How to Create New Active Habits After Weight Gain

Restaurants have often taken the heat for their contribution to extra calories and unwanted weight gain. But some of our favorite go-to spots have been closed for over a year. So, what gives? Fast-food consumption has decreased. People are eating breakfast and more fruit. They are even sharpening up on their culinary skills with home-cooked meals.1 If that’s the case, why are people still gaining weight, making it increasingly challenging to manage their type 2 diabetes? Worldwide research shows that although people may be embracing healthier eating habits, they are dramatically less active since the start of the pandemic—ultimately contributing to unwanted weight gain.1,2

The realities of weight gain

Combining work and home life while also respecting orders to minimize daily errands — it’s no surprise that people’s standing hours or step counts took a major hit. But even as little as 15 additional minutes a day of sedentary behavior can have negative health consequences.1 For a person weighing 154 pounds, walking for 15 minutes burns around 70 calories, around 1 Oreo cookie.3 If those calories get continuously consumed above one’s needs, it can result in as much as a 7-pound weight gain per year. Check out these ways to step up your activity game without needing to step out of the house.

How to lose weight with type 2 diabetes

Learn how to create new active habits if you've gained weight this past year.

Use technology to your advantage

Although one possibly never considered their office or workplace to be an active environment, it enabled more movement than you think! Commuting. Communicating with colleagues. Delivering documents. Those calories add up! But, work-from-home life has glued people to their technology, significantly increasing sedentary habits. After all, it’s generally only a few short steps from the bed to the computer, only to stay parked at their desk for the rest of the day. No wonder physical activity has gone downhill! It’s time to redefine the way that you view technology and use it to enable your fitness success with these must-have tips.

  • Start a monthly habit tracker. It’s all about comparable and measurable results. I use it for myself and recommend it to clients to help them stay on track. Essentially, it’s a chart to log the date and the type of habit performed. Choose a behavioral change to focus on for the next 30 days, and check off the date that you stick to it! For instance, if your goal is to walk 15 minutes after lunch or during a conference call, the habit tracker helps keep you honest. After a month, it will provide measurable data for your success. You can compare the results from the tracker with your blood glucose levels to see which new habits had the most significant impact.
  • Find an accountability buddy! Make a pack to do some planks, crunches, or curls, or virtual exercise class. Then, check-in via text or do it together over video chat. Stay social while staying fit!
  • Set an alarm! Use the settings on your phone as a reminder to stand up every hour. Standing up for even a few minutes consistently throughout the day can help regulate blood sugars, improve blood pressure, etc.

Change your environment

From closed gyms to limited outdoor space, our environment and habits have put people in slow mode. For those who are vaccinated, break free from your cocoon to blossom into an active social butterfly with a walk-and-talk coffee sesh! Or, if you have work phone calls that can be taken away from your desk, use them as an enabler of your healthy habits. But, if going outside is not possible, consider changing your work set-up to include a standing desk or exercise ball as a chair. Regardless, there are tons of ways to stay active both indoors and out!

Make movement happen

Why does working out have to be an all-or-nothing affair? Just because you may not have time to complete your favorite routine doesn’t mean that you should skip it altogether. Instead, break up your physical activity into 15+15+15+15 minute sessions. Perhaps a quick morning stretch, followed by a walk between meals and a final 15-minute dumbbell circuit to your favorite show. When physical activity gets broken up, it seems much more doable—even on the busiest of days. After all, you don’t have to go to the gym to expend more calories every day!

All movement is good when you’re moving more. Use the extra time at home to do the projects that consistently get procrastinated. Show your home some TLC with some DIY projects! Clean out that garage. Rake the leaves. Grow a garden. Still not satisfied? Take a walk through a new neighborhood, or explore a different route. Perhaps meet a friend at the botanical garden or go to the beach for a weekly catch-up. Count your steps for steps to better health!

If you struggle to make workouts happen, you are not alone! Explore these tips and tricks to find what works best for you. Make the most out of your living to help you live your best life.

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