We are now living in difficult times. During this pandemic, complicated diets requiring extensive shopping and meal preparation may be too tough or stressful to tackle right now. Clearly, all the usual weight loss advice still applies: Focus on healthy eating, regular exercise and a good night’s sleep. However, given the ongoing challenges of pandemic life, that may not be enough. To that end, consider the following pandemic diet suggestions:
- Take Baby Steps. Everyone is stressed out right now so a total lifestyle overhaul is asking too much of yourself. Instead, start with one small step. What can you change right now? It’s too hard to make 10 different changes when you can just pick one to start. For many of my clients, that means experimenting with intermittent fasting, whereyou eat only during a set number of hours daily.
- Embrace Semi-Homemade. You have more than enough time to cook these days. But if you just lack the mental energy to choose recipes and shop for specific ingredients, stock your kitchen with ready-to-use items that are easy to transform into a nutritious meal. Now isn’t the time to go to a fancy culinary school; rather, just learn to be a dynamite short-order cook. For instance, frozen chicken breast plus frozen broccoli plus a pouch of pre-cooked quinoa or brown rice equals dinner.
- Eat On A Schedule. Working from home means that food is always accessible to you and your days have far less structure than before. Schedule your coffee break and lunch, then stick those times.
- Consider intermittent fasting. Even a Mediterranean or low-carb diet takes planning, and most of my clients just can’t wrap their heads around that right now. Intermittent fasting limits your eating to a set window of hours each day. The idea isn’t to gorge on ice cream and cake during those hours. Still aim for healthy meals and snacks but you don’t have to count calories or nutrients. By not eating so early in the morning and late at night, you will simply eat less. My client Steve says, “Pre-pandemic, I was doing a 12-hour intermittent fast because my commute required eating breakfast early and dinner late. In lockdown, I ate breakfast later in the morning and had dinner earlier in the evening, which left me with a 10-hour window for eating. Happily, I lost 15 pounds, and my wife has lost 10 pounds.
- Try Going Vegan. Many of my clients have adopted a vegan lifestyle during the pandemic, which they hope to boost their immune systems. Experts say a plant-based diet supports your immune system. By transforming how you eat, you may shed weight without that even being your goal.
- Lock the liquor cabinet. Alcohol provides excess calories and robs you of a your natural ability to regulate food intake. If you start drinking while you are cooking, you stop caring about what you are eating. You need not give up alcohol entirely but drink more consciously.
- Start Your Day ready To Play. Get dressed daily but skip the comfy sweats. Opt for clothing that urges you to move. Loungewear never fosters physical activity. Choose whatever clothes that are likelier to make you go for a walk.
- Use Your Commute Time to Exercise. Now that you don’t have to leave home by 8 a.m., you can spend that time moving your body. You need not change the intensity of your workout but you might now have 90 minutes now, instead of 45 minutes during your lunch break at work.