It’s no secret that all that is on people’s minds is the coronavirus that has seemingly plagued the whole world.
In all my 26 years of living, I don’t remember anything captivating an entire world like this.
To be honest, it’s kind of terrifying.
Terrifying that such a small, seemingly meaningless virus has shut down flights, travel, businesses, festivals, parades, sports, even the government. People are fearing the loss of their job and income. Grocery stores can barely keep wipes and toilet paper stocked. Restaurants have already had to lay off employees. Small businesses fear their survival. Funerals can’t be held. Weddings have been postponed.
It’s caused a LOT of stress...for everyone. As we know, stress causes its own set of problems. Stress leads to reduced lymphocytes, which are the little immune cells that keep you healthy and not sick. The lower your lymphocytes, the less effective your immune system, which only increases your risk for viral infections. Stress also leads to higher cravings, poor sleep, reduced motivation, amongst other things which may stall your progress or lose it all together.
Today, hopefully I can alleviate SOME of that stress by providing you a quick survival kit.
During stressful times like this, two things can happen to your nutrition, specifically your weight loss progress.
1.) You give up. Life is hard. It’s stressful. You can’t meal prep. You can’t get to the gym. Everything is out of your control...so why bother?
2.) You keep going. Everything IS out of control...you can’t go to the gym. You are stressed. BUT you CAN control one thing: YOU. Your intake, your sleep, your stress, your activity, the food you’re putting into your body. You use your nutrition as a means to stay sane and productive.
OBVIOUSLY, I support option numero dos. All hope isn’t lost, I promise.
To help you, I’m going to share some of my number 1 survival tips ranging from food to exercise to even having to work from home and managing some of that overwhelming stress.
This may not be what you want to hear...but your nutrition doesn’t change. Your metabolism doesn’t disappear. In fact, this is the time where it matters most. The months you’ve spent tracking and PRACTICING was for this, the final event...the test, if you will. If you truly spent the past 3-6 months building in daily habits (meal prep, pre-logging, portion control, eating slowly, protein and veggies, etc.) then these habits are starting to be engrained and won’t change just because your schedule hasn’t changed.
However, I do know that a lot of this is wishful thinking...or what would be achieved in an ideal world. This time period isn’t going to be as easy as I make it seem in the paragraph above...
It may not be easy...but the answer is pretty simple as to what to do with your nutrition during this time.
Keep everything the same. Keep macros. Keep pre-logging your foods. Keep meal prep. Keep drinking water. Keep 3-4 frequent meals. Keep eating 80-90% whole foods. Keep using whole foods as snacks. Eat veggies at every meal.
In fact, this is a time where you could actually see your BEST results...because you have no social obligations ruining your progress. Everything can be controlled and accounted for. You can sleep. You’re not going out to eat. You’re not partying or living it up. You’re not faced with barriers. Only barrier now is yourself.
I mean, how often have you heard the phrase “I would see such great results in prison”?? WELL THIS IS YOUR CHANCE. As morbid or funny as it may seem, it’s not far off... You’re pretty limited in what you can do.
NOW you will have boredom creeping in...and that is going to make those cravings rise.
You also will likely not be as active. Does this mean you cut your intake? MAYBE. It depends. Typically, you have 2-3 weeks before your metabolism slows down to reduced activity (this is our general rule of thumb when it comes to injuries). In 2-3 weeks, if conditions are worse and your activity is still low, it may be worth a discussion...BUT DON’T RESTRICT. You likely may only need a 100-200 calorie reduction. You could sub out some of your carbs for more veggies...but don’t just cut everything because now your bored, restricted, AND hungry...which are the three ingredients for a good ole binge.
I will also suggest removing all triggering foods from your house. If you know you’re weak for a bottle of wine, your beer, the cookies, or chips just sitting around, throw them out or (if unopened), donate them. YES this sucks. I KNOW...but if it’s what will keep you from binging on them all within the first week, it’s worth it.
If your gym is open, GO (if you’re comfortable with it). Wash your hands when you get in the gym, get your workout in, wipe down your equipment, wash your hands and leave. Don’t stay around chatting for social hour, but still get movement in IF that option is available to you.
IF NOT, you have a couple options.
1.) Go for walks. This will keep your expenditure high. It’ll kill time. It’ll prevent cabin fever and keep you somewhat sane. Use this time to talk to friends or family on the phone so you can maintain some human connection or listen to good music or podcasts.
2.) Find at home workouts. Most gyms are posting zero equipment workouts. Pages like CompTrain and BTWB are posting good workouts to do. Lauren Fisher and LCK have great resources for keeping exercise up.
3.) Online guided options. Some yoga studios and gyms are running online “live” classes that you can sign in on and do with others...in the safety of your own home.
There are so many options.
This MAY not the period where you PR and build all the muscle.
This doesn’t mean you can’t move your body. You can and should. Exercise reduces stress. It keeps you healthy. It improves your immune system. It’s good for you!
WORKING FROM HOME
This is the biggest change coming into people’s lives. Fortunately for you...this is what I do day in day out. It’s fun for a few days. You can have the TV going. You can sleep in. You can do what you want.
But it gets boring. You feel unproductive. It can even get lonely...actually it gets VERY lonely.
Here are 6 strategies to working from home:
1. Keep a routine.
Don’t lose your routine. Wake up at your usual time. Follow the same morning and night routines you typically follow during a normal work week. Get dressed and ready as if you were going to work. DON’T STAY IN YOUR SWEATS AND PAJAMAS, TRUST ME!
2. Plan ahead.
Plan what you’re eating for the day and pre-portion out your foods in Tupperware containers, so you stay accountable. Don’t deviate. Plan when you’re going to eat. Plan when you’re going to work. Plan Plan Plan.
3. Work in a separate space
Don’t work in your bed or even on your couch. It’s not great for your spine and it’s terrible for your productivity. If you have a spare room, desk, or office, work in there and only there. If not, work at your dining table. Separate work from relaxation. This seems small and unimportant but trust me, over time without the separation, you’ll find your sleep suffers. You’re always tired when working or you’re never tired when you’re supposed to be sleeping. Your brain likes associations. If you start associating a place of sleep and rest with activity and productivity, then your brain follows suit.
4. 25/5 Pomodoro method for productivity
Work for 25 minutes, break for 5 minutes. Set a timer. 25 minutes are spent working. It’s long enough where you’ll get work done but short enough to where you can’t really give into distractions. Then every 25 minutes, you get a 5 minute break to go for a walk, take a break, scroll through social media, pee, drink water, lay on the floor. Then at the top of that half-hour, you’re back on it. This is a really effective way at staying productive and getting things done.
5. More effective to-do lists
Pick 2-3 big tasks that need to be done. No more. Don’t overwhelm your to-do list with every little thing. What BIG things need to be accomplished. Do them. Once you’ve done them, you can move on to those little things. Do the big stuff first.
Remove notifications. Leave your phone in another room. Turn it off or on do not disturb. Don’t let your phone or TV become a distraction and hamper that productivity. You can now set timers on things with your phone. DO IT! Then actually hold true to it 😉
This is a stressful time. It’s really important to find ways to reduce stress.
Start a new project. Journal and meditate. ONLY surround yourself with positive vibes. Don’t start that depressing new show everyone is raving about. Get outside and walk. Play with your pets. Workout at home. Read a book. Take an online course of something you’ve always wanted to learn. Garden (I actually recommended this to my sister last night). You can keep your meals interesting by growing herbs and fun things! Clean and reorganize your house. Clean your car. There is so much to do. Don’t do it all at once.
Just remember this is temporary. “This, too, shall pass.” Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.
Most importantly, ASK FOR HELP if you need it.
If you have the means to do so, GIVE to others. Buy gift cards from your favorite coffee shops, stores, and restaurants that you can give to others. Buy coaching for a friend or family member. Offer the elderly neighbor near you to buy their groceries or run any essential errands if they need it. Send a free meal to a friend. Within reason and with permission, offer to watch a friends’ kids or buy them a movie to watch. Call or FaceTime your friends who might be struggling. Where can you bring value to others’ lives? Selfishly, giving feels good. What better way to reduce YOUR stress by reducing everyone else’s stress around you?!
AND yes this is said with a TON of bias....but don’t cancel your gym membership or coaching plan (unless you financially cannot...obviously this is said within reason). These business rely on you. If all of my clients cancelled out of fear...I’d go from living a comfortable lifestyle to being unable to pay rent or feed myself. This isn’t to be said out of guilt or shame...but simply to bring awareness to the stress that is being put on businesses during this time.
To GIVE to you, I will be giving away free strategy calls to anyone who would like one. IF you’re afraid or stressed of the upcoming weeks, PLEASE sign up for a call to discuss strategies (nutrition, exercise, stress relief, productivity, etc.) There will be ZERO calls to action or sales pitches in there. It will merely be talking to a friend and that’s it. Sign up for one here.
Resources and Coaching:
Online Coaching here.
[Free] Nutrition Guide here.
Recipe & Macro Guide here.