A guide to staving off extra weight while working from home that applies even after Circuit Breaker
During the Circuit Breaker, most people were spending longer hours indoors and leading a more sedentary lifestyle than usual. This, coupled with the anxiety of living with a deadly pandemic, may have given rise to stress eating and weight gain in some people.
If your jeans became noticeably tighter during in that period, there is hope. Take the following steps, as advised by Health Coach and Neurofeedback practitioner Kim Lee. They are universal, and will help to keep the extra kilos off, Circuit Breaker or not!Get Enough Sleep
Working from home doesn’t give you carte blanche to stay up all night binge-watching Netflix. Ensuring you get seven to nine hours of sleep on a regular basis is not only essential for overall health, it could also help prevent unnecessary weight gain. This is because insufficient shut-eye is tied to shifts in the appetite-regulating hormones, leptin and ghrelin, explains Ms Lee. Sleep deprivation leads to higher levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite, and lower levels of leptin, which decreases hunger. On top of this, being sleep-deprived also increases stress levels, which could then result in overeating for comfort, thus piling on the pounds.
Most of us don’t consume enough fluids. Indeed, we often mistake thirst signals for hunger, points out Ms Lee. Downing plain water doesn’t just keep you hydrated, it also ensures you have less space for sugary drinks or snacks. A bonus: water has zero calories. If you find plain water boring, zest it up with a twist of lemon.
Manage the Blues
Increased anxiety often gives rise to mindless eating. Instead of reaching out for a bar of chocolate or a tub of ice cream to soothe yourself, take time out to meditate, listen to music, or soak in a bathtub, if you have one.
Ditch Refined Carbs
Many of us tend to reach for comfort foods when we are feeling down, and these invariably turn out to be refined carbs, such as white rice, pasta, cakes and cookies. These high-calorie foods should be avoided, especially when you are doing less to burn off the extra calories.
Prepare Your Meals
Rather than ordering takeout, this is a good time to pick up or hone your culinary skills, recommends Ms Lee. Forgo hawker favourites that are loaded in refined carbohydrates and salt for more nutritious home-cooked meals instead. Preparing your own meals also means you have more control over what goes onto your plate.
Avoid munching on junk foods. Most tidbits tend to be loaded in carbs and refined sugar, which can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Over time, this can lead to type 2 diabetes. They also tend to be highly processed, and contain unhealthy fats and high levels of sodium. Don’t keep junk food in the house. Prepare a healthy snack or have a handful of nuts on hand if you need a mid-afternoon burst of energy.
Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you have to be chained to the desk. Carve out some time to try out one of the numerous workout programmes uploaded on YouTube. You could also incorporate more movement in your day by doing the housework or walking to the nearest market/supermarket instead of driving. Besides lowering stress levels, the exercise will tone your muscles and stave off the extra inches.