the item you ate or search it. After, select the portion size, and the app will automatically deduct it from your daily calorie goal. In addition, the app also breaks down the amount of protein, carbohydrates, fats and other nutrients you should be eating to reach your desired fitness goal.
Tip 2: Cardio is the Name of the Game
Once you’re in a calorie deficit, you will naturally begin burning the excess calories your body has stored as fat, but you can increase the rate of burn by doing cardio exercises. Your options are plentiful when picking what type of exercise to perform. The traditional options include walking, running, biking, or swimming. With any of these options, your aim should be to do it for at least 30 minutes. However, if this is not possible, feel free to break the 30 minutes into smaller intervals depending on your fitness level.
Don’t worry if these exercises are not possible due to a lack of equipment or cold weather since other viable options are available. Exercises such as jumping jacks, jump rope, burpees, squats and push-ups can be done at home and still burn calories. You can find zero equipment full body workouts by clicking this link. This PDF includes 100 workouts of different difficulty levels and can be done by both men and women regardless of age.
Tip 3: Drink Water (It’s That Easy!)
Not only is water essential for a healthy life, it can also help you lose weight in ways such as: suppressing your appetite, boosting your metabolism, and making exercising more efficient (HR NewsWire, 2020).
By drinking water before you eat and throughout the course of the day, you are sending signals to your brain indicating fullness (HubatWork, 2020). Hence, you will not feel as hungry and when you do, because of the water in your system, you will eat less. Moreover, water has zero calories, so drink away.
To know how much water to drink per day depends on your sex, age, and weight.
However, a simple way of knowing if you are meeting the required amount is if you rarely feel thirsty and if your urine is colourless or a light-yellow colour. (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2020).
Tip 4: It’s Bed Time
Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. One study found that men who got 4 hours of sleep compared to 10 hours had increased ghrelin and decreased leptin levels. Ghrelin is a neurotransmitter that promotes hunger while leptin promotes the feeling of fullness. Therefore, people who suffer from a lack of sleep will have a dysregulation of these neurotransmitters and not only eat more, but feel less full causing weight gain. (Newsom, 2020). So after a full day of weight loss activities, finish the day right by getting a restful night of sleep.
HR NewsWire. (2020, January 15). Yes, drinking more water may help you lose weight. The Hub. Retrieved January 18, 2022, from https://hub.jhu.edu/at-work/2020/01/15/focus-on-wellness-drinking-more-water/
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020, October 14). How much water do you need to stay healthy? Mayo Clinic.
Retrieved January 18, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-
Newsom, R. (2020, October 9). Why is sleep so important to weight loss? Sleep Foundation. Retrieved January 18, 2022, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-health/weight-loss-and-sleep