6 easy ways to start shifting those ‘corona kilos’

If you visited the fridge a little too frequently during the coronavirus lockdown, you’re not alone. Here’s how to start getting back to your usual weight.

First there was the encouragement to buy food in bulk. Then the disruption to our regular routines compounded by the anxiety of being forced to stay at home.

So is it any wonder many of us reached for comfort food or the closest bottle amid the coronavirus pandemic? Or that our jeans might be feeling that wee bit tighter?

Not at all, says psychologist Dominique Mulhane.

“We’ve got all this food available in our house, we’re at home all day – we might just be feeling bored, or a bit stressed or anxious,” she says. “Sometimes we start to eat to help manage how we’re feeling.”

So, how to stop comfort eating and feel healthier post-lockdown?

Get a good routine

“Structure and routine is really great, that helps us put in all those other healthy habits around it. So whether that’s moving your body – getting some exercise, drinking enough water, eating regular meals and eating enough so you’re body is satisfied,” says Dominique.

She suggests starting with a good morning routine.

Stop scrolling social media and instead get up, have a glass of water or something to eat, or do some exercise.

“Once you’re up, it gives you some momentum to continue with the rest of your day,” she says.

Find other ways to manage your emotions

Dominique says using food or alcohol to feel better usually only has a short-term effect. Sometimes we wind up feeling worse.

She recommends other strategies, such as connecting with friends and family, or doing a hobby or activity you enjoy.

“We just don’t want food to be the only way we’re managing our feelings,” she says.

Avoid mindless snacking

Endless snacking throughout the day – a few biscuits here, some chocolate there – is a common way to gain unwelcome kilos, says dietitian Milly Smith, of Dietitians Australia.

She suggests simple swaps, such as vegetables or wholegrains rather than chocolate, or a whole piece of fruit rather than fruit juice.

Ditch the extreme diets

“It’s very, very easy to get caught up in fad diets – particularly if we’re looking for that sort of magic bullet,” says Milly.

Instead, eating a range of the core food groups is always the best bet.

“If we want to make long-term sustainable changes we need to develop those healthy habits and make them things we can do for the rest of our life,” she says.

Get moving

Cardio workouts are key to weight loss, but don’t try to go from zero to hero, says fitness coach Leila Sithole.

And she says you should only aim to lose half a kilogram to one kilo each week.

“If you’re going to start moving, you do a minute walk, then a minute jog. You don’t just get off the couch and start running,” says Leila.

Limit the booze

Sithole says alcohol is a huge part of weight gain, so moderation is key.

“Having a glass or two on the weekend is perfectly healthy and fine, maybe even a second evening depending where your weight is at,” she says. “But we’re not designed to drink six or seven days a week.”

Written by Larissa Ham.