In the last couple of weeks, several countries reported increased demand for comfort foods. This is not surprising considering the gravity of the worldwide pandemic. But there's a catch: while comfort foods are great for making us feel better, they are not so great for our health. In combination with a lack of exercise, they can lead to unwanted weight gain.
Are you wondering how to lose (or prevent) lockdown kilos and get back in shape? We have put together a few ideas on how to get back in shape after self-isolation OR how to stay healthy even during a prolonged quarantine.
1. Start exercising in nature
The national responses to the pandemic have varied from country to country. While there was a strict lockdown in some places, other countries like the UK allowed their citizens to exercise outside once a day. In Finland and many parts of Germany, citizens were allowed to move outside as long as they would keep distance to others.
Regardless of the specific situation of a country or city, most people probably agree that they have rarely appreciated a walk in nature as much as they do today. In fact, after restaurants and most of public life was shut down in Finland, people started walking outside and exercising more than before (one of the few activities still possible)
If you are just coming out of self-isolation, going out into nature is probably the best thing you can do, no doubt!
Spring is here, nature is awakening and the air is just beautiful for a run, a long walk, or cycling.
Nature also has a proven healing effect on people. If you have been worried a lot in the last few weeks and feel stressed or depressed, a walk in the forest or on the beach can work wonders.
2. Activate your metabolism
Spring is the perfect time to activate the body after the long winter months. But as most of us have spent the last weeks in some kind of quarantine, a little extra push might be helpful.
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What makes this formula so unique?
Let's have a closer look at some of the key ingredients. The health benefits of green tea extract are mostly due to its high antioxidant content. Antioxidants can help reduce oxidative stress by fighting cell damage caused by free radicals.
There is research that suggests green tea may have other benefits as well. Thermogenesis is the process by which your body burns calories to digest food and produce heat. Green tea has been shown to boost this process by making your body more effective at burning calories. This is obviously helpful if you want to lose weight.
Other ingredients like guarana and green coffee extract are known for their energy-boosting properties. Together with an extra dose of caffeine, you will surely stay awake and energized!
3. Do work-outs at home
In case you are still self-isolating at home due to personal reasons or an extended lockdown, you can do work-outs from home.
Regular practice of Sun Salutation improves the functions of the heart, liver, intestine, stomach, chest, throat, and legs – basically, the whole body. There are many variations, some easier, some more advanced. If you are just starting out we recommend searching for traditional sun salutations (for beginners) on Youtube. Some platforms likeglo.comoffer free trial periods. Apps likeDown Dog have free versions that allow you to practice at the comfort of your home.
Dancing provides you with additional strength, stamina, flexibility, and coordination plus it is one of the most enjoyable ways of getting some cardiovascular exercise. So, what are you waiting for? Turn on the volume and start grooving!
How to get started?
Check out dance classes on Youtube, for example, a 30 minute Latin Workout or Bollywood steps for beginners.
If yoga and dance are not your thing you can opt for pilates or other forms of home work-outs available online.
Tip: Meet up virtually with family and friends for a work-out together. That will make it more fun and help you stay motivated.
4. Make a fresh start with spring foods
Spring is the perfect season to enjoy healthy, light foods - especially after many weeks of comfort food during the lockdown.
In fact, the biggest national newspaper of Finland, Helsingin Sanomat, analyzed what food people ordered in the past weeks. Pizza and fast food made it to the top 5. Supermarkets noticed an increase in the sales of sweets. In order to say goodbye to extra weight (or prevent it from coming), we recommend minimizing the daily amount of comfort foods and sweets. Once you make the switch you will feel the difference!
Instead, try to focus on healthy and colorful foods:
- fruits and vegetables
- whole grains, including quinoa, brown rice, oats, and barley
- lean protein sources, such as poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, seeds, low-fat cottage cheese, and eggs
- healthful fats from fatty fish, olives, olive oil, coconuts, avocados, nuts, and seeds
Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are high in fiber, so they can help keep a person feeling full and satisfied. Healthful fats and proteins can also contribute to satiety.
If you need some inspiration, you could check outGwyneth Paltrow´s books: The Clean Plate: Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Everyday Glow orIt's All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook
5. Try intermittent fasting
Fasting has been used therapeutically since at least the 5th century BCE. In recent years more and more people have discovered the benefits of intermittent fasting.
Numerous studies show that intermittent fasting can have powerful benefits for your body and brain. There are several names for time-restricted fasting. Some call it 16:8 diet or 16:8 plan.
The concept is easy: You consume food during an 8-hour window (for example between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or noon to 8 p.m) and avoid food for the remaining 16 hours each day.
Finding the ideal eating window might require some testing first. Once you have figured out the rhythm that suits you best, you can expect several positive changes in your body.
Some of the benefits found in studies include:
- Fasting decreases insulin levels which stimulates loss of weight
- Boost metabolism for fat loss
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved immune system
- Reduced oxidative stress
An easy way to get started is with a book, for example:Intermittent Fasting for Beginners: The Ultimate Weight Loss Guide incl. 5:2 Diet, 16:8 Diet and 30 Days Diet Plan