Unfortunately, with the current pandemic, people have been so focused (and rightly so) on staying at home and saving lives, that they have put their own health on the back burner. Staying home, moving less and having to rely on screens for contact with the rest of the world has created a multitude of challenges for both our mental and physical health. People have gained weight, they have a lower productivity rate, and are now at a higher risk for developing other diseases than ever before. Whilst, all of these things are understandable during this unprecedented time, we want to help you remain healthy in lockdown. We want to look at the reason why this is happening and five simple changes you can implement to live in a craving free body.
Why are we gaining weight, why is our productivity struggling, and why is our health at risk?
To put it simply, the majority of us are eating too much of the wrong type of food, not enough of the right types and we are not sufficiently physically active.
Unfortunately, we are the victims of the industrialisation and automation of our food and lifestyle. Many of us are consumed by intense cravings for processed foods which are mostly made from sugar and salt. With these foods so readily available it’s easy to be led astray. However, by simply making a few adjustments to your overall diet and exercise patterns to keep your blood sugar on an even keel, you can become more resistant to cravings and less likely to snack or binge on the wrong types of food. Let’s jump into it.
Step 1: Start the Day with a Healthy Breakfast
This is regarded as the most important meal and sets the tone for the rest of day. If you take in healthy food, the proteins in that food help repair body tissue, the healthy carbohydrates give you energy, traces of fat play biochemical roles inside your cells and vitamins and minerals turn on the metabolic processes that allow you to think, move and carry out the activities of the day. Whatever time you chose to break your fast, remember you are not just providing nutrition to keep your body running strong but also to keep your brain sharp.
Step 2: Choose Foods That Hold Your Blood Sugar Steady
A steady blood sugar helps you to avoid falling prey to impulse eating and help keeps your hunger in check. You want to make sure you are eating to satiety, there is a misconception when you are beginning a new healthy eating strategy that you should feel hungry. You shouldn’t, we want to make sure that you are eating enough at meals so that you can keep hunger at bay in the hours that follow. Also, make sure that you are eating high fibre foods. A 2003 study on Dietary Fibre and Weight Regulation found you can cut your calorie intake by a full 10 per cent just by adding an extra 14 grams of fibre each day to your diet. The reason being fibre fills you up. Choosing low- GI foods like legumes, green leafy vegetables, nearly all fruits (apart from pineapple and watermelon are exceptions with a somewhat higher GI value) as these can protect you against a tendency towards snacking later in the day.
Step 3: Boost Appetite-Taming Leptin
Leptin is your body’s appetite taming hormone. Its job is to regulate the strength of your appetite and the speed at which your body burns calories. Low fats foods like unprocessed oatmeal, grapefruit, hot peppers, lean proteins, fish, low-fat yoghurt, green tea, broccoli can increase the amount of leptin in your blood and boost its ability to work. You should combine these foods with an exercise routine that works for you, as a recent Harvard study found that men who exercised dramatically increased leptin sensitivity which is important when trying to lose weight as obese or overweight people tend to suffer from leptin resistance.
Step 4: Exercise
To get the real benefits of exercise, it has to become a regular part of your life. Exercise does not just burn calories, it resists your appetite, your mood, your sleep cycle and even your ability to handle sugars. If exercise machines seem like torture, try and find a fun activity. At Everyday Athlete Gym we have a great community of people who support and encourage each other while they exercise. We believe that this type of environment can help distract people from whatever complaints or grumbles their body may have to train. Whilst it can be difficult to find a community that encourages you during lockdown, our online training program gives you access to an application where you can high five and cheer on your training partners and access to our members private Facebook Group so you can share your highs and lows. You can learn more here.
STEP 5: Rest
Adequate rest and sleep are equally, if not more important than nutrition and exercise when it comes to improving your health and body composition. Good sleep helps our bodies and minds recover, keeping us lean, happy, mentally focused, and healthy. But chronically bad sleep can mess up our hormones, age us faster, increases chronic illnesses, and drain our IQ and so much more. If you struggle with sleep it could be worthwhile to look into some foods and supplements that can help. ZMA’s are a nutritional supplement that has been shown to improve sleep quality, improve blood sugar control, and can improve your mood overall. Like with any new supplement, it's always best to check with your doctor to see if its safe for you to add this into your diet
During this time motivation can be hard to come by, so don’t try and overhaul your lifestyle right away. Make small changes and keep going, you can do this. By incorporating the above you can begin working towards a craving free body, or rather a body and mindset that craves the right things. We want to support you as you build a lifestyle that looks forward to a healthy breakfast, lean protein and high fibre fruit and veggies, a body that can’t wait for its next workout, and a body that looks forward to a restful night sleep. If you are looking to join a community that can support you as you make these changes then consider becoming a member of the EDA Virtual Training Community.