Lockdown has been an entirely new experience for us all, and there are many questions circulating everyone’s minds about how to deal with certain aspects of it. If you’re curious about how to deal with increased snacking, changes to your workout regime, why your sleep may be affected, and if you should be taking supplements, hopefully this will help.
The lockdown snack surge seems to be a hot topic of conversation at the moment. Whether the increase is due to boredom, a loss of interest in cooking/a lack of motivation to cook, or a lack of available food, it is certainly a typical behaviour.
While snacking can be comforting for some, it can leave others feeling out of control and can affect their day-to-day functioning. If you fall into the latter category, take a look at some helpful tips below.
- Look at your diet - the typical ‘easy’ snacks, like crisps, cake, and chocolate, while delicious, will leave you feeling lethargic, especially if you are substituting them for balanced meals.
- Opting for more energising snacks (for example, carrots and houmous or banana and peanut butter).
- Try to ensure you have somewhat satiating meals - they do not have to be culinary masterpieces! Scrambled egg on toast, for example, gives a great balance of protein, fats, and carbs, as well as providing a range of essential vitamins. Better yet, it takes minutes to whip up!
- Eating balanced meals or snacks can also promote better sleep, as you will be better energised throughout the day, reducing the likelihood of an afternoon dip, and increasing sleep quality.
The lockdown restrictions have likely interfered with your fitness regime and possibly any goals you were working towards. Some may find that due to the increased spare time, they’re on a workout frenzy, while others may struggle to find the motivation to workout. Regardless of whether your exercise frequency has increased or decreased, it is important to fuel yourself adequately in accordance with these changes.
- If you are working out more than usual, make sure you are refueling correctly! While it may be tempting to maintain a large calorie deficit to try and reach your goals quicker, doing so will wreak havoc on your body - taking a slower, more manageable approach is much more sustainable.
- On the other hand, you may have lost all motivation to work out and might be worrying that your progress will be ‘ruined’. If that is the case, try not to worry too much (easier said than done, I know!). Exercise when you can, even if it’s just a walk, and try to be mindful of what you’re eating. If you’re unsure of what your specific requirements are, book a call with one of our nutritionists here, and they’ll be glad to help you out!
- You may also find your workout style has changed. You may have gone from powerlifting to long-distance running, and while both are great forms of exercise, you should ensure you’re eating an adequate amount of carbohydrates to sustain the miles you’re racking up with your trainers.
Sleep and sleeping patterns have also been commonly affected by lockdown. There’s a whole multitude of reasons why your sleep may be affected currently, but here are some possible explanations:
- Increased screen time. You may be hitting Instagram every 5 minutes, or maybe even delved into the peculiar phenomenon that is TikTok. But endless scrolling can seriously affect your sleep, especially if not using night/dark mode. Increasing exposure to blue light can negatively affect your sleep hygiene, meaning that even if you are getting 8 hours, the quality of sleep is reduced.
- Snacking/less nutritious diet. As mentioned above, what you eat can impact your rest - try to nourish your body to stay energised.
- Lack of fuel. If you’re someone that has been filling their free time with workouts, you need to ensure that you are refuelling your body adequately. Overexercising and under-fueling can worsen quality of sleep and cause difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up.
- Overeating/lack of exercise. Similarly to how undereating and overexercising can affect your sleep, so can overeating and not exercising. Despite making you feel sleepy, overeating can cause you to feel uncomfortable, and therefore make it difficult to settle when trying to sleep - the same goes for eating close to bedtime. Exercise has been shown to combat this, significantly reducing time to sleep and increasing sleep quality and length of sleep in those with insomnia. Even a short walk could help if you’re struggling!
As with everything else, supplementation is subject to need. It is no means essential*, but certain circumstances may lead to necessary supplementation (which is absolutely fine!).
The primary example of supplementation under current circumstances would be Vitamin D.
In normal circumstances, Vitamin D supplementation in the UK would end around March/April for most people (mainly depending on the weather!). However, lockdown has brought new challenges, and for many, has limited the best source of the vitamin; the sun.
Fortunately, (for the most part) the weather has been glorious over lockdown. So as long as you have been spending some time outside, with some skin exposed to the sun, it is unlikely that you will need to supplement vitamin D. However, if you live in a flat, cannot leave the house, or do not have a garden, you may benefit from supplementation.
Vitamin D Overview:
- RDA (Recommended Daily Amount) = 10 micrograms
- The NHS-advised Upper Limit for vitamin D is 100 micrograms, but this can only cause harm if this intake is sustained consistently for months.
- Many vitamin D supplements require you to take two tablets a day. The UL, in which case, would require 10-20 tablets to be taken every day.
- If you are unsure whether or not you need to supplement, doing so is unlikely to cause any harm.
- If you are exposing some skin to the sun for at least ~20 minutes a day, supplementation is unlikely to be necessary.
*unless you limit your intake of animal products, in which case you should supplement with B12, and likely (vegan/vegetarian) omega supplements.
Looking after yourself is extremely important throughout this time, and while looking after your physical health is important, looking after your mental health is even more so. If you look after your mental health, your physical health will improve as a result. Make sure you are kind to your mind! And if the FFF team can help you out, we’re only a phone call away.