How I stay fit during the pandemic

How I stay fit during the pandemic
I have a big goal in mind in the beginning of 2020: lose weight and keeping it off for good.

All this time, I have been losing weight but always gaining them back after the summer end (basically when I don’t care about how I look anymore because of sweater weather). But this time, I want to challenge myself to achieve my goal using my food science and nutrition knowledge.

To start off, I decided to ditch my binge eating behaviour by not stocking up on biscuits and cookies on my pantry. I am also meal prepping and cooking healthy food as part of my diet with exercise as a cherry on top of my attempt. Because what internet say is true “to lose weight and build body, 80% is by nutrition while 20% by diet”.

Then the second step is applying for gym membership. I was always reluctant to go to the gym before because I don’t want a muscular body. But then, I learned that building muscle is helping me to burn more fat as muscle are metabolically active. By having more muscle in your body, you will burn more calorie without doing anything. Or simply saying, your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) increases.

As an attempt to fix my life, I also started to go to the gym early morning (7 am). I was happy with my new habit and excited with the result. It went smoothly for 2 months until an Epidemic became a pandemic and school had to stop and shift online. I was going back to Indonesia as soon as possible to avoid being locked down in my student accommodation without family.

I haven’t gone back to the gym since then. Instead, I do at home workout by following YouTube videos. On top of that, since Indonesia did not implement a strict lockdown, I also developed a new routine to stay active which was Cycling with my dad every Thursday, Swimming with my brother every Friday, and hiking with my family every Saturday. In the end, I managed to lose 5 kg.

After going back to the UK, I did not expect that it would be lockdown all the time. At first, I thought that the online learning will only last until the end of the semester 1. But then the country has lock down again and again and again. So, I cannot go to the gym anymore.

It was quite depressing during the winter time since it was too cold to do hiking or walking outside, the school is closed so I have no purpose to walk to campus every day unlike normal circumstances, and no destination to go since every place are closed (except grocery shopping). So, I was very inactive. I only sit on my study space the whole day and my only physical activity is at home exercise following exercise videos on YouTube.

I never knew that the Edge offers online classes. When I know they do, I joined one of the live Zoom Zumba class led by Annica. The class itself is similar to following a YouTube video. But since it is live, I can meet people and see how they are following the movement. It was nice to finally able to see another human being doing same move as I do. Just like a regular zumba class with exception of indirect contact and small screen. But I had so much fun! The songs are mostly Latin songs and the dance move was fun and easy to follow. Despite few technical difficulties, all participants still enjoy the session and left with smiles on their faces (Annica seemed happy herself). The whole session last for an hour, yet I did not feel tired as it was low impact and easy. Perfect for beginners!

Moreover, despite low impact, I still burned a lot of energy according to my watch (300+ kcal how about that?). So, if you feel lazy and sluggish do try this one! It really encourages people to move. The participants themselves were vary in age and body type (not all muscular and very fit). So, this workout is perfect for general population.

In terms of food I eat, I know nutrition better than anyone (I literally study it as my course). So, during quarantine, I cook daily to save money, and because it is healthier than ordering takeout foods. I made sure that my meal is balanced. It must have protein, carbs, fat, and fibre. I also not stocking up on chips and other snacks in my pantry on purpose to avoid eating too much junk food. Instead, I snack on fruits, nuts, seeds, yogurt or eat instead of snacking.

Here is an example of what I eat in a day during quarantine:

Breakfast (Top Left): oatmeal bowl topped with yogurt, peach, chia seeds and drizzle of maple syrup.
Lunch (Top Right): Mediterranean bowl (cous-cous, baked chicken breast, baked mixed vegetable, houmous, yogurt, kale).
Dinner (Bottom Left): quinoa, stuffed chicken with cream cheese and spinach, baked carrot and green beans.
Snacks/dessert (Bottom Right): healthier ‘cheesecake’ (yogurt, cream cheese, bran flakes, berry compote).

I seemed to be very healthy, aren’t I? Hahaha

it is just the effect of my course. I become very aware of my food choice and choose healthy food all the time since I just feel good whenever I eat good food. I still eat junk food though. But not all the time because I just won’t feel as good as when I eat healthy food. There is actually a scientific evidence behind this!

A study researching on people with mental illness prescribing one group of people to therapy support and another group to healthy eating. They found that the healthy eating group feels more satisfaction in life than the therapy group. This is because when we eat nourishing food, our body will ‘thank’ us from fulfilling its nutrient requirement. So, it will release ‘happy hormone’ which will make us feel good and happy.

So if you hate fruits and veggies, think again! You might feel happier and more energised when you actually eat them.

Oh and one more important thing, sleep enough. I made sure I still follow a routine and a normal sleeping schedule so I can still use my brain at max to do my research.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog and can gain some insight on how to stay fit and healthy during the lockdown. Plus, it is easier now that the temperature has gone up. You can have an outdoor exercise!

I hope you to stay healthy, stay safe and stay negative 😊

Cheers xx

PS. I share quite a lot of healthy food ideas, nutrition insight and well-being on my social media. If you are interested in them, you can follow my Instagram @anastasiastephanie_ and subscribe to my YouTube channel: Anastasia Stephanie Angelica.


Anastasia Stephanie Angelica
Hello, my name is Anastasia and I’m a Food Science third-year student. Before coming to the Leeds University, I have completed my foundation year at INTO Manchester, Manchester, UK. I...
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