Tracking Nutrition and Progress During Lock Down!
The current Covid-19 situation has prompted many of us to take stock of our lives and start working on improving things, whether that means completing a pending project or starting a fitness routine. Here’s the truth: it took a pandemic for some of us to get serious about our health and fitness. While it’s certainly heartening to see so many of us work towards getting fitter, not everyone manages to stick to their plan. The Best Laid Plans Of Mice & Men Go Awry! If your life were a Netflix show, then this would probably be the Spoiler Alert: You started your fitness journey with a lot of gusto but soon, you were back to your old habits! This reminds me of a conversation I recently had with a friend. Like so many of you, he too rose to the challenge, and decided that no matter what, he was going to get shredded during the lockdown! (Sound familiar?) No prizes for guessing how successful he was! Disheartened and dejected, he called me up asking for advice. Friend- Yaar, I’m so sad! I would love to get fit, but I don't even have a food weighing scale. How will I track my caloric intake and how do I know what to eat and how much? Here’s what I told him: - When it comes to Quantified Nutrition, a food weighing scale is your biggest ally, perhaps even a companion for life. However, if you don’t have one, don’t worry! There are other ways to continue the fitness hustle: Choose food items that can be counted in numbers/units - Think bread slices, eggs, cheese slices, whey, nuts, chapatis, etc. You can easily count their calories, either by reading what’s mentioned on the packets or simply going by universally accepted approximations (Eg. 50-60 gm wheat flour = 2 med size Indian breads which is nearly 170-180 calories. 1 whole egg = 6 gm protein and 5 gm fats so that’s 70 odd calories). - You can even use fitness apps to check the macro distribution of various foods. FITTR has a huge database with a variety of food items and their macros values. Here are some more tips: - Choosing foods such as paneer, ready to cook oats, semolina (upma), etc. can help as you can simply eyeball and pick the quantity needed. Plus, they also come in small packets which makes it convenient to quantify and adjust in the diet plan. - For items such as rice and lentils, choose an average sized bowl. (A medium sized bowl of lentils would have around 30-50 gms lentils which is about 120-180 calories). - For measuring oil/ ghee, going with a table spoon could do the job. - Another option would be to use the scoop of whey protein (if you have it) to measure the quantity of food items such as rice, dal etc. If you have those baking spoons, then things are even easier. One heaping scoop would be nearly 50 gm of rice. Using such approximations will serve the purpose for now. It’s advisable to leave a small margin of error in your overall intake, so that it can be well compensated later. Friend - And what about fruits? How do I add them? - Personally, I would restrict their quantity, especially since they provide fewer micronutrients in comparison to their caloric density. Still, if you must have fruit, stick to bananas, apples or oranges and other similar fruits where you don't need a kitchen scale to figure out the calories. Friend - Well, this seems doable. But, I still have a couple of concerns - I also don't have a weighing scale, and I’ve misplaced my measuring tape. So, how will I track my progress? - Fitness is more than just a number on a weighing scale. Focus on overall wellness and try to improve your strength and endurance. These things can be easily tracked by clicking pictures regularly - in fact, that is the best way to track progress, trust me! - Measurements can be tracked by regularly checking how your clothes fit, especially jeans and a t-shirt. You can even use a ribbon/ thread with markings done at several points to track changes in physical measurements. - Friend - Wow, that’s a good place to start! However, there’s still one more issue - and it’s a major one! How will I do my workouts with no access to the gym or even the outdoors? I’ve become so sedentary these days! - Well, frankly, it sucks! But there’s really nothing you can do about it. You have two choices: you could either lament what once was or you could take action now and make the best of the situation. - Work on building a fitness habit. Know that something is always better than nothing. Start off with a few bodyweight and core or mobility exercises, that’s a great way to begin your journey. Include some HIIT as well. By the way, you can join the live sessions on the FITTR app. There are tonnes of workouts you can do with just your bodyweight. - If you have dumbbells and resistance bands, then my friend you are truly blessed! There are so many splits and circuits you could use. Explore all options. - And yes, try staying active throughout the day. Set up timely reminders when you are working in front of the laptop or watching Netflix. And of course, sit up straight. The last thing you want is to mess with your posture. - As with everything else in life, embrace the suck, keep your chin up and keep fighting for what’s important! Comment below if you have any more questions about your workouts or nutrition.