Social Isolation and Weight Management

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Even as a Dietitian and Nutrition Analyst, I always take great care when I talk to people about their weight and it’s management. Why? Quite simple. We live in a day and age where your words no matter how sincere they may be, can be misconstrued as “body shaming.”

The thing however is, the truth is the truth, whether you choose to accept it or not. There are damaging risks associated with being overweight and obese – type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes and certain types of cancer. These are just a few. Don’t get me wrong though. It is great to be confident in your body but there’s a thin line between having confidence in the kind of body you have and laziness to act in order to get healthy. 

Speaking from experiences I’ve had as one who has been in the business of weight management, the weight loss journey is not easy. But as Tom Hanks said “It’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it.” Hence, that is where the motivation for an extra push comes in.

At the turn of the year, we all (maybe not everybody) had plans of what we wanted to make out of 2020 but coronavirus had other ideas. So we have now found ourselves saving the world from disaster by just sitting in our homes. Superhero stuff!

The real Superheroes however are the health workers risking their lives at the forefront of the battle everyday. So it’s important you do your bit by staying home to save their lives.

The inevitable truth is that many of you will put on some pounds by the time you emerge from this social isolation. This will come as no surprise because you must have stocked your homes full with snacks and comfort foods, engaged in little or no physical activity and/or indulged in mindless eating. The reason is simple. When you’re probably bored and stressed especially when confined within a space, you almost always fall on a lazy pattern and seek relief by the ways stated above.

I have some tips to help you keep on yourself on track during this social isolation:

 

Create a daily plan

Just like you had a routine everyday before the pandemic – the time you get off bed, the time you have your meals, etc, you should also have a routine while at home.

Structure your meal times and limit mindless snacking. It is important to be particular about what you eat this period. Take advantage of the fact that you have time on your hands now. Prepare and eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals – take more fruits and vegetables.

 

Eat moderately

Eating moderately doesn’t necessarily mean eliminating the foods you love. This simply means eating just enough food that your body needs. There’s a simple trick to do this – eat mindfully. Maintain awareness of the food and drink you put into your body, and thus savoring each taste, satisfaction, and fullness. This will aid prevent overeating. Ditching your gadgets while eating or avoid eating in front of a TV helps a lot with mindful eating.

 

Control your eating portions 

I tell my clients to always serve their meals on smaller plates than they’d usually use. This is important because that way you can trick your brain into thinking it has had all the food it needs. However, if you still feel the urge to go for another portion at the end of a meal, I’d advise you add more leafy vegetables or round off the meal with fruits.

 

Avoid emotional eating

As said earlier, this social isolation period can make you bored or stressed which can cause you to indulge in mindless snacking to seek relief. However by learning healthier ways to manage these emotions, you can regain control over your eating pattern.

 

Drink water 

As simple as that sounds, people still find it tasking. An adult is supposed to take at least 2.5 liters of water per day. To put that in perspective, that is 5 “pure water” sachets a day. Is that difficult? I don’t think so. Sometimes you could confuse thirst for hunger. It is thus important you stay hydrated thereby making you make healthier food choices.

 

Exercise

Set out a time for exercises. Exercises could range from aerobics or taking online exercise classes to taking a walk or even dancing. Yes! You read that right. Dancing! The idea is for you to move, get up and move!


Keep active and live healthy in this period so your post-pandemic self will be proud.

 

What are you doing to keep fit during this isolation? Please share in the comment section below:

Obinna is a Registered Dietitian and content creator. A graduate of Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Nigeria. He is also interested in tech and writing.

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