As the end of lockdown creeps onto the horizon, the lure of hitting the beach, seeing friends, and getting your old lifestyle back should have given you plenty to look forward to.
But if your trouser buttons have become a bit too “socially distanced” for your liking, you may be looking for some easy ways to shed a few pounds.
Fortunately, help is at hand and beating the “lockdown bulge” doesn't have to be difficult.
Here are five virtually effortless ways of trimming down after lockdown.
1. Drink More Water
Forget detoxes, strange diet foods, and exercise regimes that leave you feeling stressed; drinking more water is all it takes to tip the scales in the right direction.
According to scientists at Virginia Tech, the results of a scientific randomized controlled trial showed that drinking water before meals helps with weight loss.
Apparently, participants consumed up to 90 fewer calories per meal when they drank two glasses of water before they began eating.
Drinking more water is free and scientifically proven – what more could you ask for?
2. Eat High-Protein Foods
The second no-hassle way to trim down is upping your protein intake.
You see, the amino acids in protein are the “building blocks” of life and are essential to maintaining a healthy weight.
Protein helps you feel fuller for longer, making it easier to avoid snacking and, in turn, lowering your calorie intake.
Statistically, most people eat too little protein and tend to overconsume fat and simple carbohydrates.
Reversing this can help you get your pre-lockdown body back in record time.
If you thought that the only way to boost your protein intake was to drink yucky protein shakes or egg white smoothies, think again.
Your local grocery store likely already has plenty of regular foods such as bread, flour, and yoghurt that contain higher-than normal levels of protein.
Switching to high-protein versions of foods that you already eat will help you increase your protein intake and eat less throughout the day without feeling hungry or tired.
3. Switch To Healthier Snacks
The first rule of most diets is to cut out snacking.
But the truth is that everyone loves having an occasional treat and, realistically, most of us won't stop snacking.
As most snacks are high in fat and sugar, this can be bad news for your waistline, especially as you emerge from lockdown.
So what can you do?
A simple fix is to replace unhealthy snacks like potato chips, cookies, and other carb-heavy treats with healthier alternatives.
For example, swapping bags of chips for healthy nuts like peanuts or almonds will make you feel fuller for longer, helping you crush your post-lockdown weight loss goals.
4. Intermittent Fasting
One of the easiest and best-known ways of losing and managing weight is intermittent fasting.
According to research, this approach to dieting has been linked to numerous benefits including better sleep, improved mood, and higher energy levels.
There are many different ways to do intermittent fasting, but the most effortless approach is known as the “3:4 method”.
Here's how it works:
Divide your day into four, equal 6-hour chunks of time and aim to fast for three of those chunks.
For most people, this means skipping breakfast and eating lunch at around midday. Lunch signals the start of the one 6-hour chunk of “eating time”, which lasts until you have dinner at around 6 pm.
After dinner, you then fast for the next three chunks (18 hours) until lunchtime the following day.
You can, of course, drink as much water as you'd like throughout the day.
Intermittent fasting is highly flexible, and you can schedule the 6-hour “eating time” for any period during the day.
If you have a party or a dinner date on one particular day, simply start eating later in the afternoon.
5. Try Acupuncture
While there is no scientific evidence to indicate that acupuncture promotes weight loss, a randomized clinical trial from Harvard Medical School found that the areas of the brain that process pain are stimulated by genuine acupuncture.
Researchers used MRI scanners to measure the brain activity of volunteers who had both real and fake acupuncture and found that only real acupuncture had an effect.
This suggests that acupuncture could be helpful for those looking to trim down after lockdown.
If restricting calories or skipping meals causes you discomfort, acupuncture is a low-effort way of easing pain and stress while your body adjusts to the new lifestyle changes.
These five effortless ways to trim down after lockdown should help anyone beat their cravings and meet their weight loss goals in time for summer.
If you're looking to kickstart a healthier lifestyle, these tips could be just what you need to kiss your lockdown-bod goodbye.