14 07 20 – Post Lockdown Nutrition with James Hudson, CFSA Nutritionist
Do I need to change my diet coming out of lockdown?
Nutrition for Energy talks Energy and DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness).
Part 1 – Energy
Energy requirement changes
Lockdown has caused most, not all, but most of us to train less. Although we may have increased our walking or picked up some other activities where we expend energy, (in my case gardening), it is likely that our energy expenditure is not what it used to be prior to lockdown.
Therefore, when we come out of lockdown and our routine starts to revert back to what it used to be, we need to be conscious of our calorie intake because our energy expenditure is likely to change. This is an example of the energy balance equation working in practice and can be explained using the metaphor of a seesaw. To maintain weight, energy expenditure should balance energy intake keeping both sides of the seesaw off the ground. If our energy expenditure changes, we need to adjust our energy intake accordingly to stop one side crashing to the ground resulting in either weight loss or weight gain.
It is important to be aware that our energy requirements may change as we come out of lockdown. This awareness will allow us to respond to the situation and change our nutrition without any unwanted changes in body weight.
If you have found your body weight to be slowly increasing through lockdown then you may not have adjusted to your lower requirement…. it’s either that, or the increase in alcohol thanks to the lockdown blues! Consequently coming out of lockdown, there may be a welcome increase in energy expenditure caused by an increase in your training frequency, duration and or intensity. If this sounds like you then eating a similar quantity to what you are now, will likely stabilise your body weight, or even start to bring it down.
If your body weight has remained stable through lockdown then either your energy expenditure didn’t change significantly or you responded to your hunger signals well. It will be worth considering your body composition goals when returning to the gym. If you want to maintain your body weight then continue to be guided by your hunger signals as they are serving you well, however you will need to make an adjustment if you want to lose or gain weight.
If your body weight reduced through lockdown then be aware that increasing your training will only increase the size of the caloric deficit you are in, (assuming you do not adjust your calorie intake). This may be a desired effect if you are looking to lose weight at a faster rate, however too large a deficit may start to compromise the quality of your training sessions and your recovery.
When we train more and our energy expenditure increases our body responds by signalling us to eat more. For weight management, my advice would be to try and listen to your body’s hunger signals when we come out of lockdown. If you are hungry, eat wholesome, minimally processed foods until you are full, then do not eat until you are hungry again. Our body is an exceptionally smart piece of kit and is usually telling us what and when to eat to maintain our weight, listening and responding is the hard part.
Part 2 of this article will be released next week.
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