Are you gaining weight during COVID-19?
With all of the extra time we are all spending at home, many of us may be indulging a little too excessively on snacks and finding that our pants have gotten a bit tighter.
I know both of my adult sons would admit that they’ve put on a few extra pounds since the start of the pandemic, hence the sweat pants and expandable pajama waistlines that have become their go-to apparel.
Can you relate?
If you can, you might reason, well, it’s because I’m not moving enough (maybe … but you probably drove to work or met people in your car and sat in restaurants long before the pandemic, right?).
You might also say, well it’s because I’m sitting in front of my computer all day. (Possibly … but chances are you were doing that a fair amount already).
You may also firmly believe it is because the fridge is tempting you more as you are within reach of it now more than ever. (Maybe … but you were also in reach of fast food joints and quick fix snacks at work or home before COVID-19).
The fact is, you can only rationalize your decisions and behavior for so long. At the end of the day, our inability to maintain our weight stems from something much deeper than a global pandemic.
My theory is that the clear majority of why we are gaining weight so rapidly (after all it’s not even been 8 weeks since full-on isolation), is because of our inability to train our minds to have positive, life-enhancing thoughts and emotions.
We have to start training our minds to become powerful, disciplined, and focused.
This is the secret to not only preventing weight gain, but also succeeding in life, overcoming challenges, and maintaining a positive mindset.
We have not mastered our mind, and because it’s allowed to run wild, we run the risk of pants that feel like cellophane wrap and shirt buttons that dramatically pop at the first sign of movement.
You see, with all the worry and anxiety produced by our thoughts and corresponding emotions, our body sees potential dangers and threats and responds by protecting us in a layer of fat.
Our minds have the tendency to turn us into chronic worriers when change occurs, and it’s important for us to break the bonds of worry and live a happier life (read more about how to do that here).
When we are triggered by the doom and gloom of the news, our boss getting nasty, or another unexpected bill, we head on over to the belief that, “I’m not safe and I must protect myself.”
Once you begin protecting yourself, your thoughts center on self-preservation, and so you reach for thoughts that are comforting – including thoughts to go and get more of that comfort food – you know the kind, high in fat, sugar, carbs.
Just think of all the times your mama or someone you loved as a child fed you your favorite chocolate chip cookies or ice cream to comfort you. Think of the days of summer where you and your friends went for a hot dog and a Slurpee and you felt so accepted and life was good
You are literally trying to recreate those special memories to keep you feeling safe, loved, and protected from the reality of the world at large, which is currently uncertain and for some, more than a little bit scary.
So, what to do?
5 Tips on How to Stop Gaining Weight
Here are 5 ways to deal with your mind and your waistline in a healthy way.
1. Get to the Root of the Problem
The nature of the mind is to keep you exactly where you are, and over-eating keeps you “in place solidly”. It’s time to change this.
Our thoughts are often used as defense mechanisms to keep us safe from change. The problem with this is that sometimes our minds can’t (or refuse to) comprehend what is a good change.
Getting to the root of the problem is absolutely crucial when trying to tackle any kind of problem in your life.
Start becoming aware of your thoughts – if anything is to change you must first be aware of what you are thinking.
Your mind is the most powerful thing about you. This is why your mind is the first thing you have to take control of when you find that you are gaining weight.
At the first sign of body hunger, stress, or irritation, ask yourself: what thoughts am I thinking right now or in the past few minutes? Release the thoughts, knowing that they are there just to keep you safe and keep you from change.
2. Cultivate Acceptance of Your Thoughts
Do not go to war with your thoughts.
Do not resist them. Simply see them as outside of you, just another thought that presents itself. Let that thought float on by (more will come don’t worry) without making meaning of it.
Do not let yourself identify with the float. Do not add more fuel to the fire by acting as the thought matters.
John Maxwell once said, “Never overestimate the under-importance of practically everything.”
When you live this way, your body will not be tempted to protect you with additional fat stores.
3. Practice Stilling Your Mind as a Daily Habit
When I’m speaking at an event, I emphasize the life-changing benefits of meditation. Start with just 5 minutes twice a day in meditation (or what I like to call, the practice of stilling the mind.)
Make sure that you have no agenda to discover insights or generate intuition while in meditation.
Simply come back to stilling the mind each time you notice the mind running away with thoughts again. Remember: no judgment of your mind or thoughts.
When you feel your mind running away with your thoughts again, simply return to the practice. This practice will shift how you interact with potential threats. This will allow you to see these threats as opportunities to grow and to love, rather than sending you into self-protection, blaming, complaining, etc.
4. Consider Eating Straight From Mother Earth
Become more familiar with food that is not processed in any way – fresh fruits and veggies without sauce or spices.
Eat a carrot from a garden or shell some peas and notice the exquisite taste. Our taste buds have gone silent in the new normal of processed foods.
5. Simple Carbs Mean More Simple Cravings
These cravings are not simple to stop.
The sugar hit your body gets from simple carbs like bread, pasta, muffins and pizza, reinforces the need for more of the same – and you will find yourself hungry within a couple of hours of eating.
If you implement these suggestions, you won’t be hungry for at least an hour or two more, because your body is getting the nutrients that signify to the brain that you are full.
Empty calories are the enemy of health, and if we want to build our immunity during these uncertain times, we must be conscious of the nutrient count, not necessarily the calorie count (most nutrient rich foods are low in calories compared to most processed foods anyway, so hooray for you).
If you find yourself gaining weight during this difficult time, follow these guidelines and get back to your healthy, vibrant self. Off with the pajamas and elastic waistbands, and here’s to those … (okay I draw the line at skinny jeans)…
You can also get more insight into how to have a healthy mind and body during this pandemic here.
If you want to train your mind and live in a state of joy and calm, check out my book The Tao of Influence here.
If you are struggling with gaining weight, I invite you to get in touch with me to continue conversations about how you can overcome personal challenges during COVID-19. You can also take a look at the programs I offer that can help get you on the right track.
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