Updated: Jul 26, 2020
Losing weight is something you might simply have discarded in this moment due to the COVID-19 quarantine. Because we’re spending so much time at home, we’re moving less, we’re bored and many are also experimenting more with cooking as a way to stay entertained and to entertain kids. Baking is at a record high and so is our blood sugar level! As defying as it might sound, though, we don’t have to be condemned to put on weight. We can take this time to learn some simple tricks to put ourselves on the right track and we could actually end up losing a bit of weight!
These are my 10 tips to start to lose weight during the quarantine:
1) Veggies first
Vegetables and greens are highly nutritious food with lots of essential vitamins and fiber. They fill you up, they do you good and they fight illness. Take the habit of filling at least half of your plate with steamed veggies or fresh greens first and add whatever you planned to eat after. This habit of crowding out the least nutritious of the foods in the plate is far more efficient than the depressing look of a tiny portion of lasagna. Your plate can still be full, only with better choices! Another way to add greens into your daily routine is to have 1 green smoothie a day. Download a free E-book so you can get inspired.
2) Stay hydrated
Drinking enough water is so important for efficient weight loss and to maintain good health. Many prefer to satiate their thirst with soda and juices and I get it, plain water can be pretty boring! The problem is, though, that those drinks have very low or no nutritional value and lots of sugar. They don’t stop the hunger and they actually trigger the brain to look for more food. Even natural, fresh fruit juices have this effect. This is because when the fiber is removed from the fruit we’re left with only vitamins and sugar. I know the high vitamin content (and clever marketing!) can be tempting and trick us into thinking we’re drinking something that is good for us, but that is, sadly, just not true. The good that could come from the vitamins is greatly outweighed by the unnatural amount of sugar we’re ingesting. A glass of freshly squeezed apple juice can contain as much as 7 teaspoons of sugar! This doesn’t only make you gain weight, but also gives you more risk to get type 2 diabetes and many other illnesses. So a good substitute can be carbonated or still water with some flavours. You can add fresh mint leaves, lemon slices, cucumber slices, a cinnamon stick and orange peel, fresh ginger. There’re so many possibilities! You can get totally creative with that! And if you really need to add some sweetness you can try to add a couple drops of stevia, but do not add artificial sweeteners as they have so many other health risks, it’s just not worth it.
3) Find your whole food substitute to tune up your favorite comfort foods
You don’t have to give up your all time favorites forever to lose weight and stay healthy. You can learn to gradually tune up your recipes by substituting one ingredient with one that is better for you. Whole foods are those that come from nature already complete and that haven’t been through any process. They’re basically all fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds and whole grains. The deal with these foods is that the more you eat them the more your body wants them, but sometimes we are just too used to processed foods to just go cold turkey. You need to switch gradually and substitute one ingredient at the time. If you’re in need of some inspiration, here’s the link to my delicious Mango Ice cream, and my Cauliflower Crust Pizza
4) Avoid multitasking while eating
This may sound like little bit of a utopia in our fast world where we are always connected and doing more than one thing at the time, but connecting mindfully with the action of eating is essential to lose and then keep a healthy weight. So when we’re eating, try to just do that; without tv, without phones and without working on your laptop. Take the time to chew slowly and actually savour your food, appreciate the textures and the flavours. This way it will also be easier to stay connected to your own stomach and realize when you start to feel full. You can even pause every few bites and ask yourself “is this enough food?”. If you choose to do that, please remind yourself not to be judgemental if the answer is “no”. This is not a self-bashing exercise. On the contrary, it’s a self-love exercise, to learn to connect with your real needs.
5) Have a routine in place
Keeping normal routines is quite a hard thing to do during the quarantine. We’re suddenly asked to self-regulate and we only now realize how hard it can be. Though I believe that staying open and flexible is always a good idea in life, some structure is helpful to keep yourself focused and your body in balance. Your body (and your mind) will greatly appreciate if it can expect things like food, exercise and rest to happen always more or less at the same time. This is because we have an innate rhythm that follows the natural flow of day and night and gives us the ability to regulate the release of hormones as a consequence. From this point of view it is helpful to wake up and have a nutritious breakfast before 9am, have a good lunch before 2pm and small dinner ideally before 7pm. This schedule might look too radical and difficult to follow for some, and if that’s your case don’t worry. Just write down a schedule that is more realistic and easily achievable for you.
6) Schedule a daily physical activity that you like
Exercise is not only about losing weight and keeping fit. As a species we have evolved over 2 million years barely sitting down at any time, this means we’re designed to move.. a lot! Low-medium intensity regular exercise is associated with a longer life, less chronic diseases, lower stress level and better mental health. You don’t need to train to win the olympics, you just need to find the movement that you love and do it. In her book “The Joy of Movement”, Kelly McGonigal Phd says that if you don’t like movement is just because you haven’t found YOUR movement yet. She continues to say that when you finally find it, it will bring you incredible joy. So, if you haven’t found yours yet, just use this time to experiment.. you might not be able to row, or climb, but you can definitely have a go trying a lot of online classes and most of them for free on YouTube. Just schedule the time in your agenda and begin!
7) Schedule a self-care routine or a “spa-day” at least once a week
This might sound self-indulgent, maybe even selfish and definitely not a priority, especially if you are spending the quarantine with kids. But this cannot be further from reality. When you have a self-care routine in place you’re declaring to yourself that you matter, that you’re worth it and that you deserve it. This is the basis you have to start with if you want to change your body and feel good in your own skin. If you don’t think you are worth it, if you don’t send that message to your brain constantly, it will be difficult to lose weight and get healthy. Those goals are all about self love.
Finding which type of self care suits you best and regularly practicing it is one of the most helpful tools for improving mood and reducing anxiety. My choice is dipping into a hot bath and adding CBD bath bomb infused with essential oil , or magnesium flakes. Drop one into your bath and get ready to have an amazing and relaxing bathing experience. The important thing here is that you schedule it and let everyone know in advance, so there’s no space for misinterpretations.
8) Get quality sleep
This is so important as having a restful sleep enables you to have more clarity of mind to reach your goals, more motivation and more energy to keep up with your daily routines. So it is a good idea to polish your bed routine to make it as efficient as possible. Wake up and go to bed always around the same time. As I mentioned at point 5) we have a natural rhythm: the closest we are to that rhythm, the better we function and the easier life gets. Ideally go to sleep before 11pm and get up before 7-7:30am. If this is far away from your reality, work your way there by going to bed 10min earlier every day. Turn your wifi off and make sure you have no electronics in your bedroom before going to sleep. EMFs (electromagnetic fields) seem to have a great influence on the brain activity during sleep. For the same reason, stay away form your electronic devices from 1h before going to sleep. If with all of this you still can’t seem to get a good night sleep, you can try some essential oil blends or CBD oil to help you.
9) Lower your stress levels
Stress and anxiety are directly related to overweight and obesity. Less stress translates directly into less or no incontrollable food cravings and eating. It also translates in having more energy and mental peace to gradually move into a healthier lifestyle. This means that before even starting to think of changing your plate, you have to change your mind and make it calmer. Some relaxation techniques are really effective for this and you don’t need any extra time to do them, as you can practice for a few seconds here and there while waiting for your kettle to boil or while waiting in line at the supermarket. Here you can find a technique that I use and recommend to my clients. The simple Cortices Technique is one of the core techniques of the BodyTalk System . It is a powerful method for reducing stress and supporting general health in the body and mind.
10) Change your mindset
All durable changes in life have to start with a shift in the mind. If you try to make external changes without looking at your own mind patterns, you’ll end up just struggling and swimming against the current as you try to go against your own idea of who you are. If you were raised to believe you are not good enough, or that you can’t lose weight because all your family is overweight and it’s genetic, or to give food an emotional value instead of a nutritional one, then trying to change the food you eat without addressing these patterns first is a waste of time. There are many ways and techniques out there to change your mindset, a few are really great. In my practice I use mainly two mind re-programming techniques that help to substitute the negative thoughts and mind chatter that sabotage your efforts, with more positive ones. These techniques are natural, free from secondary effects and very fast. You can find more info about them here and here.
“Changing lifestyle for real starts from your mind and your heart, when these are in balance the rest comes easily.”
I know that all of these points might look like a massive work to do and that you might feel a bit discouraged at this point. But let me tell you that if you only do sacrifices without a deep mind shift you might lose some pounds, but you will also feel deprived and very possibly bounce back almost immediately at the first emotionally challenging time life will give you. This will only make you feel terrible about yourself and would have done nothing for your long term weight goal. After more than 20 years of experience as a nutritionist and by helping hundreds of people to lose weight I understood that it is less of a matter of dieting and much more a matter of changing your internal life. Changing lifestyle for real starts from your mind and your heart, when these are in balance the rest comes easily. It is a Body-Mind connection.
Everyone’s situation is different and the more you can understand about yourself, the more chances you have to make the right changes for YOU, which directly translates in higher chances of success when it comes to weight loss. That’s why until May 8th I’m giving away 10 one to one free consultations of 30 min. Wherever you are in the world. During this consultation I will help you to understand which is the best path for you to take to make a successful plan to achieve your weight goals and becoming the best version of yourself in the process. To apply please fill in this form and let me know why you would like to have this free consultation with me. I will select the 10 best answers. If there are no more spots available you can still fill the form in. This is in case some winner is unable to get their consultation for some reason and I need to pick someone else. You can also sign up for my newsletter, by clicking here and receive incredible tips, advices, recipes and special offers directly in your inbox. I hate spams too, so don’t worry, you’ll only get 1 or 2 emails per month.
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