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Worried About Weight Regain While On Corona Lockdown?

This article was transcribed from episode 51 of The Fitness Simplified Podcast. Click HERE to listen.
Kim: Welcome back to the Fitness Simplified podcast. I’m your host, Kim Schlag.

[00:00:08] As I record episode 51 of the podcast, the world is several weeks into the Coronavirus lockdown. We’ve completely lost track of times and days. No one knows what day it is. A worry I’m hearing coming up over and over from many of you, is that you’re concerned that you’re going to regain much or all of the weight that you worked so hard to lose.

[00:00:30] Let’s talk about it.

[00:00:36] Heading into day 13 of lockdown here in my town. My family is all working at home, the kids are homeschooling, I am a homeschooling mom for the second time in my life — not by choice this time. The kiddos are all working hard at school, my husband is working from home, I am working from home, haven’t really gone anywhere except to walk in my neighborhood, and walk at a local park. I think it’s been 10 days since I’ve gone anywhere.

[00:01:10] Other than that, different world we’re living in here now. I know a lot of you are struggling. We’re all struggling to some degree with this just massive lifestyle shift. I created a poll on Instagram asking what your biggest fitness concern is right now.

[00:01:26] Number one was snacking/mindless eating/stress eating, and I talked about that quite in-depth last week on the podcast.

[00:01:35] Number two was regaining the weight you’ve lost while we’re on Corona lockdown. I think that’s a valid concern and I understand completely why you would be worried about that.

[00:01:47] We are in a prime setup for overeating. We have more downtime, high levels of stress and anxiety, boredom, it’s harder to access less processed food for many people, and we’ve stacked up on highly palatable food, right? Our cupboards are filled with all of those things that can be trigger foods for us.

[00:02:07] I saw a meme yesterday saying that it feels like we’re living an extended version of that week between Christmas and New Year’s, and I was like, “yes!” It’s that loss of flow, the flow of time, the rhythm of our daily lives, our healthy habits, kind of all giving way to be just one long blur with the added twist of: there’s literally nowhere to go and now we’re all homeschooling our children. So, it’s this really strange spot to be in.

[00:02:34] Here’s how I feel about worry, though. It’s not useful. No one ever worried a situation into proper resolution, and believe me, I’ve tried. I was a world-class worrier for most of my life. But action, not worry, is the answer. Always. Worry is crippling. Action is empowering.

[00:03:00] So what action is appropriate to this worry we’re discussing here? The specifics are going to vary person to person. Generally speaking, though, the first step is going to be getting the worries out of your head. That way you can face them square on. Write them down. What specifically are you worried about and why?

[00:03:22] So here’s an example:

[00:03:24] “I’m worried I will gain back the 20 pounds I lost because I’m eating nonstop and lying in my pajamas, binge watching the Golden Girls 24/7.”

[00:03:33] Okay, then ask yourself some questions about what you’ve written. Are your worries warranted? Do they seem logical? What behaviors specifically are contributing to this worry of possible weight gain? Are you willing to change the behaviors you see leading to the weight gain? If so, which behaviors, specifically, are you willing to change? Which behaviors, specifically, are you not willing to change? And those are where we’re all going to have different answers. And it’s important to remember that what’s required for weight loss and maintenance aren’t the same thing.

[00:04:15] You don’t have to be losing weight right now. If you’re feeling ambivalent about what you really want and what you’re willing to change versus not, here’s something to consider: how will you feel when this quarantine is over about the decisions you’re making right now? Project into the future, some period of weeks or months, when you’re back to your usual day to day life — where do you want to be with your nutrition and fitness habits? Then act accordingly.

[00:04:45] It will likely take multiple reminders of that, daily, to stay on the course that leads you to the end spot you’ve chosen.
[00:04:54] Okay, some practical advice on where to place your efforts if you’re thinking, “okay, enough, I’m ready to think forward towards what I want when we resume normal life, I’m ready to do something.”

[00:05:07] So maintenance comes down to three things:

[00:05:10] 1) Managing your overall calorie intake.

[00:05:14] Now, maybe this isn’t the right time for you to be counting calories. Maybe it is. You can decide that. Remember, in any case, the calories that you’re counting, if you’re shooting for maintenance, are going to be higher than your deficit calories, but you could still count calories.

[00:05:28] If you don’t want to count calories here are some other options to manage your overall calorie intake so that you are not in a surplus, which is what would cause you to gain weight.

[00:05:39] So a couple of options for you:

[00:05:41] 1) I only eat seated at a table with my food on a plate or in a bowl. Okay? I don’t eat out of packages, boxes, and bags, I don’t eat in front of the TV, I don’t eat in my bed. I only eat seated at a table with my food plated.

[00:05:58] Another option: I eat only when I’m physically hungry. So, think about actual physical hunger — that is felt in your stomach. It’s an empty, hollow sensation in your stomach. It comes on gradually and it doesn’t subside with time, but it continues to grow.

[00:06:17] If you’re not feeling that, you’re not physically hungry, you’re emotionally hungry, you’re bored, you’re missing something else. So, you could commit to eat only when you’re physically hungry and stop when you are satisfied. So, you eat slowly and you notice the sensation in your stomach. When you get to the point of satisfaction, you stop eating. Okay, so that’s another option.

[00:06:42] Third option, I eat three meals and two snacks per day. That’s it. And you could dial that one in further in a couple of ways. You could add that all of those meals fit on one standard sized plate. Okay, so three meals, two snacks, they fit on a standard sized plate for the meals, and each snack fits in the palm of your hand.

[00:07:04] You could do it like that. You can dial that one in even further and say, okay, all of my meals are going to include half a plate of vegetables, or half a plate of vegetables and a quarter plate of protein. You could say, one of my snacks every day is going to be a fruit or a fruit or a vegetable. So, lots of ways you can dial that in. So, creating these bright lines around your nutrition to control total calories-in.

[00:07:29] A couple of more for you to consider: I eat protein and veggies at every meal. Okay? So, we’re not just downing carbs and fat. I eat protein and veggies at every meal.

[00:07:42] Another one, around alcohol — here are two for you around alcohol. I’ve heard from a lot of people that they are drinking a lot more than usual right now, so you could say, “I drink no more than one alcoholic drink per day,” or “I drink no more than one time per week or two times per week or three times per week.”

[00:07:58] Whichever of these feels like a good fit for you. The idea being that you’re going to reduce the amount of alcohol you’re currently drinking.

[00:08:07] Okay, so I just gave you about eight different ways that you can control your overall calorie intake and get it to a maintenance level without counting calories.

[00:08:18] The other option is you straight up count calories. So t
hat’s number one with getting control of maintaining your weight during this quarantine time: manage your overall calorie intake.

[00:08:29] The second thing we’re going to talk about, then, is the other side of the energy balance equation. So, we’re going to talk about calories-out.

[00:08:38] So we’re going to move. And I’m not talking workouts here. That’s actually a relatively small portion of your total calories-out, even when you’re in your regular workout routine. Okay? I’m talking about literally just getting up and moving.

[00:08:53] Lots of ideas here: go outside and take a walk, stay inside and take a walk, challenge your kids to a dance off, play charades as a family. We did this last night, we actually FaceTimed some family friends and we played charades– we hooked our phones up to our televisions and then we played charades through the television with some family friends. That was really fun.
[00:09:16] The night before that, we FaceTimed my little sister and she gave us line-dancing lessons. We did country line-dancing lessons. So, we’re going to do it weekly now for the rest of the quarantine. You could mop your floors, you could organize your closets, you could play a fun movement game while you’re binge watching your TV shows.

[00:09:33] Okay, so in my family, we are binge watching The Office. We’re going to try and get through all nine seasons. We’re currently on season three. Here’s a game I thought of that you could do with The Office — and you can change this to match the show your doing. So, if you watch The Office, every time Michael says something inappropriate, do 10 squats, every time Jim looks at the camera and smirks, do 5 pushups, every time Pam picks up the phone, do 6 lunges per leg.

[00:09:58] So make this game work for your family’s TV show that you are watching. So, it’s not about this being your workout routine. We’ll talk about workout routines later. This is just a way to get some more movement in.

[00:10:11] Pick a podcast or two you love and set a bright line that you can only listen to that show if you’re walking. Do a step competition with friends. See who can get the most steps each week and decide on a prize for the winner, for when this is all over, whoever gets the highest step count per week, that person gets a prize.

[00:10:33] So the bottom line is: enough with all of the sitting. Let’s get up and move.

[00:10:41] All right, number three: workouts.

[00:10:43] Oh boy, I know you might not be particularly motivated by your home workouts. Do them anyway. Do them anyway. They will have a positive impact. Commit to three times per week, focus on getting stronger at a few key moves. Making that progress is important to your results, not to mention your enthusiasm about working out.

[00:11:06] Focus on getting better and doing more reps of pushups and pullups and Bulgarian split squats, pike pushups, walking lunges — I started today to work towards performing my very first pistol squat. That is a challenge that I find really exciting.

[00:11:21] So pick something physical and work towards getting better at that.

[00:11:27] All of these things, these workout pieces are going to help you mentally stay in the game, help you keep up the habit of “I am a person who works out.” They’re also key to preserving the muscle that you have built, that really gives you that toned and defined look.

[00:11:43] So remember, you don’t have to be focused on weight loss right now. I mean, you literally never have– there’s never a time in your life you have to focus on weight loss, certainly not now. But in this moment, good nutrition still matters, moving your body still matters, and your goals still matter.

[00:12:05] We’re all in this together and it looks like we’re going to be here for some time still, so let’s keep each other going here.

[00:12:12] We can create new routines. We can hold ourselves to standards.

[00:12:16] You in? Let’s go.

[00:12:29] Thanks so much for being here and listening in to the Fitness Simplified podcast today. I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational.

[00:12:40] If you enjoyed it, if you found value in it, it would mean so much to me if you would go ahead and leave a rating and review on whatever platform you are listening to this on. It really does help to get this podcast to other people.

[00:12:55] Thanks so much.