How to lose (or not gain) The “Covid-19”
Author: Sierra Klotz Athletic Trainer & Physical Therapist at Fit2Excel
Have you heard of the “Covid-19”? This is similar to the “Freshman 15” you get when you first go to college and no longer have the healthy influence of your mother. In this case, it can be from no longer having the healthy influence or peer pressure of your co-workers, not being able to go to the gym and feeling like you need to eat all of the foods you stocked up on in the grocery store. Here are five healthy tips through diet and exercise to keep off the “Covid-19”:
1. Prioritize exercise into your daily routine. Exercise can look like many different things and definitely should be fun. As the weather warms up, there are more and more modes of exercises including bicycling, hiking, jogging, playing tennis or kayaking. It is important to find something that you can do close to home and regularly, so as to avoid the hassle of packing up your car. Walking around the neighborhood can be a great avenue for this. If that feels too easy for you, turn it into a jog or bike ride. Make sure to take breaks as needed and do not walk or jog through injuries. The kind of injuries that develop while running or walking often will get worse if you try to push through. However, if these pains just started, you will likely only need a couple of sessions of sports rehab from Fit2Excel to get you back exercising pain-free.
2. Cut the Carbs. A great way to lose that belly fat is to eat less carbohydrates. This will also improve your cardiovascular health, as carbohydrates contribute to inflammation and plaques within our arteries. (Deep Nutrition Catherine, Shanahan, MD.) Dr. Cate cites her own clinical experience and recommendations of colleagues when she recommends no more than 100 calories from carbohydrates daily. Fruit, breads, rice and potatoes are all examples of carbohydrates. In simpler terms, the recommendation is no more than three large servings or six small servings of fruit, rice and breads combined. A wonderful way to limit these calories without feeling starved is to eat more healthy fats like eggs, yogurt and nuts. These foods are great for our brain and gut health. They also are highly satiating, meaning it will likely satisfy the food cravings. If this is still not doing it for you, it can be helpful to meet regularly with a certified nutritionist such as Fit2Excel’s Jess Voyer. You can find more information and contact Jess directly at: www.jessvoyerfitness.com
3. Be Active. Make gardening, yard work, cooking, cleaning, playing music or doing art a part of your daily routine. As I sit on the computer typing this, I encourage you to limit that computer use and sitting time. Research has linked sitting for long periods of time to higher cholesterol levels, high blood sugar, high blood pressure and excessive body fat (Mayoclinic). It is no wonder, our bodies are made to move! I understand that it is hard when we need to be on the computer for our work. However, I encourage you to consider a sit-stand desk, take frequent breaks and keep regular hours for work, while taking time for yourself to do something active during the other parts of the day. Ok, now I am going to stand and take a stretch break.
4. Use only Coconut, Olive, Sesame, Avocado Oil or Butter. Cook only with these oils! Other oils are hydrogenated and are linked to early onset Alzheimers, diabetes, post-concussion syndrome and yes, increased visceral fat. This type of fat not only makes us heavier on the scale, but leads to a bloated feeling and even risk of earlier death as it directly coats vital organs. The hydrogenated oils also cause inflammation and calcification of arterial walls. (Kumerow et al. The Negative Effects of Trans Fats and What to do about them. Pubmed.) Another name for this is arterial plaque formation which is what causes that silent heart attack. After injury, it is also critical that our arteries can dilate to flush out swelling and inflammatory mediators. This cannot happen if you eat too much sunflower oils, safflower oils or fried foods in restaurants. Even salad dressings are loaded with these pro-inflammatory oils. How does this relate to concussions you ask? Concussions, or Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries involve a cascade of microtearing and inflammation of the small cells or “axons” in our brains. This cascade grows and grows with a pro-inflammatory environment of hydrogenated oils, but heals much quicker with a soothing brain environment from fish oils, and the healthier oils listed above. (Deep Nutrition Catherine, Shanahan, MD.) Nuts, eggs and fish are some of the best brain food with their high lipid profiles. Besides the book above, another great resource for cooking with less oils is the book, How Not To Die, by Gene Stone and Michael Greger.
5. Replace the snacks with a large glass of water or pot of tea. There is something about working at our home computers that make us crave a snack at our sides. Many of us know by now that sitting for long periods and snacking can be a deadly combination. By replacing the snack with a large glass of water or mug of tea, it is very soothing, relaxing and hydrating, which is what your body is really craving.