So, how much weight have you put on in lockdown? I am looking at about 16 pounds mainly around the belly. My diets hasn’t really changed that much perhaps a bit more snacking and a glass of wine. My main problem has been being sedentary. Working from home has a lot going for it but when you are out in the world you move your body and that is what we are designed to do. We are built to be hunter gatherers. Going out into the bush and getting our food and supplies on a daily basis burns a lot of calories. You never see an over weight hunter gatherer.
Along with moving as we gathered and hunted would have come the days when there was plenty and we could all pig out and the day when there was not so much to eat so we would nuts drink water to fill us up. MIchael Moslem’s 5:2 diet imitates the pattern of lots followed by lean. The science has shown that regular periods or either fasting or low calories kicks the body into fat burning mode. Our problem today is a never ending supply of food, lack of body movement and sugar.
Sugar occurs naturally in most of the plants that we eat. Our move to refine it to the white powder and then put it into everything from boiled sweets to pasta sauces creates weight gain and diabetic diseases. Also psychologically sugar spikes can create spikes and drops in mood and energy. I am sure that in lockdown many people have experienced increased irritability and moodiness. This is partly due to cabin fever and partly due to over eating the wrong foods and lack of body movement.
14,000 steps a day
With gym regimes we can easily believe that HIIT, weights and running are the ways to get fit. Well, actually, hunter gatherers hardly ever ran. They would only run to get away from something or to catch something. The trick is that they are always moving. This could be walking, jogging or simply moving around the home doing things, they do not spend hour sat down staring at a screen. The idea that we need to be doing 10,000 steps a day has become a sort of standard. Some personal trainers tell that the idea has back fired because people can develop the belief that if that have done their 10,000 steps that are now entitled to the next Mars Bar. Exercise wisdom says that we should be taking at least 14,000 steps a day and preferably more. Hunter gatherers walk between 15 and 18km per day which takes it around 24,000 steps depending on your stride.
Get up and move
For those of us stuck in a chair for most of the day we need to get up whenever we can. Both FItBit and Apple watches remind you to stand up every hour. It is good just walking around the desk for a couple of minutes. When I was in the NHS every hour I would walk down the corridor to the waiting room to eat the next patient. In lock down the screens rolls from on to another. So unless I actively do something I could be sat there for hours.
Different desk set ups
The alternative to the static low level desk is the rise and fall desk. By simply pressing a button the desk will rise to enable you to work standing up. All the time that you are working standing up the weight transfer from one foot to another as you maintain your balance burns calories and strengthens your core. The same effect comes from using a Pilates ball as a seat instead of a chair. While working at your computer and sitting on a ball your core and back muscles are exercised as the ball moves and you maintain your balance. The movements are small but the effects are great. I have to add the proviso of you need to check with your doctor if you have any underlying issues before climbing on the ball.
What to do next
As we come out of lockdown check your weight and decide what exercise, body movement, regime would work for you. Over all just get moving. Next is the diet. How have your eating habits changed over lockdown? Get rid of all the bad stuff and start to eat well along side your new body movement regime.
5:2 Diet and 800 calorie Diet
I have used both of these eating patterns at different times and I have seen lost of people and clients use them. When used along side a body movement programme they are amazingly effective. It is worth checking them both out.
Many people around the world will do a yearly or twice yearly detox. I have put the detox programme that I use up as a my resource of this weeks podcast. It is a 13 day exclusion detox. Each day you take out certain categories of food to get done to one day on fruit juice, one day on just honey water and lemon, then one day on fruit juice then a daily re-inclusion of food groups back up to your normal diet. Most people will lose between 5 and 6 pounds in detox. This type of exclusion detox is particularly useful when you wish to stop smoking or drinking etc.
I shall be doing 21 days of the 800 calorie diet in September and an annual detox in October. With that and and my body movement regime that includes walking, running and yoga. I will reclaim my beach body.
I cannot leave this blog without mentioning Mindfulness. The mindful ability to focus in to the present is so incredibly helpful when attempting any behaviour change, weight adjustment or exercise regime. Check out the mindfulness toolkit on the site.
I know that once I have finished I will go down one size from a 32 waist to a 30 waist. The next trick will be maintaining my resolve through Christmas and if we get really unlucky and go into a second lockdown.
Take care, stay fit and be happy.