How to keep a grip on your weight during lockdown

Totally on trend for this moment in time, well-known Illovo-based dietician Lila Bruk shares some great tips to get a grip on managing your weight as we’re huddled at home with nowhere to go.

3 tips to managing your weight in lockdown

By Lila Bruk, Registered Dietitian

The thought of 21 days stuck at home with a plethora of stockpiled chips and chocolates, has left most South Africans fearing for their waistline. Here are some tips to keep your weight under control during the next few weeks:

Tip #1: Keep a food diary

Improving your awareness of your hunger levels is important during lockdown to prevent those extra snacks. The best way to do this is with a food diary or food journal, which will make you much more accountable, mindful and aware you are of your food choices. You can use a small notebook to do this in, or alternatively a food diary app. You can put in as much or as little details as you want, but as long as you record your day’s eating you will notice the benefit.

Tip #2: Exercising at home

Here are some ideas to stay active while house-bound:

  1. Download an exercise app. There are many available and many are offering specials off their subscriptions at the moment.
  2. YouTube has thousands of workout video options to suit virtually every need.
  3. Use what you have. If you have a skipping rope, exercise band, dumbbells or an exercise ball at home, then you definitely have many options to work with. If you don’t have any home equipment, there are still many bodyweight exercises you can do (e.g. squats, lunges, push-ups, etc). You can also use filled water bottles as weights. If you have stairs at home, you can run up and down them, etc.
  4. Exercise with your kids. Kick a ball outside, jump on the trampoline if you have one, swim, play a game of “tag”. All these kinds of activities will keep the whole family active.
  5. Schedule your exercise into your day. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to exercise, so that you have allocated time to doing it. Alternatively, exercise first thing in the morning so that you can start the day on a positive note.
  6. Do a virtual exercise session. There are several trainers that are offering online sessions at the moment.
  7. Keep it social (from a distance). Arrange a time with friends to do a certain online workout session together in your own respective homes.

Other than the benefits of keeping fit and healthy, exercise is also important for mental health as it is an excellent stress reliever, so should help to keep you feeling saner over the next few weeks!

Tip #3: Plan ahead

To prevent extra nibbles from creeping in, it is very beneficial to try as much as possible to plan your day’s eating ahead of time. Try taking a few minutes in the morning to think about the day’s meals. Aim to space your meals and snacks 2.5 to 4 hours apart (e.g. breakfast at 7am, snack at 9:30am, lunch at 1pm, snack at 4pm, dinner at 7pm). If you find that you are hungry earlier than 2.5 hours after your last meal, then most likely you are eating for emotional reasons (e.g. boredom). If you go longer than 4 hours you will probably get too hungry and then struggle to keep your eating under control. That’s why that 2.5 to 4-hour gap is the ideal meal spacing “sweet spot”. You will find that by keeping your meals to this spacing, it will make you much more conscious of your hunger levels and will make you feel much more empowered to manage your eating during this time.

Wishing you well over the next few weeks! Stay safe (and sane)!

Lila Bruk




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