How to Avoid Weight Gain at Home: 8 Weight Loss Tips and Essential Home Equipment
“How to avoid weight gain at home” is a question many of us are asking ourselves right now. With a second lockdown already happening in many countries, avoiding further waistline expansion will become increasingly challenging for many. Getting the best home gym equipment is still a bit tricky, but even without them, you can boost your metabolism and keep weight gain at bay with these weight loss tips.
Managing your weight is beneficial for both your physical and mental well-being. With some simple tricks and lifestyle adjustments, you can ensure that the pounds stay off, and who knows, you might even shed a few in the process. The fact is that the best way to lose belly fat is to pay close attention to your diet. It’s no surprise that the best way to get a six-pack is to eat well (and to some extent, exercise). And make sure to avoid these 5 types of foods if you don’t want to gain weight.
The tips below can be used individually or even combined as you see fit. Most importantly, though, do not overexert yourself with vigorous exercises while not eating enough. It’s simply dangerous and can lead to injury in the blink of an eye. Be wise, and if you have had any obesity issues before or are genuinely unfit, consider talking to a healthcare professional before implementing any drastic lifestyle changes.
HOW TO AVOID WEIGHT GAIN AT HOME
TIP #1: MANAGE YOUR CALORIE INTAKE It’s not rocket science, really: if you don’t want to gain weight, you have to stop eating more than your body needs. Even if you lived a relatively sedentary lifestyle before the mandatory isolation, being indoors 99% of the time means you’re burning fewer calories than you used to. And this means you should eat less to adjust to this new lifestyle.
Of course, you can compensate for the lack of outdoor exercise with indoor workouts, but there are other ways to keep your waistline slim that don’t involve strenuous physical activity. And the best of them all is being more mindful of how and what you eat.
Without trying to turn anyone into a mindful, present being, try to pause for a second whenever you reach into your pantry to grab something to eat. Ask yourself: am I hungry, or am I just bored? Was there something I should have dealt with before deciding to eat? Unhealthy eating habits often stem from procrastination, and we don’t want to deal with the task at hand.
If you’re a big fan of fried foods, an obvious way to cut down on calorie and fat intake is to get a better air fryer. Air-fried foods might not be as delicious as deep-fried or even shallow-fried ones, but they retain a fried/toasted flavor and mouthfeel while using as little as a tenth of the fat of frying or roasting. We know they’re in demand right now as they keep selling out.
Another way to eat less is to confront how much we eat in general. Considering the amount of processed foods we consume, it’s easy to track the number of calories and macronutrients (lipids [fat]/carbs/protein) we intake using apps that scan barcode of food items and tally them up for us.
The most well-known of these apps is MyFitnessPal, but there are many other apps that can do the same thing. Garmin watches can integrate with it, or you can see consumed calories vs. burned calories on your wrist. Fitbit does a similar thing with its Fitbit Premium service.
By realizing how many calories are in certain foods we eat, we can make more educated decisions about snacking in the future. Can you eat a whole box of Jaffa cakes at once? That’s 450 ‘bad’ calories consumed, and to burn them off, you’d have to do an hour of HIIT workouts. Which you probably won’t do.
TIP #2: TRADE CARBS FOR PROTEINS A 2012 study called “Dietary intake associated with successful weight loss and maintenance during a weight-loss maintenance trial” came to the following conclusion: “participants who substituted protein for fat lost, on average, 0.33 kg over 6 months during Phase I and 0.07 kg over 6 months during Phase II per 1% increase in protein”. Additionally, “increased intake of fruits and vegetables was associated with weight loss in Phases I and II: 0.29 kg over 6 months and 0.04 kg over 6 months, respectively, per 1 serving increase”.
“Phase I” referred to an initial 6-month weight loss phase, while “Phase II” referred to the 30-month weight loss maintenance phase. As always, though, we recommend taking these results with a pinch of salt. We’re not questioning the validity of the research—it was a long-term randomized controlled trial—but we also don’t recommend getting rid of all fat from your diet.
However, adding more protein to your diet can help curb hunger, making you feel fuller. Also, since our body doesn’t have protein reserves, swapping some carbs and bad fats for protein may aid in weight loss and help keep it off. Energy intake control wouldn’t hurt either.
TIP #3: TRY INTERMITTENT FASTING Even if you don’t want to swap Mars bars for kale and broccoli, you can significantly reduce calorie intake by only eating within a specific time window each day. Perhaps the most popular way is to do intermittent fasting. There are two ways to do it: either the 5:2 diet or the 16:8 fasting.
With the 5:2 diet, you restrict calorie intake for two days a week, to 700-800 calories, while for the rest of the weeks, you eat normally. The 16:8 diet is a daily fast, where you only eat within an 8-hour window. With the latter, the most convenient way is to fast while you sleep: have your last meal around 8 PM, and have the next one at 12 PM the next day. This way, you sleep through most of the fasting, making it super easy to do. Well, a bit easier anyway.
TIP #4: DRINK PLENTY OF WATER Drinking more water is beneficial for many reasons, and now that we’re all grounded in our homes, people can’t really use the usual excuse not to drink more, which is “I’d need to go to the bathroom more often,” as the bathroom is always available (hopefully anyway).
Drinking plenty of water can help with metabolism, and most importantly, it can also help you feel fuller for longer. The best combination is eating more fibrous foods—more veggies, mostly—and drinking plenty of water. Cold-pressed bars are also good as a snack with plenty of water, although they are, by nature, quite high in sugar.
Bars with low protein content and tasty savory snacks like beef jerky or vegan jerky are a great alternative to chocolate bars as a mid-afternoon snack. Nuts are good, although they are very energy-dense (high in good fats), so you should only eat a small portion at a time.
TIP #5: USE A FITNESS TRACKER Even though we’re stuck indoors, having a fitness tracker or a running watch around your wrist can still be beneficial. One of the more casual features of these fitness trackers is the “movement reminder” that prompts you once every hour to get up and walk a bit. Now, being isolated doesn’t help, but periodically getting off the couch can be beneficial for your overall well-being, even if it’s just to stretch a bit or stop washing.
Fitness trackers and running watches also measure calories burned, so you can adjust your caloric intake to your caloric expenditure. These devices are not ultra-precise, but they will still give you a good estimate.
TIP #6: GET A SMART SCALE Just like fitness trackers, bathroom scales—the smart scale variety—can also measure energy expenditure and tell you how many calories you burn, as well as other details about your body, such as bone/muscle mass and, most importantly, body fat percentage.
TIP #7: DO HIIT WORKOUTS HIIT workouts have never gone out of fashion, but they’re definitely “in” right now, mainly because they’re an effective way to burn calories and can be done indoors using just your body weight, a kettlebell, dumbbells, resistance bands, exercise bikes, rowers, and basically anything you can think of. We’ve also seen a water bottle HIIT workout before.
If you’re thinking of doing HIIT workouts, we have an article on why you should try HIIT, and there’s also the Trion app that can generate over a billion different workouts for you to try at home. And of course, you can try keeping up with the Mike Tyson bodyweight workout, although that certainly won’t be a walk in the park.
TIP #8: CHALLENGE YOURSELF The best way to motivate yourself to move more and therefore burn more calories more efficiently is to challenge yourself. Although you can’t leave the house for leisure activities, you still have plenty of options. How about a 30-day challenge? Start by doing one on the first day and add one more each day and see if you can keep up the pace.
Do you have a pull-up bar? How about learning to do pull-ups correctly? Or mastering chin-ups. Don’t know the difference? Here’s a helpful article on the subject: chin-up vs pull-up—which is better for you? If you have an ab roller lying around somewhere in the house, you can challenge yourself to learn how to use the roller properly.
Maybe you can improve your mobility? Improving hamstring flexibility can be quite challenging for some, but being more flexible can significantly improve your overall comfort levels. Shoulder mobility is also a huge issue among the adult population: get some resistance bands and do two-arm shoulder circles.