f you're looking for small things to help keep you healthy while staying at home and social distancing, here are some science-backed ideas.
First things first. It's totally fine if you are not worried about weight loss right now. For many of us, there are bigger priorities than wanting to feel fit for summer time (find out why it's OK not to worry about weight loss right now).
But, now that most of us have been home for a while, we're settling into new routines—and they aren't always the healthiest. More time at home can mean less active time and more snacking than usual. If you are starting to feel like you're in a slump, we have some simple, science-backed tips to help. These weight-loss suggestions are all small changes to help you get back on track.
1. Get moving
It is probably no surprise that movement is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle. There are several exercises that are proven to help you lose weight that may surprise you. Simple things you can do at home, like walking and yoga. Even activities like gardening or cleaning can up your daily calorie burn and, over time, can help with weight loss. Beyond weight loss, exercise has numerous benefits to your body and mind. Studies have even shown just ten minutes a day can stave off chronic diseases like dementia.
There are several ways to get regular movement that are safe and free. Try walking at least once a day—even a lap around your yard or the neighborhood between meetings can add up over the course of the week. Several organizations are offering exercise classes that you can stream in the comfort of your own home as well, so check in with your favorite local studios and trainers on social media and YouTube.
2. Stay hydrated
Most Americans are not drinking enough water, particularly plain water, each day. Making sure to drink enough water is a super simple way to kickstart a healthy eating pattern. Dehydration can lead to overeating and low energy, so it doesn't jive with weight loss or health goals. You may be drinking less water than you normally would, if your routine has changed from staying home. Keep a water bottle with you so you have easy access (and a reminder) when you need to take a drink. (There are even water bottles that light up to remind you to take a drink.) Drinking water or seltzer with a splash of juice or infused with fruits or vegetables may help make it more fun, too.
3. Eat more fiber
Without changing anything else about your diet, eating more fiber has been proven to help with weight loss. Beyond keeping you regular, fiber keeps you full for longer. Fiber has an array of other health benefits too, ranging from lower chronic disease risk and improved gut health. The easiest way to boost your fiber intake? Add more fruits and vegetables into your day, skins included. Learning to love beans, lentils and legumes will help you get more fiber into your diet. Opt for whole grains, like oats, whole-wheat pasta and quinoa, when you can. They are higher in fiber than their refined counterparts.
4. Stand up
Sitting is something we all do too much of these days. From back problems to mental health challenges, sitting all day can have several negative impacts on our health. It can be tempting to park it on the couch or at a desk chair for hours on end, especially now, without a lot of reasons to get up and go somewhere. Standing more can give a healthful boost to your everyday activities. Studies have found that people who stand for six hours a day, could potentially lose up to five pounds a year, thanks to the increased calorie burn of standing. Try to stand up and do a few light stretches every hour. Set a timer or a reminder if you need to. If you can find a space, try to stand while being on the computer or during phone calls.
5. Get some sleep
Lucky for us, many things that help us sleep better can also help us lose weight. Staying hydrated, eating enough fiber and getting moving all help you have restful nights and set you up for weight-loss success. In addition, try not to stress out and limit caffeine late in the day and avoid alcohol too close to bedtime. Beyond what you put in your body, sleep doctors have recommended sticking to regular sleep and wake schedule that is sustainable for your lifestyle is crucial for a healthy sleep pattern. For more, check out these nine foods to help you sleep.