Weight loss in the midst of Covid-19 and late winter - Slim & Save
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Posted on 23 Feb 2021 Views 1483 Comments 12

Coping with weight loss in the midst of Covid-19 and late winter

Any weight loss journey is hard work, requiring willpower, determination, courage and support. But the fact that we’re in the winter season and in the middle of a global pandemic adds a different dimension and a set of additional challenges. This article aims to explore the additional challenges these factors present us with, and give you some tips on how to overcome them.

Exploring the challenges

Spelling out the challenges can be a helpful way of enabling you to understand why you’re having difficulty staying focused. You might identify with some, or all of these.

  • Having to stay at home - at the moment we’re all still in the midst of a national lockdown, with so much uncertainty on when we’ll be able to get out and about again. The government’s ‘stay at home message’ means we are all doing less outside, doing less steps, and probably doing less exercise (or having to be far more intentional with exercise). The cold weather can also prevent us from having the willpower or motivation to get out for a daily walk. In addition to this, because we’re home more (and maybe working from home), we are potentially snacking more (or being tempted to eat foods that should be avoided).
  • Not being able to see family and friends – When we’re dieting, our family and friends are our key supporters. When their ‘presence’ is not there to help us, this can be really challenging. Not seeing people is also having a major impact on our mental health
  • Stress and anxiety – stress during this challenging season can be caused by many things – for example, having to manage home schooling with working from home, the relationship stresses of all being home together (all the time!), worry about finances, job security and furlough.
  • Winter blues – we’re also at the end of winter, and the cold weather is known to cause some of us to really suffer with the ‘winter blues’. Whilst spring is just around the corner, it still feels so far away, especially with all the other challenges we’re faced with due to Covid.

Tips for overcoming

We hope the following tips will be helpful for you in terms of spurring you to on to keeping moving forward in your weight loss journey.

  • Plan your course of action - acknowledge the challenges you are personally facing and decide on a plan to implement them. If you’re really struggling with exercise, for example, why not set yourself a daily step challenge? If you’re missing friends, why not schedule in a few extra walks with your mates?
  • Finding other ways to connect with friends and family – we all know that seeing people online is no substitute that seeing people in person, but it can still really help us feel connected. Why not plan something fun like a games tonight or quiz, rather than just meeting for your usual chat. Laughter is such a great tonic!
  • Getting support from the Slim & Save community – since you may not be able to get as much support from family and friends due to lockdown, try connecting with others on a similar weight loss journey to yourself, by chatting on the forums / Facebook page etc. This is a great way to realise that you’re not alone, and others are experiencing very similar challenges
  • Be kind to yourself – looking after your mental health is so important at the moment. Take it slowly and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t meet your targets or if you mess up your eating one day. The next day is a new day and the perfect time to get back on track.
  • Practice mindfulness - Mindfulness is all about encouraging yourself to live in the moment, becoming more aware of what you’re eating and taking a pause between your triggers (or feelings) and actions. It involves asking questions like “Am I really hungry?”, “Am I feeling full?”, rather than simply thinking you’re hungry and grabbing a snack. A good time to try out mindfulness is in the evenings, when you’re sat down with Netflix on the sofa. Often in the evening, we confuse feelings of boredom with hunger, so asking yourself if you’re really hungry is a great start.
  • Find other ways to get your ‘endorphin high’ – endorphins are chemicals naturally produced by the body to relieve stress and pain. We all know that eating certain foods (like sugary foods) can give us an ‘endorphin high’ – but whilst you’re not able to ‘treat yourself’ in terms of your favourite foods, there are lots of other ways to get this high, such as:
    • Regular exercise -
    • Exercise is one of the best ways to help reduce stress and anxiety, and lift the mood. Whilst it can be a challenge to get outside during the winter, there are also lots of ways to get fit into your house too (for example an online HIIT or aerobics workout, running up and down the stairs during ad breaks). Start slow, and aim to build up to 30 minutes of ‘huff and puff’ exercise at least five times a week.
    • Giving – Giving of your time (e.g. volunteering), money (e.g. donating to a new cause) or food / clothes (e.g. to a food bank) also releases endorphins. You could even combine giving and exercise to do a run or walk (or other challenge) for a charitable cause
    • Laughing – make yourself laugh more can work wonders to lift the mood – for example watching comedy, or see friends online
    • Sex – if you’re in a relationship, sex is a great way to destress, relax and lift the mood!

Conclusion

Annemarie Aburrow RD BSc (Hons) PGDipWe hope this article has given you some ideas to help keep you motivated during this challenging season. We hope it has enabled you to consider whether you need to have a shift in your thought process – rather than focussing on the challenges and how hard they can be to overcome, consider how this could be re-worded as ‘exploring the opportunities’. Whilst we all have challenges facing us, we turn these challenges into opportunities to overcome. And you can feel really proud when you’ve achieved something, however big or small.

Written by Annemarie Aburrow RD BSc (Hons) PGDip, Slim & Save Dietitian.

How have you overcome the challenges of lockdown, lack of socialising and coping with winter whilst dieting this last few months? Leave your comments below to be in with a chance to win 20 individual sachets of your choice! 3 Winning comments will be chosen on Thursday 4th of March at 4 pm.

Comments on Coping with weight loss in the midst of Covid-19 and late winter
Becky Bloor 03/03/2021 11:42
Personally, I found this lockdown dieting a little easier. The first lockdown, I lost weight had some personal problems and ate my entire worries. This time, I knew that I would definitely not be repeating that.

I focus my dieting for the end of lockdown. I look to that date (end of June), and see how much weight I could possibly loose by then. I see how much confident I will be, while the sun is beaming, and happier that I'm much slimmer, and no longer sweating from a little walk. I aim for the end and know I can do this, the date is coming quicker and quicker. We will be allowed out, but no longer in the fat suit we acquired. We will be able to show off our hard work, our new bodies, to each and every person we know or walk by. We will walk into the lockdown free world, lighter, and healthier and not be as much in the risk category, for coronavirus as we were in the beginning. I focus on the future, of what can be, and that helps me cope with weightloss in the lockdown.
Caroline Hallett 27/02/2021 22:20
I have been making things for my daughters wedding at the end of August, that's also my motivation for being on the diet- and also the need to be pain free by then.

I am so pleased we are starting to come out of lockdown and weddings will be allowed again - its renewed my determination that I will look back on this time as a time of personal development and self care- despite how worrying and scary it has been.
Michelle Steaton 27/02/2021 12:54
Lockdown has been my salvation if im honest and ive enjoyed having my teenager at home so my days have not been so lonely as i work from home 90% of the time anyway.

Over the last 12 months I have proved to myself that taking the right action and believing in myself has made me be an achiever.

From a work prospective i persevered and pushed myself well out of my comfort zone and revelled in achieving the goals I set myself for 2020.

In August 2019 I invested in myself with a mentor/re-education and from all this mindset work I have finally connected the dots that to not carry on yo yo dieting for the rest of my life I need to make better food and alcohol choices.

So on another vlcd I played with losing and regaining the same 10lb from April to September. In October mortality clicked in my brain realising that I was 49 this year and that my husband passed away suddenly at 49. So I set my goal of 7st by his anniversary 17th May which is coincidentally when the world will start to turn abit more normally again and ive achieved just short of 5st to date.

With no social life I had no excuses and instead of making myself feel better being kind and looking after other people instead of myself I took the courage to look closely at myself - and it wasn't pretty!

My old vlcd was really hard work but i was managing to stick with it. I accidentally re found SnS through my friend when her husband sadly passed away with covid. She gifted me his unopened 6 week order as she knew I was doing a vlcd.

Joining the SnS fb group was life changing, it gives me accountability, its part of my distraction therapy, gives me plenty of food/motivation ideas, gives me the answers to many question and the admin team are just fab
Anna Elizabeth 26/02/2021 20:04
So often in the last (Covid dominated) year I have found myself annoyed at myself and frustrated, wondering why I had kept turning to food or overeating. I kept feeling that I must have lacking in self control or that I must be too lazy to help myself.

Having read this article I wish I had been able to recognise that this year all of our lives have been turned upside down causing a lot of uncertainty ...or allowed myself to consider that it might be normal to turn to unwanted coping mechanisms, instead all I felt was shame and disgust.

As we are now coming up to a new month I’m pledging to focus on self care, lots of great ideas are on here and I have downloaded a habit app recommended on the S&S fb page to see me through! I am going to do at least one suggestion from the ‘ Find other ways to get your ‘endorphin high’’ section per day! (I think my fiancé might thank you Annemarie! Haha)
Sandra Inglis 26/02/2021 16:25
I must admit I've found the opposite. I've found it easier to stay on track because the temptations of going out socially have been taken away.

I haven't seen a lot of my friends since last summer, before I started my diet, so not only am I looking forward to seeing them again, I'm looking forward to them being surprised by my weight loss.

I cant wait for the nicer weather to come in & to he able to wear nicer clothes & generally feel better about life
Kate Apperley 26/02/2021 15:37
The first lockdown had me in total panic, I had only just started a new job which was a new role so the worry of would they even need me after lockdown sent me straight to the fridge. Thankfully my work did need me and for a few months in the late summer I was back to work and trying hard but failing to lose the lockdown pounds. Lockdown 2 and I felt OK, it was only going to be a month and you could walk with a friend. But Christmas without seeing any family as they live the other end of the country was really hard. Some how we had still shopped for a full family visiting and some how we managed to eat it just the two of us. Lockdown 3 started and I was throughly miserable. My daughter had cancelled her wedding the second time so no motivation there, I had hurt my back so couldn't walk for several weeks. Then when the scales hit the highest ever a light bulb flicked on. I needed a diet plan that firmly put me on control. Not one that said have as much pasta as you like, not one that made me run out of calories by lunchtime. It also needed to be affordable- furlough effects the purse as well as mental health. So here i am at the beginning of my journey, but loving it so far. Boris giving guide line dates has given me goals to aim for, SNS has given me the tools to get there and the recent spring weather has lifted my mood too. I've a long journey ahead but for the first time in years I think I have got this!
Dervla McCaughley 26/02/2021 14:55
The first lockdown caused me to put on 2 stone as I was comfort eating to help me get through. It was a difficult time and my health suffered as a result of eating and drinking too much.
This time round I made the conscious decision not to follow the same negative pattern and decided that I woul use this opportunity to make positive changes. No social events to attend, no big celebrations to tempt me to come off plan, I was going to make this lockdown count. I have, I've lost the 2 stone I gained first lockdown and on my way to lose much more. This lockdown has actually been quite freeing for me and allowed me to focus on myself.
Taylea Gooding 26/02/2021 14:51
Lockdown has been very challenging on people's moods. Me and my husband always talk and share our worries, and point out to each other if we don't seem 100% ok. This has been the case even more so during lockdown. Having someone to talk to and vent with is so helpful. I really feel for people in lockdown on their own it must make it so much harder just having virtual contact.

The prohibited socialising has been replaced by calls, video chats, zoom quizzes and text message banter. All good fun, but not the same as in person.

I think diets are very social in regards to support groups but lockdown hasn't affected my Slim & Save journey because the online community is so much better than any diet group I've done in person before. Even dieting in the winter has been successful with the help of hot shakes, warm soups and spicy packs little chilli con carne - yum!

I absolutely love this diet and the image of being a lockdown butterfly is really keeping me going. For me there is no better time to focus on loosing weight - no socialising, no pubs, no restaurants, no nights out - zero temptation thanks to lockdown.

There is light at the end of the lockdown tunnel and I will come out of it a new slimmer me.
Keep thinking positive!
Emma Willcox 26/02/2021 14:07
Lockdown has been hard on my diet.. if I'm not at work, I'm at home, and when I am tired, stressed or bored.. I eat. I gained weight in the first lockdown and was pretty miserable. 2nd lockdown I embraced this diet, and honestly wish I had found it sooner. Even when I have been trapped in the house for 10 days with a positive covid test I have stuck to the diet!! My walking was reduced to the garden.. but usually I walk a lot. My family live half the island away, or another country entirely, so being alone has also made it hard. Am glad I have the diet to focus on as 2nd lock down I was out of work. When everything is just the same 4 walls, a lack of focus and target is awful
Christine 26/02/2021 13:26
I think this last year has been a challenge for everyone. I expect there will be a lot of mental health issues coming out of a lockdown and being expected to just ‘get back to normal’. It will take time to adjust and feel we all have to be kind to ourselves and each other. Like you say taking small steps to find things to help us adjust and feel better is the key. I have put on almost 2 stone just sitting at home eating and drinking. I have come back to S & S as it worked for me before. Spring is coming making it easier to get outside and exercise and feel better - sunshine is a huge motivator for me personally.
Time to encourage and motivate each other. We can do this

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