Gentle ways to lose the Covid curves

By: Richard Bruce

Hopefully you are one of the lucky ones who changed your life routines in a positive way from the Covid-19 situation.

For others it increased work pressure and uncertainty, as well as stress at home juggling family life, socially and financially.

In that case it feels like we have less time, less fun, more pressure and less sleep due to feeling anxious, stressed or burned out. Some are having later nights ‘de-stressing’ with snacks and alcohol, as well as making worse food choices. And so the kilos go on.

But while we can’t solve all the world’s problems, we can make a start with ourselves. Here we can make changes pretty quickly, so here’s a strategy to try on your journey to healthier habits.

Time restricted eating is about restricting the timeframe when you eat. It’s not fasting – just an adjustment to meal times, so you eat within an 8-10 hour window. So breakfast could be at 10am, lunch at 2pm and dinner at 6/7pm. No changing of what you eat or drink. I suggest trying it for two weeks and I bet you notice the difference.

Naturally, if you are able to adjust your food choices to a more nutrient dense diet, the results will be even better.

It works because that snack after dinner with a glass of wine all adds up and also affects the quality and quantity of our sleep. Poor sleep equals weight gain and increased risk of disease. Good sleep means physical and mental recovery and better metabolic health.

The other reason this works is because you tend to go to bed a little earlier as you don’t want to be up and getting hungry again at 10.30/11pm!

Another easy win for better health is to get outside in the sun. Sunshine helps regulate your sleep but also positively affects your mood, immunity and gut microbiome. The gut microbiome consists of bacteria, fungi, viruses, worms and protozoa, which all affect how you eat, what you eat, when you eat, what you absorb and how well you digest and eliminate your food. These guys are all happier with some sunshine.

So get outside, whether it’s to read your emails, listen to a podcast, sit and do nothing, do a cartwheel – it doesn’t matter, just get outside every day. Preferably earlier in the mornings, when the sun is less intense, and without sunglasses (as long as the glare isn’t too strong) as this helps set the stage for restorative sleep.

Like anything though, build up to it. It’s obviously a no-no to go and sit in the sun for an hour and burn. A few minutes might be enough to start with if you rarely get outside.

And of course movement and exercise has a very similar positive impact on mood, immunity and your gut health so throw more of that in.

The world might not be full of rainbows and unicorns right now, but by adding in these simple yet powerful changes you may feel better, look better and have better energy to be able to perform at a higher level.

Always consult your health advisor regarding any dietary or exercise changes.

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