If you had asked me a year ago if it was easy to lose weight during a pandemic, I would have said, “Heck, yes!” I saw the movie Contagion. A pandemic brought hoarding, looting, scarcity of resources and scavenging. It would be like the Zombie Apocalypse without the zombies.
But the reality of a pandemic was different than the Hollywood version. We stocked up on supplies and stayed inside. We sat around and binged Netflix and surfed the web. We ate a lot. Most of us discovered sourdough baking because some things like yeast were difficult to find. We tried out new recipes. We partook in Zoom meetings or other video calls. Not much physical activity happened, but lots of caloric consumption did.
In the first few months of the pandemic lockdown, I ate more bread, rice, and pasta than I had in the previous nine months. I baked sourdough English muffins, sourdough hamburger buns and hot dog buns, sourdough pizza and many loaves of sourdough bread. And I ate all of them! I didn’t partake in any exercise, even though my wife took part in some online exercise classes and did a push up challenge.
But here’s the crazy thing: I lost weight.
My average weight for the three months before the pandemic shutdown was 198.1lbs. And my average weight for the last four months of the pandemic has been 191.8lbs.
Granted, it’s not a lot of weight, but considering I was eating more than usual and not exercising, it impressed me.
What did I do?
Time Restricted Eating (TRE). I reduced my eating “window”. I wasn’t religious about it, but I tried not to eat after 9pm and not have my first meal before noon. I still ate about the same amount, but only between noon and 9pm. I weigh myself daily, so I could see the impacts that night snacking had when I gave into my cravings.
Don’t I get hungry? Of course. I drink water which helps, but it doesn’t completely get rid of hunger pangs. But I find they come in waves. And some days, I don’t notice it at all.
Now, reducing your eating window to nine hours might seem excessive to you. And I don’t do it every day. Sometimes I like to have breakfast in the morning, like normal people. But, you can start to reduce the times you do eat.
Start with cutting down your evening snacks. You don’t snack in the evening? Are you sure? I was surprised how often I went to munch on something while watching TV at night. And if you aren’t eating something, are you drinking something? If you’re drinking anything besides water, you are likely stimulating your insulin response.
If you reduce the times that you succumb to evening cravings, you will notice a slight decrease in weight. And that slight decrease can become a more significant weight loss if you keep it up.
© 2020 Peter Gruner