How to win the battle of ISO bulge
Australians are in a battle with the "iso-bulge" as widespread stay-at-home orders and gym closures disrupt their exercise plans and eating routines.
And if we factor in the increased popularity of baking as a hobby and binge watching TV, it's inevitably leading to the number on the scales heading north and a too tight waistband on our favourite jeans.
A recent Heart Foundation study found almost two-thirds of us have changed our eating habits, and of these, one-third are eating "worse" in lockdown. Meanwhile, 37 per cent are eating to cheer ourselves up and relieve stress.
But there's inspiration to tap into via celebrities such as Adele, who is showing determination to eat healthily and stay fit during the pandemic. The award-winning singer revealed an estimated seven stone or 44kg weight loss transformation in an Instagram post to celebrate her 32nd birthday.
But Adele isn't the only star to have found the inspiration needed to make a lifestyle change, hit the gym, start eating sensibly and look sensational for it.
Other celebrities, including Rebel Wilson, Sam Smith and Chris Pratt, have previously managed to shock us all with a new, improved version of themselves.
When it comes to staying in shape, women outweigh the men.
About 55 per cent of females say that they haven't trimmed down, compared with 41 per cent of males.
It can be tempting to constantly snack while stuck at home, but people should try to resist, dietitian Melissa Meier said.
Ms Meier believes that having more time at home can be an opportunity to improve eating habits and lose the bulge, rather than the opposite. Her main tip is to eat more wholefoods and less packaged snacks.
"Fresh fruit or vegie sticks, paired with a healthy dip like hummus or tzatziki, is a really good choice for ramping up fibre intake," she said.
"Plain dairy products like milk and yoghurt are also good choices because they're high in hunger-busting protein and bone-strengthening calcium."
For something a little more substantial, Ms Meier recommends having a slice of wholegrain bread with natural peanut butter, a few wholegrain crackers with ricotta cheese or a cup of air-popped popcorn.
It can be difficult to stay motivated during difficult times, but doing so is important for keeping good physical health and fitness goals on track.
Many fitness professionals and organisations are offering free online fitness classes and apps to maintain physical and mental health in lockdown.
Director and co-founder of Flow Athletic Ben Lucas offers virtual classes and allows his clients to borrow gym equipment so they can use at home.
"We're doing it free of charge for our clients as we want them to enjoy the experience online," he said.
"If you cant find the weights you need, ask if your local gym will loan them to you."
As a trainer who coaches celebrities such as Sammy Robinson and Erin Holland, Mr Lucas encourages people who are staying home to get creative.
"Cans of food or washing powder are popular household items to use as weights," he said.
"If you're working from home, make sure to do a morning or afternoon workout, then consider a 20-minute lunchtime hit and maybe a walk.
"Exercise and walking are great for the mind and soul."
IMPROVE YOUR BODY
Make sure you work out: You don't need to train all the time, but 30-45 minutes a day is good, even if you are just walking at a brisk pace.
I recommend working out and resistance training though, as resistance training can help you burn fat for up to 38 hours after your workout.
Get good sleep: Sleep is so important for helping your muscles recover and get results.
Sleep is also important for your mind and your mood.
When we are tired, many of us reach for the sugary snacks for energy, which undoes all your hard work.
Be mindful of intense stress: Spikes in the stress hormone cortisol are fine now and then, when you are exercising for example, however, if your cortisol is high for a prolonged period of time you may find that you gain weight and struggle to keep it off.
It can also affect your sleep, which can affect your diet and energy levels, so you can see there is a flow-on affect. Take care of your health and your stress.
Incidental exercise: If you can walk over driving, do it. If you can take the stairs instead of the lift, that is also good. See where you are taking unnecessary shortcuts, which result in less activity and make those changes.
IMPROVE YOUR DIET
Forget about "all or nothing": Being healthy isn't about perfection, but building healthy habits that you can stick to for life. There is no place for restriction or deprivation in a healthy lifestyle.
Eat more plants: Here's a scary statistic - only 5 per cent of adults eat enough fruit and veg, which is a real worry, given that insufficient intake is one of the top 10 risk factors for death worldwide.
Now, I'm not saying that you need to go vegan or vegetarian, but simply focusing on fruit and veg, as well as legumes and wholegrains, will greatly benefit your health.
Ignore fad diets: They simply don't work. Sure, you might get a quick result, but fad diets are often nutritionally inadequate and can worsen your relationship with food as they spruik fear around certain nutrients and food groups.
Drink wisely: Alcohol is energy-dense and nutrient-poor, meaning it adds nothing to your diet but kilojoules - and a lot of them. Drinking alcohol is also linked to a raft of health conditions, so with good health (and a healthy waistline) in mind, it's best to keep your intake to a minimum.
Shift your mindset: Eating well and exercising isn't just about dropping a dress size. There are so many benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle that have nothing to do with how you look, from improving your sleep to boosting your mental health to increasing your quality of life and even reducing your risk of chronic diseases - and recognising this is really important.
Originally published as How to win the battle of ISO bulge