I’m coming to you from the tropical temperatures of my zoom-room office this week!
My word, what a week for weather! It’s Thursday afternoon and despite the temperatures dropping a little since earlier in the week I am still looking longingly out the window for the anticipated rain.
I do sometimes wonder why I bother looking at my weather app on my ‘phone. The predictions of rain have been tantalising, but non-existent and I am ready for a cooler night, breezier days and greener grass 🙂
Among the normal combination of zoom Fit Camps, Metabolic Balance clients and getting back outside this week I’ve noticed more articles and headlines highlighting the effects of lockdown on the nation’s physical health.
Even with a regular fitness regime and extra time at home, clients and colleagues have all commented on how they’ve found it hard to maintain their weight this year. With predictions of the average lockdown weight gain of 8kg plus (17.5lbs) I’ve been considering the combination of factors that have contributed to this (aside from eating like it’s the weekend every day!)
Continuing a regular fitness regime
Even if you’ve maintained a constant exercise programme since March that matched your pre-lockdown life you may have found a softening of your edges and a tightness in your waistband. Give some thought to how different your daily steps are today compared with pre-lockdown, early lockdown and now.
Working from home, for all it’s benefits, isn’t the best for getting a step count up and, for many, it’s tricky to get much more than 1500 steps daily when all you’re doing is moving from bedroom to kitchen to office space to bathroom each day. Since moving in April I no longer have stairs to use each day, it really does all add up!
In the early days of the restrictions many of us were taking advantage of a daily walk. The streets were much busier with people taking a stroll. For many that’s disappeared too.
The silver lining, because I do like a positive flip, is that this will show you what a difference these small actions make. We are really good at taking for granted what we have and sometimes forget the work we doing to achieve it.
Tip: Be more movement aware. Stand up when taking a call. Walk to the kitchen to get a drink. Go into the garden for a 10 minute stretch out. Go upstairs for the loo if you’re downstairs and vice versa. Walk when possible.
A healthy eating regime
I’ve met a lot of people for whom early lockdown was fiesta time! It was like a weekend every day! Wine, gin, snacks, sweets, treats, chocolate and more. That’s going to have an impact. However even if that wasn’t you and you’ve worked hard at eating more healthily you may feel that you’ve been struggling to keep a handle on your weight, size and shape.
It goes back to point 1. When we move less we’re bound to burn fewer calories. When we exercise less, we’re going to find it harder to maintain our active, calorie burning muscle without a deliberate plan. With less muscle on our bones we have a lower metabolic rate. With a lower metabolic rate we need fewer calories to remain the same weight.
Tip: To maintain muscle as best as possible with food, base your meals on a protein and vegetables rather than a carb component. By this I mean you’d be better off with a lamb jalfrezi and a vegetable curry than a lamb biryani with all the rice.
Underestimating the impact of lockdown
The effects of the past 5 months cannot be underestimated. I know that sounds flippant and I don’t mean it to be. However I’ve met clients and networking colleagues, and I’ve been guilty of this too, who’ve thought that we should be able to ‘get on with it’. That now we’re through the initial stages we should be able to get on with what we’re doing and make out it’s had no effect.
It has had an impact.
On all of us.
Whilst I do believe that we’re in a phase where we need to consider this a lifestyle not a holiday, I also accept that we’re all going to be impacted in some way by what we’ve experienced. Whether you’ve been thrown together as a family to live, play, work and learn together. Or you’ve lost your community and social interaction by having to work from home or if you’ve just felt overwhelmed by the hugeness of it all.
All of these are stresses.
Underlying and persistent stress is a key cause of belly fat. Combine that with a fiesta style approach to food, a change of activity routine and sleep schedules and the uncertainty of how long this will continue and you’ve got a triple whammy waiting to work it’s way to your middle.
Tip: Take time out. Make a moment of silence your daily necessity. Write down your thoughts in a journal. Chat it over. Dance it off. Walk the feeling off and let your mind roam free. Help someone else out. Be as kind to you about this as you would to your best friend.
And on that note I’ll leave you to it.
If lockdown belly is the worst thing that’s happened since March it’s fixable.
Move away from the scales and …
- Focus on what you know works for you long term.
- Think about what you can do, rather than what you haven’t done.
- Consider how much you’re moving, what you’re really eating and just how generous to yourself you’ve been with regards to managing your stresses.
Tweak one or two of these and you’ll start to see some changes. Slow, steady and permanent.
I wish you a cooler and happy weekend.
P.S it’s now started to rain 🙂
Here’s what’s been bothering me this week! With all my windows and doors open I and the house have been covered in these fluffy fairies …
FastTrack Fit Camp is an outdoor fitness business with the focus on improving people on the inside so they feel good on the outside. In 2019 FastTrack Fit Camp became a Social Enterprise and committed to distribute a minimum of 50% of profits back to community environmental projects each year with the goal of helping our local citizens feel good whilst being outside too.