I am sure we have all heard of freshman 15. This is a term given to someone when they start college for the first time, they somehow gain a lot of weight. Now the numbers vary from person to person.It’s important to note that this specific amount of weight gain isn’t common to everyone. Some people gain more weight, some less, and some gain no extra weight at all or even lose pounds when they leave home for college for the first time. However, it’s a common enough experience that it has earned a nickname that has endured through several decades. Now that we have covid, my husband and I have this running joke of calling our weight gain covid 15. Because well, since being home a lot, there has been more eating than normal. Every time I go in for my check up I glare at the scale and say, don’t you dare embarrass me. lol. I am sure you can relate to this weight gain during the pandemic. But we can put an end to emotional eating and develop healthier lifestyles to keep the pounds off.
Here’s some simple tips
- Keep yourself organized– In my practice as an NP and health coach I help my patients and clients keep track with customized meal planning or they go on one of my programs. When you meal plan, you’re less likely to give into temptation and make random unhealthy food purchases that may have many hidden calories, oils, sugar and sodium found intake out foods.
- Make time for exercise- 24 hours can feel like not enough time to fit everything in. As a working mom of 4, business owner, and wife, it can be challenging to find time for myself. Iv’e learnt not to try to do everything in the house all the time. If you have older kids like me, delegate household chores and make sure when you make your schedule, you put in 20-30 minutes of exercise.You want to make sure you’re also moving through out your day. If you work from home or have an office job, then chances are you’re sitting at the desk for hours at a time. Make a conscientious effort to get up every half hr and walk. Walk on your lunch break, take the stairs instead of elevator etc. I tend to exercise better in the mornings while everyone is sleeping, which ,means I need to be in bed by a certain time to get enough rest to be able to wake up ready to start my day. Which brings me to my next tip.
- Prioritize sleep- So many of us sacrifice sleep for work, scrolling through our social media feed late into the night and even super early first thing in the morning, etc but sleep is one of the most important acts you can do for yourself. Your physical and mental health requires is to function and for a healthy immune system. Some people brag about being able to function off 3-4 hours a sleep a night, but it’s only a matter of time until your body crashes. You may feel ok doing this for awhile, even for years but your body isn’t invincible and immortal. Sleep is required for cell rejuvenation and for overall health and rest of bodily organs. Make sleep a priority. It should be non-negotiable.
- Don’t starve yourself/ Eat more frequently- Sometimes we will go the entire day and be so caught up with work and other things that we forget to eat, and by evening we are pigging out on everything before bed. Instead, try to eat small and frequently during the day. If you plan your meals well and eat at the same time everyday and even include two snacks, you will find you’re less hungry at dinner time, and may even be inclined to skip dinner or eat a very small and light meal at least 4-5 hours before bed. Going to bed with an empty stomach is key to a restful sleep and will keep the pounds off. Growing up in a Caribbean household and even for others, it is normal to have a large meal for dinner, when in reality it should the opposite. You should eat like a king for breakfast and a pauper for supper.
- Watch the liquor- Everyone likes a little glass of wine at times. Once in awhile is ok, but if you need to have it daily , then you may have another problem. . Keep in mind that alcohol tend to have a lot of calories, and can help you pack on the weight. Think of drinks as a treat and not a necessity. You should never need alcohol to relax or to sleep.
- Cheer yourself on- Everyday won’t be great, but don’t knock yourself down when you don’t live up to unrealistic expectations you may have of yourself and your goals and how you achieve them. Celebrate small victories. Speak positively to yourself. Remember good things take work. You’re a parent, you work and maintain other relationships. You won’t alway have it together. Some days will be awesome and some days you will feel like crawling under a rock. Just as long as you remember in the long run that small small change =big impact and the little efforts you make each day is what counts.
- Be flexible/ don’t look at the scale- Don’t check the scale daily, sometimes the scale isn’t a good indication of where you are. Remember as you work out, ,lose body fat and gain muscle the numbers may go up because muscle weighs more than fat. You may even lose a pound one day and gain two the next and sometimes we may hit a plateau, it’s just part of the process of weight loss.
Keep track of your progress- Keeping track gives you a visual of your goals, accomplishments and action plan. You will be better bale to keep track of measurements, mood, food diary when it’s all in one place . This will also help keep you accountable.
- Finally Try the 90% rule- If you hit 90% of your goals all the time, then the 10% will take care of itself. Sometimes we fail because we didn’t get to do everything that’s on our list. As long as you’re sticking to certain things and staying committed, eventually when those things become a habit, then you can focus on the 10%. Make sure to map out your wellness plan. Keep up to date with Dr’s visits, and routine test. Hire a health coach like me if you need help with starting a new lifestyle and most importantly, if you don’t make a plan, you won’t get anywhere. So PLAN! PLAN!PLAN!