If you’ve gained a few pounds during the pandemic, you’re not alone. Many of us have found that there is a little bit more to squeeze into our jeans. Fortunately, the same way the weight found itself to your waistline is the same way it will exit your body: through the way you eat.
Exercise is crucial to your overall health. However, physical activity is not going to be the reason that you lose weight. Just as you ate yourself a size up, it’s going to take food to get you back on track. Fortunately, when you exercise you feel better, and that can make you want to eat better foods. As a bonus, playing tag in the backyard, jumping on the trampoline, and walking through the neighborhood with the kids are all great exercises and will instill a love of a healthy lifestyle in the youngest members of your family.
You Are What You Eat
As cliché as it sounds, you really are what you eat. Every piece of food and every liquid you put into your body turns into energy. Ideally, you want to eat foods with a balance of nutrition that fuels your body the way it needs to be fueled. You need to start by checking the labels. Get familiar with serving sizes, calories, and the types of sugar and fat you are planning to ingest.
Speaking of fat, you should know that not all fats are created equally. Candy bars, fried chicken, and other processed foods are loaded with the wrong kinds of fats. However, things like nuts, which you can use to add crunch to roasted vegetables, as a salad topping, or as an easy snack, are full of healthy fat that your body can use. And as Foodies Today points out, some nuts can last up to two years in the freezer, meaning you can buy them in bulk and have them handy anytime you need to add a little pizzazz to a boring dish.
Chicken Nugget Makeover
Eating healthy is one excellent way you can be a good role model for your children. And, thankfully, kids often like roasted nuts. However, there are other foods the kids gravitate to that are actually good for them. Chicken nuggets are a great example. While the ones that are breaded and fried in oil probably aren’t the best choice, you can bake or grill them for a tasty treat you can feel good about. The point here is that the way you prepare your food is just as important as what you eat. Today’s Parent also suggests letting the kids help out in the kitchen, which is an excellent way to introduce them to healthy cooking and eating habits.
A Helping Hand
If you find the idea of changing your eating habits and, potentially, your lifestyle intimidating, there’s no shame in looking for help. You might, for example, find a physical trainer or dance instructor to help you learn exercises that will shape and tone as the numbers on the scale go down. You could also visit your doctor to talk about any current medications that you’re taking that might have contributed to your weight gain. Another smart idea is to reach out to a dietitian on a freelance job board; this person can help you formulate delicious and healthy meals that make dinnertime a breeze. You also want to contact your insurance company to find out if nutrition counseling is eligible for reimbursement.
Losing weight really is a matter of food in and energy out. So, pay close attention to what you eat and stay active. While exercising is not going to be your primary route to weight loss, it’s part of a healthy lifestyle, and that is what’s important.