The long winter months have many people wondering if there are easy ways to lose their extra COVID weight by summer without an extreme calorie-restrictive fad diet. Weight loss looms large on the minds of many once summer looms and thoughts turn towards getting in a bathing suit.
There is no need to enroll in Fat Camp, live off a diet of fat-free smoothies and veggies, or go on a diet that requires you to count every calorie or skip meals. It's possible to lose weight by summer (and keep losing) with some meal planning and small steps towards fitness and better health.
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, people's workout, diet and eating habits, and meal plans have drastically changed. According to a new JAMA study, the average person gained more than half a pound every day during the shelter-in-place orders. Many people's eating habits changed, and they turned to high-calorie junk food and skimped on veggies. This is not a great combination for weight loss. As we prepare to bring life back to normal, it's important to shed off these unwanted pounds. With a few changes, you should be able to get healthy, start eating healthier meals, set some fitness goals, and see some real weight loss by summer.
Once you develop good habits, you should be able to sustain a healthy lifestyle, a healthy weight, and have a sustainable diet in the long term. You'll also lower your blood pressure, cholesterol level, and risk of heart disease. Even taking some small steps to change your habits and diet can result in a higher fitness level that will keep you looking and feeling your best through summer and beyond - without having to work out for hours and do push-ups to lose weight. Even short-term changes can pay off big!
Paul Jenkins, Nutrition Expert and Founder of DNA Lean, has put together his Top 5 weight loss tips for Burning Off the Pandemic 15 and getting rid of those unwanted pounds with small changes that involve diet, a workout plan, and other steps towards a healthy lifestyle. Read on for these, plus three bonus tips, to boost your metabolism and help you feel better for summer.
Lockdown has proven to be stressful for many of us. Unfortunately, stress hormones can result in an increase in fat storage and more belly fat. This is true even if you are not eating a lot of extra calories or snacking incessantly. Hormones such as cortisol increase blood glucose increase with stress, which stimulates insulin release. Insulin is linked to fat accumulation, which makes weight loss difficult. Performing a 15–20-minute meditation first thing in the morning is proven to reduce stress and stress-related hormones. Reducing stress is a great way to jump-start your weight loss apart from calorie counting.
Burning fat requires a substantial amount of oxygen. In fact, if you exercise to the point where you are panting, fat oxidation cannot occur because the body lacks the necessary oxygen. This, in turn, makes it difficult to lose weight. Performing 3 sessions per week of deep yoga breathing can increase your habitual breathing volume. Deep breathing helps oxygenate the body. It also provides the necessary oxygen to help burn fat. This is an easy way to help lose unwanted weight even if you continue to eat calorie-dense foods.
To help stimulate weight loss, get a full 8 hours of sleep. Getting enough sleep can burn between 400-700 calories. Intense exercise burns glucose and requires a ton of oxygen. On the other hand, sleeping is an ideal way for the body to burn excess body fat. Although summer often means lots of late nights, prioritizing getting enough sleep can help combat weight gain. Research indicates that insufficient sleep can stimulate cravings that increase mindless snacking.
It is important to remember that diet, and reducing calories is not the only factor in losing weight and staying healthy and fit. Plan on getting enough sleep as part of your weight loss plan. There could not be an easier way to promote weight loss and get rid of fat one calorie at a time than by sleeping!
Various strong lines of evidence demonstrate that protein is linked to satiety. This helps you feel full and prevents over-eating. Replacing some of your carbohydrate intake with protein can also help reduce insulin – a fat-storage hormone. When you do eat carbohydrates, focus on nutrient-rich options, like whole grains.
Resistance and strength training increases oxidative capacity. That means the body is better able to burn fat. Furthermore, skeletal muscles are the furnace that burns fat off. Weight lifting can add a few extra pounds of muscle, but this increases fat-burning capacity. To reduce your overall body weight, you don't need to invest in a lot of expensive equipment. Using milk jugs or paint cans at home can help you slim down in time for summer. Sit-ups and push-ups can also be a part of your fitness routine without having to buy any special equipment for your weight-loss journey. Plan a sensible workout schedule that is reasonable for you as part of your personal weight-loss journey. You don't need a personal trainer to learn how to exercise or engage in physical activity that gets results.
Plenty of summer foods like cherry tomatoes with their high water content, bell peppers, sweet potato, red onion, and grilled chicken breast with olive oil or lemon juice are rich in macronutrients and can help your weight loss journey. Enjoy them with other nutrient-dense foods like legumes and fresh kale from your garden. They also help keep delicious meals low calorie. Smoothies with summer fruits are a great treat that is low-fat and nutrient-dense. Cold smoothies are also a great way to satisfy your summer sweet tooth while staying healthy. They can also be a filling meal for breakfast that will allow you to indulge in something with an extra calorie or two later in the day.
It's okay to let yourself indulge in a high-calorie summer treat like ice cream or reduced-calorie sorbet once in a while! Weight loss is not all about deprivation. Having a cheat treat once in a while will help you stay on track the rest of the week. Having one (or two) of your favorites with many calories can be a reward for sticking with a weight-conscious diet the rest of the week. You can lose weight without completely depriving yourself. The key to weight loss is having a sustainable plan without giving up all of your favorites. Just don't overdo it with a high-calorie dessert with every meal to ensure you lose weight.
Always make sure you pay attention to your hunger cues and don't overeat. This is important even if you are not tracking every calorie. Where possible, make smart choices like choosing low-fat, sugar-free, or plant-based options. Look for alternatives to high-calorie, unhealthy junk foods you may be eating. Green tea with a touch of honey makes a summer treat hot or iced. Summer fruits can easily satisfy a craving for sweets. Chose whole grains over high-calorie white bread and pasta. When things get boring, look for more interesting ways to eat better and continue your weight loss. Stir fry and spiralized veggies can mix things up in the summer months without adding calories.
Work on your weight loss and exercise plan now to create a solid summer weight loss plan! You don't need to drop everything and try a fad diet or spend hundreds of dollars with a nutritionist or dietitian. These simple fitness and eating habits will put you on track to a healthy summer.
You won't have to lose even one minute of summer fun as you work towards your weight loss goals. Before you know it, you will be one of the success stories!