Fitness has been, for so many of us, a bit of a struggle as of late. With everything going around in the world, going outside isn’t always a given. At the beginning, the quarantine seemed like it might last a few days or maybe a few weeks. But as weeks turned into months it became much more obvious that we’d be locked down for an extended period of time. Even known, as things begin to open up, most gyms remain closed. And this is just the first time around.
What happens if a second wave hits and it causes another quarantine?
Well, we’ll all be back inside, waiting for it to pass. If the gym is not an option for you it can seem like a struggle to try and put off weight or, at the very least, to avoid putting weight on. You will need to make a handful of adjustments, but there are ways you can lose weight at home. You just need to be a bit more active and on top of everything. To help you lose weight at home, here are a few tips and suggestions.
Focus On Your Diet
The top way you’re either going to drop weight or put on weight is through your diet. Most of the weight you carry has nothing to do with what you do at the gym. It’s all about how you eat.
Yes, when you’re working out at the gym and doing everything you can there it’s possible to eat more. You’re burning more calories, which allows you to eat more. Because you’re at home this isn’t the case. It does mean you’ll need to alter your diet. But as long as you make a handful of tweaks you’ll find yourself able to, at the very least, maintain your current weight, if not help it decline.
Losing weight is all about burning more calories in a single day than what you take in, and it’s far easier to simply cut calories rather than burn them. Of course, there are ways you can still workout at home and we’ll get to that in a bit, but for now, let’s look at weight you can eat healthy foods while cutting calories out of your diet.
So how can you go about cutting calories out of your diet?
First, let’s consider how many calories you might need to slash if you’re not going to the gym. If you went to the gym and performed an hour of cardio on one of the machines you may have been burning about 600 calories or so. Perhaps you added on some lifting work as well. In total it’s possible you were burning 1,000 calories while at the gym.
That’s some serious work you were putting in that is no longer being done to the same extent. Don’t worry, we can make up some of this with home workouts, but for now, let’s try to cut out as many calories as we can to try and make up this difference.
Begin with your beverages. We need to slash as many calories out of your beverage diet, because for the most part, almost all calories found in beverages are empty calories.
Do you put sugar or cream in your coffee?
Those are calories you don’t need. And if you have a few cups of coffee throughout the day, this can easily be at least 100 calories, if not 200. So go to black coffee.
Black coffee not your thing?
There are a few ways to sweeten it up without adding unnecessary calories. You can try a flavored coffee. This is coffee that has been roasted with another flavor or ingredient. It won’t dramatically change the taste, but it might be enough for your satisfaction. You can also try adding cinnamon.
This won’t add calories, will help sweeten your cup of coffee, and it is a natural metabolic booster, which will help you burn more calories throughout the day. It may take some adjusting, but black coffee is healthy for you and will help you cut out calories.
If you’re drinking any kind of soda or juice, kick it to the curb. Again, these are empty calories. Juice is often packed with unnecessary sugar. If you do need juice try to make it at home. Homemade juice has less sugar and is better for you than whatever you purchase at the store (not to mention it tastes better). And lastly, cut out alcohol. Alcohol is one of the worst things for your diet. So stop adding unnecessary calories to your diet and skip the alcohol.
Next, you’ll want to remove dips and sauces. Most dips and sauces are high in calories and low on health benefits. Anything that is cream based, such as ranch, is terrible for you. Even more BBQ sauces are loaded with sugar. Instead, you’ll want to use a salsa, hot sauce, or a vinegar based salad dressing. These are low in calories and will help you with adding taste, all without adding calories.
By simply slashing beverages and sauces, it is easy to cut out hundreds of calories from your daily diet. You need to stop and look at everything you’re putting into your mouth. You can make it a game if you like. Try to find calories that are unnecessary and eliminate them. Eating is all a state of mind. Sure, those sodas and those creamy dressings sure taste good, but the cravings you have are in your head. Once you move past them you can completely do away with needing to eat them (Healthline, 2018).
How to Eat Healthy
So now that we’ve cut out some of those unnecessary calories, let’s look at eating healthy. Eating clean and healthy will also help you cut calories. It will also help you feel fuller, longer, all while consuming fewer calories.
How are we going to do this?
By looking at where your calories come from. Calories, which are a unit of energy measurements, come from three main sources: proteins, carbs, and fats. There are about four calories per gram of protein and carbohydrate (it does depend a bit on the kind of carb you’re eating, but for the most part, it’s right around that four calories level).
There are about nine calories per gram of fat. This means you can eat twice the amount of carbs or protein and still cut out some calories. Additionally, fat is difficult for your body to break down. It won’t break down on its journey to the stomach, which is what carbs and protein will do.
Fat needs the stomach acid to break it down, which forces your body to work harder to burn it. It also means the calories will be absorbed through the intestines and, if you consume too much fat, the body won’t be able to burn off all the calories, which means those calories are more likely to turn into fat cells right around the intestines (which can lead to some serious health problems later on) (USDA, 2020).
In order to eat clean and healthy you’ll want to hone in on the carbs and proteins while ditching the fat.
Now, if you know people who have sworn off carbs and say they’ve lost weight doing so there is some truth to this idea, although it’s not exactly what you think. You see, carbs are used for instant energy. The body breaks down carbs quickly. You can eat a bowl of carb-rich oatmeal and the body will break it down within an hour or two (which is why it makes an excellent breakfast food or something to add to a pre-workout shake).
Carbs that are not instantly used for energy will retain water. A single gram of carbohydrates can hold twice its weight in water, which means if you eat food with 20 grams of carbs and none of it is used for energy, it may end up holding 40 grams of water, for a net gain of 60 grams. If you’re curious, there are about 454 grams in a pound.
So most of the weight people lose when ridding themselves of carbs is water weight from not using the instant energy. And that’s just it. You want instant energy for when you do workout. So don’t feel like you’re obligated to cut our carbs. Just make sure to use this energy.
Some foods you’ll want to focus in on include turkey and chicken, seafood (such as fish), beans, and lentils. These are foods that offer plenty of lean protein. You’ll also want to include leafy greens, fruits, and all your favorite veggies. This will help you consume the kind of vitamins and minerals your body needs.
If you need something to snack on, opt for popcorn that doesn’t have any butter on it (you can actually purchase a jar of popping corn, add it to a paper bag, fold the bag, then put it into the microwave and pop it like microwave popcorn. It will turn out perfectly and it won’t have the oil or butter).
Then you can top it with hot sauce or something. Hot sauce is zero calorie, which is great, although certain kinds might be higher in sodium, so check the labeling. Either way, this is a great snack that is low in calories.
Workout Out At Home
So changing your diet will help, but you may not be slashing the thousand calories or so you were doing at the gym.
To help, you’ll need to workout, but how can you do this if you don’t have all the weights or cardio equipment?
There are a handful of options. First, start with cardio videos online. There are subscription services, but YouTube is an amazing source for great cardio videos. You’ll find plenty o videos that give you varying workouts. You’ll find one that works best for you. These range from HIIT videos to ab workouts and everything else in between.
Now, for the resistance training. Buying a full gym of workout equipment probably isn’t an option because that’s especially expensive.
So what should you do?
First, invest in a pull-up bar. You can buy one for a few bucks. It will help not only with a number of chest, shoulder, and back exercises, but you’ll be able to combine it with the next suggested purchase: resistance bands (Self, 2019).
Resistance bands are durable and exceptional for working out nearly every area of your body (pretty much every lift you do can be replicated by bands). It will work your muscles slightly differently than weights will. For example, when you curl up with a resistant band it becomes more difficult as you lift the curl. However, with weights, the most difficult part is the beginning.
It’s good to train your body in a different way. The one suggestion would be to purchase the full resistance bands (that look like oversized rubber bands) and not the string bands with handles on each end. These are more susceptible to breaking and won’t last as long as the full band.
Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t lose weight. You might not have access to all the cardio and gym equipment you like, but that is okay. There are still plenty of other options and workout methods you can take advantage of while at home. It’s all about staying active and not letting your mind fall into a rut.
This is far too easy to do and can be a problem. Because once you let your body and mind stop focusing on fitness it is far too easy to stop going to the gym or eating healthy once everything is back to normal. Don’t worry, because eventually things will start to return to some normalcy. It might seem like that’s a far off idea, but this will pass and you will be able to go to the gym and workout outside, just as you were able to do at the beginning of the year. Keep focused and you’ll be able to lose weight at home.