Over a quarter of the year 2020 has been spent in some form of lockdown. From months inside, unable to see family and friends face to face, to the new normal that we currently find ourselves living in. Queuing for the supermarket is now expected, wearing a mask on public transport no longer seems strange and we have adapted to a life of limitations and patience. We are slowly expecting that this is how we live now and the instant gratification of previous years seems a lifetime ago.
With this new mindset in motion, many have taken to using time spent in lockdown to help benefit a healthier lifestyle. On the contrary, others have realized that lock down has left them feeling like they have just spent three months on an all inclusive holiday and now is the time to do something about losing those extra pounds.
If, like me, you find yourself surrounded by friends that seem to have used their time to prepare syn free meals or cut out carbs altogether, you may be feeling like you missed the boat. Stay strong. Don’t let the success of others mean that you self sabotage your own weight loss goals. Your own timing is key and you need to be in the right mindset to feel like you can achieve the goals you set yourself. There are many lessons we have learnt through this pandemic and one of those is that there is still time to change.
I never believed that writing down and keeping tabs on what I had eaten would work. I also thought it sounded like such a chore, something I couldn’t possibly fit into my daily routine. If I’m being totally honest I didn’t want to either, using lines such as ‘oh life’s too short’ or ‘not for me thanks’. The truth is, I did want to , I just didn’t know how to start. The very thought of it was exhausting and I was right to feel like that. Starting out in the dieting world is hard work, it’s tiring thinking of new meals to cook and making sure you are always prepared. You don’t want to be caught out and hungry with no idea what to eat so you are forced to spend time planning meals and deciding on that day’s appropriate snacks.
The word craving is often related to pregnancies and hormonal changes but when you are dieting, you can also crave things like never before. Let us be honest, it really is just a case of mind over matter. The temptation to grab a quick convenience snack can come so easily. Whether you are walking into a staff room full of goodies or working from home with cupboards full of treats, telling yourself that you will resist takes determination and control. There is a real guilt that can come from eating something ‘naughty’ when on a diet. It can make you feel like a failure. This is where the mindset to keep going and get back on it becomes very important. A bad day does not mean you have to give up.
There will always come a week, when no matter how hard you have tried and how dedicated you felt, you will put on a few pounds instead of lose them. That moment alone can create doubt and perhaps make you want to give up. Losing weight and getting fit is as much a state of mind as revising for a big exam. You have to train yourself on what to eat and what not to eat, it can feel like a headache at times. The idea of new meals that suit the whole family can seem exhausting but after a few weeks you will get the hang of it.
Staying positive is key, even if Susan down the road lost two stone during lock down and you eye up her new found confidence with envy. Be happy for that person and remind yourself that you can also be in that position.
With so many different types of diets out there, it’s hard to know which one will work for you. Seeking advice and knowing your own body type and needs is important. As a vegetarian that enjoys food, I wanted a diet that allowed for me to eat plenty of pasta and potatoes. My husband, an avid meat lover, became obsessed with a diet of no carbs. As you can imagine, this made meal times quite tricky and we had to adapt or agree to make our own. Being on a diet can make you feel selfish because you need to be so focused on yourself and what you are consuming. However the negatives will soon be forgotten and once you start to feel healthier and fitter, you will also notice you are more aware of what you are putting into your body on a daily basis. We all love a good cream cake or Friday night take away but we must remember, everything should be enjoyed in moderation.