“Now is the time to make the most out of this situation by learning new recipes and skills for weight management”
It’s frightening how our daily routine has turned upside down with the arrival of COVID-19. While this may pose some benefits (spending more time with family, getting a longer rest at night, finally setting up that Skype account to call our relatives), the lack of routine is disastrous in weight management.
We all have a role in stopping the spread of COVID-19. It is also our responsibility to do our genuine best during this difficult time to stop ourselves from spreading. Maintaining a proper meal routine and good habits is paramount. It’s easy to see how the next weeks or months can lead into a deeper crisis in our health care system unless we do now what people still quote me on from saying in Operation Transformation – cop on!
Slippery sliding into bad habits can start already right from the morning – and often continue as a downward spiral. Breaking the fast (aka breakfast) may start slipping more into mid-morning. While physically you may be fine, mentally you’re immediately out of routine. The devil’s whispering of ‘go on, you didn’t have breakfast yet’ from your shoulder tweaks the brain into choosing something less healthy and quick (after all, you’re busy working and juggling homeschooling). Pastry and cappuccino, toast with jam and tea, kids Coco pops- all seem more appealing to your usual porridge or eggs.
Perhaps you used to pick up a healthy salad for your lunch, or prepared a hearty soup at home and threw in some crackers & cheese in the lunchbox. You had to get dressed and showered to look professional, and felt a whole lot smarter than now, wearing dangerously stretchy PJ’s still at lunchtime. Making a tasty healthy salad at home requires a skill and effort you may not have, and it’s easier and more appealing to make a toasted sandwich. After all, nobody’s watching.
After this, the infamous afternoon slump hits you harder than before. Although you had more hours in the bed, you probably stayed up later, watching TV with its sleep destroying blue light, sipping on a glass of wine (or second, or third, since you had some already while making dinner). It’s only 4pm, so still plenty to get through, and a chocolate bar with a diet cola seems like the best idea.
Before you know it, it’s time for dinner. You’ve perhaps religiously followed the ‘stay home’ advice. Shopping for groceries seems almost life threatening these days, you can’t stay on top of shopping hour restrictions, you can’t get a home delivery in time or you’re worried about how far you can travel for groceries. Fresh food doesn’t last that well for sure, and since you’ve had a hard day trying to juggle working from home with family and spouse, it’s just easier to order a pizza (with all the trimmings). Kids won’t give out, no need to shop, chop and prepare. Everybody is happy- for now. No dishes to fight over and you can slump into the sofa for Netflix heaven.
Time to snack is not limited anymore – in the pre-COVID-19 times, you may only have access to food at designated breaks. Now, your kitchen is the new office, with kids who are constantly looking for food. There’s a constant battle to avoid opening the fridge or cupboard doors in search of a treat. Isn’t it a pandemic after all- everyone is looking for comfort. Constant snacking and eating starts creating a habit that you will regret for months after things return to normal.
And they will. Perhaps not exactly as they were, but you will once again be allowed to move freely and socialise. But will you be the unfortunate one who self consciously enters back to the normal social circles with several new pounds (perhaps accompanied with ones that were already there), or are you going to be like the butterfly, who goes through a beautiful transformation?