I’m very grateful for having a job that has enabled me to work through the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of my clients are experiencing more anxiety, depression, weight gain, and loss of sleep during this stressful time. I’ve explained to them that they’re not alone and now is the time to take control of their health- nutritionally and mentally. It’s time to redirect and reprioritize. The fuel you choose to put into your body does affect your mental and physical health. Below are 6 Tips for Weight Loss and Well-Being. I hope even a couple of these lifestyle changes help you achieve a more peaceful mind and a strong and healthy body.
1. Fuel your body consistently. Eating a healthy balanced meal or snack every 3-4 hours during the day will keep your metabolism revving and your blood sugar stable. At every meal, fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables (examples: strawberries, carrots, or spinach), one-quarter of your plate should contain a lean protein (examples: fish, chicken, or beans), and the other quarter whole-grains (quinoa, brown rice, or pasta). Snacks should be balanced with a protein (examples: hummus, nut butter, or turkey) and a high-fiber complex carbohydrate (examples: whole-grain toast, celery, or apple slices). Enjoy eating.
2. Hydrate throughout the day. Your body is made up of approximately 60% water. Therefore, adequate hydration throughout the day is essential. Water helps regulate your body temperature and bodily functions like digestion and absorption of nutrients. Drinking water also helps your body get rid of toxins and waste through urination, sweating, and breathing. When you’re even slightly dehydrated, you may think you’re hungry when you’re actually craving water. Aim for at least 8 (8 ounces) glasses of water throughout the day and start first thing in the morning.
3. Get quality sleep. Seven to nine hours of sleep each night is ideal for adults. If you’re lacking sleep, the hunger hormone ghrelin increases and the satiety hormone leptin decreases, which can cause you to feel more hungry than normal. This usually leads to eating more food than you would if you were well-rested. Food choices during sleep deprivation are typically high in sugar, fat, and sodium. Set an alarm on your phone an hour before you’d like to go to sleep. At night, leave electronic devices to charge in another room to help get you to sleep on time. This will also decrease your time on social media and reading/answering emails from bed in the morning.
4. Exercise regularly. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity 5 days a week and on 2 or more of those days incorporate weight-training exercises. A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, anxiety, and depression. Schedule exercise on your calendar like you would an appointment or lunch date.
5. Stay committed, consistent, and POSITIVE! Plan meals and snacks in advance and schedule them within the same hour every day. Create a positive eating experience for yourself. Think about what you CAN eat rather than what you cannot eat.
6. Weigh yourself only once a week. Weighing yourself daily can lead to frustration and decreased motivation. A significant weight change within 24 hours is typically due to water fluctuations. Pick the same day and time during the week for your committed weigh-in.