The ultimate lifestyle guide to going back to the real world after lockdown | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

How can you balance living a healthy lifestyle while transitioning to go back to the real world? 

Here are some healthy lifestyle guidelines that you can apply to situations that can sabotage your weight, fitness, and health goals. 

Eating out

You might be going out more often to visit your favorite restaurant you’ve missed for years or months. To avoid weight gain, bloating, and digestive problems, you still need to stick to your healthy eating guidelines.

Focus on the amount and quality of your total food intake. Practice healthy eating when you are out by choosing nutritious meals with lots of vegetables, moderate amounts of carbs, protein, and fat. It is still best to limit eating out to once or twice a week and eat healthy home-cooked meals during the rest of the week.

  • Always choose steamed, boiled, baked (without cream and cheese), grilled, sautéed, toasted, and blanched.
  • You can always order a salad but always request a dressing on the side so you can limit creamy or mayo-based dressing to a tablespoon only.
  • Choose water, as always. Avoid liquid calories from sugary drinks like iced tea, soft drinks, milk tea, and alcohol.
  • Japanese: Chawanmushi, Agadeshi tofu, Wakame salad, sashimi, yakitori, salmon don, Oyakodon (with less sauce and less rice), soba, Japanese salad (with less dressing), Chirashi, bowl and a few pieces of sushi (avoid sushis with crispy, creamy and cheese toppings).
  • Mexican: Order soft tacos with veggies and protein or steak/seafood/chicken fajitas with grilled veggies. Skip the nachos, quesadilla and fully loaded burrito.  
  • Filipino: You can even eat a full rice meal (choose brown rice and should be limited to not more than a cup) with cooked vegetables and order viands that are not deep-fried and cooked with too much sauce. Choose grilled seafood, sinigang (lean pork and more veggies), grilled chicken (remove the skin), and veggie dishes like garlic kangkong, ensaladang along, or chop suey. 
  • Chinese/Taiwanese: You can limit carbs to 1/2 cup or 1 cup of plain rice or noodles for protein. Choose steamed fish fillet, shrimp dim sum, soy chicken, soy tofu. Don’t forget to add stir-fried vegetables (bok choy, spinach, watercress, kangkong). Avoid deep-fried and saucy viands like lemon chicken, sweet and sour pork or fish, fried squid and
  • Thai/Vietnamese: Choose fresh spring rolls, chicken satay (with less peanut sauce), vermicelli noodle soup with lean beef or chicken, pomelo salad, and steamed chicken or fish.
  • Korean: You can have bibimbap loaded with veggies, or you can have a Korean barbecue meal (order chicken, skip the side dishes and rice and choose lettuce, kimchi, and avoid putting too much sauce and sesame oil)
  • American: You can have a single patty burger and a salad (with less dressing) and skip the French fries, milkshake, deep-fried chicken fingers, buffalo wings.
  • Middle Eastern: Choose hummus, whole wheat pita bread, chicken, seafood, and lean meat with lots of vegetables on the side.
  • Italian: Always order a salad, then you can have a serving of protein like baked chicken and a serving of carbs. You can opt for a small thin slice of Margherita pizza (instead of thick pizza fully loaded with cheese and meat) or half to one cup of tomato/olive oil-based pasta (instead of creamy and cheesy pasta like lasagna, baked macaroni, and carbonara).

Going back to the office

Going back to the real world might require you to return to your office again. It might mean fewer home workouts, but you always have the opportunity to walk more around the office, do more errands, and go malling more often. Turn that into time to join a gym or visit an exercise studio.

Take advantage of the time when you can walk outdoors. I have an old client who recently got in touch with me last month so we could resume our weekly lifestyle coaching sessions. She gained weight after two years because of a sedentary lifestyle and food availability during the pandemic. Now that she’s back in the office again, five days a week on regular working hours. Aside from her evening workouts, she makes it a point to add an extra 20 to 30 minutes of walking during lunchtime (around a popular park in Makati just across their work building) before she eats her meal. The walking activity gives her time to release work stress, reminds her to take care of her body, and sometimes unleashes her creative thinking needed for work projects.

Find the best days and schedule for your exercise before, during lunchtime, or after office–either home workout, visiting a gym/exercise studio, doing outdoor sports, or making your workout routine hybrid.

Planning a summer vacation

I’m so excited to go on a summer trip after two straight years of working from home. I spent some time last weekend planning my upcoming trip for next month. I looked at making it an active vacation by checking hiking spots and beach trips where I can walk more, run, and even do water sports.

I’m sure that you are also looking forward to your next weekend or summer getaway with your friends/family, perhaps just a few weeks from now. 

  • Prioritize sleep. Make efforts to adjust your sleeping time based on your planned activity for the next day. Get at least seven hours of sleep even while on vacation to achieve that great level of alertness and energy to face your daily travel adventures. Even if you sleep at midnight, you can still wake up at 7 am, have a morning workout, eat breakfast, and enjoy your sightseeing and other planned activities.
  • Include physical activities in your itinerary (walking, hiking, water sports, running, online workouts). Bring resistance bands and rubber shoes or a lightweight foldable exercise yoga mat that you can bring anywhere.
  • You should also plan your meals. If you are not used to eating a heavy breakfast, you can always choose to eat fruit with egg and toast. Avoid buffets, dense carbs like cheese pasta, pizza, and desserts. Bring emergency snacks and breakfast like oats, natural yogurt, nut milk, and easy-to-pack snacks like fruits (peeled pomelo, berries, banana, apple, grapes), nuts, seeds, homemade energy balls, and multigrain crackers.

Social gatherings with close friends and family

You must be too excited by now to meet up with your close friends and family you haven’t seen for a long time. I have recently heard stories from friends and clients who have difficulties with social life and healthy lifestyle management. They mention missed workouts due to late-night gatherings and excessive calories from eating and drinking. 

  • Always apply potion control and volunteer to bring vegetables and fruits when needed.
  • Skip the desserts. If ever, just go for a bite per dessert and only try the sweets worth the calories you haven’t had for a long time.
  • Don’t go to parties when you are super hungry. You can have a snack before, complete with carbs, protein, and fat like a handful of trail mix or a piece of bread with nut butter or sweet potato with egg.
  • Set an alcohol limit so you can still work out the next day. Studies show that too much alcohol intake can lower metabolism, increase bloating, intensify cravings. It can affect your energy level, lessen sleep quality, and decrease aerobic capacity and coordination. Limit drinks to a maximum of two servings (two shots of hard liquor or two glasses of wine) the night before your planned workout day. If you drink minimally, still choose low-intensity workouts like walking, light dancing, yoga, and Pilates instead of high-intensity cardio workout, running, and intense weight training. Always hydrate more and eat a complete light to a moderate meal before drinking alcohol. 


Email the author at [email protected] or follow her on Instagram @mitchfelipemendoza

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